Nebil Nuradin: Rwanda – Blog Post #2

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When you are living in Rwanda, there are some places you just have to visit. Many of these places are found outside of the capital, so they make for a wonderful weekend trip. After working hard during the week, I would try to enjoy my weekends by traveling to various locations in the country. Rwanda is quite a unique place in that it is very geographically diverse. Within this small country, there is a rainforest in west accompanied by a huge lake close by, a savannah in the east, volcanic mountains with gorillas in the north, and a various other places in between. One of my first trips was going to the rainforest called Nyungwe National Rainforest Park. During this trip, we hiked one of the longest trails in the park, and camped out for the night. The name of the trail is called the Imbaraga trail, and it covers a good bit of the forest while passing by numerous waterfalls and various monkeys exhibiting their tree climbing skills in their natural habitat. Hiking through the rainforest was an experience that is hard to forget. Witnessing trees that have been around for hundreds of years still shooting up towards the sky is marvelous. This trip was made even better when we set up tents and camped overnight right there, in between those ancient trees. There were others there camping near where we were, and we got a chance to meet some cool people. The next day, went trekking to see the colobus monkeys. The nature of these monkeys is a site to witness. They roam in groups of over a hundred with one leader dictating when they move and where they stay. Funny enough, the leader of the group that we saw was not even of the same species. It was a mix of two completely different monkeys. Even the people who stay with these monkeys and have studied them have no explanation as to how that  happened.

On a different weekend, we made a trip to go see the animals of the savannah and swamp at Akagera National Park. For this trip, we left the capital, Kigali, at 4 AM so we can get there at 6 AM. This was because all the animals tend to be out in the open when it is a cooler, and hide in the shades during the afternoon. We started the our safari at 6 AM and first thing we saw was a giraffe! Our guide said that was a good sign because that likely meant we would see a lot of different animals on the safari. This was because it is sometimes hard to find some of those animals, especially during the dry season. And he was right, many of the animals we got to see were ones that people rarely ever find. For example, we saw 2 elephants at different times, while people who come to Akagera sometimes never find any even during a longer time period. We also found a lion, but it was from quite a distance. Overall, this trip was one of the top highlights during my time in Rwanda.
Nebil Nuradin_Rwanda17


The other place that I have been to a multiple times, and enjoyed very much is Lake Kivu found in the western region of Rwanda. During the two times I went, I stayed at different parts of the lake. Both of those places offer different aspects of the lake since it’s a huge lake, and also get to see the different lifestyles of the people. The first part of Lake Kivu I went to is called Gisenye, and it found in the northern part of the lake. During this trip, we spent most of our time walking around the town and enjoying the local sightings. We pretty walked the whole day of the first weekend around the village where they sold fish, and the islands found on the lake. The people of Gisenye are amazingly gracious and made our trip very enjoyable. The next time I made it Lake Kivu, I stayed at Kibuye, which is found near the center of the lake. This time we didn’t get a chance to spend much time getting to know the local customs since we were there for a shorter period. Kibuye probable offers one of the best views of the lake. We spent a good majority of time being lakeside, and an occasional kayaking.

Nebil Nuradin_Rwanda18

There are just some parts of the country I have the privilege of going around and experiencing. Other parts I have been to were either en-route to going to the places I have mentioned above, or just been there for a very short while. Overall, Rwanda is truly a beautiful country that offers one of the most diverse sightings one would like  to experience. Besides working on the research and getting to know different Rwandan people, going out to see these various locations was made this trip that much more exciting!

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