Wednesday, 12 December 2018


Land of a thousand hills
I have heard so much about how Rwanda is the neatest country in Africa. This was one thing I looked forward to seeing for myself, you know how good the internet is at over-hyping things. Well, it turned out to be very true. Infact, I don’t think justice is done to how disciplined they are at keeping their streets clean. From morning till night, you won’t find any litter on the ground.
They sure deserve some accolades for keeping their country neat.

From the bus terminal, we had a three hour plus journey to Gisenyi (a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu, on the border with DR Congo) where we lodged in an eco-friendly resort which had a beautiful African themed look, from the entrance right to the rest rooms.
Check in
We were blessed with views of beautiful scenery while we journeyed to Gisenyi. Where most countries have shrubs and bushes along their highways, Rwanda has beautifully maintained horticultural landscapes. Oh the hills, were another sight to see.



We had to stop the car during the ride to take it all in. I have to say, Rwanda has got to be one of the most beautiful countries in Africa.

We were so tired and hungry by the time we were done with check in at the resort, food was all that was on our minds. No one wanted to try any local dish food exploration anymore, lol. We settled for familiar continental dishes.

After the meal, we took a few minutes to chill and explore our surroundings before heading out for a boat ride on Lake Kivu which is on the border of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

My main focus on the boat ride was to catch the sunset and shoot some landscape shots. My next favourite activity to chasing waterfalls has got to be catching the sunset.

After the boat ride, we retired for the night when we were done with dinner. The next day was check out day and a long drive to the capital city – Kigali. Well not after having breakfast, this is a worthy mention ‘cus I had the best pancake I have ever tasted. 

On our way to Kigali, we stopped once again to take in the beautiful landscape of Rwanda. I spotted some guys on bicycle. My creative juices were flowing so I beckoned on our tour guide to speak to them in their native language (Swahili) to allow us use their bicycles to take some pictures.

We checked into our hotels on arrival at Kigali. This was more like a commercial city, with more cars and the bustle and hustle of city life unlike Gisenyi that was quiet and you could count the vehicles on the road. Seemed everyone rather walked or used a bicycle in Gisenyi.

High point of our stay at Kigali was the visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial centre. The place holds so much pain. I remember watching Hotel Rwanda (a movie based on the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi) many years back and getting broken by the movie.

I was ready to be an emotional mess because reviews I got from others who had visited was they left there in tears. Surprisingly, I didn’t shed a tear. I was too furious, too angry and mad at the senseless killings. Worse, same thing is still going on in the Northern parts of Nigeria and the world isn’t even taking it serious. If even our government is inept and highly irresponsible to care, why is the world making the same mistake they made in Rwanda? Looking the other way while thousands of innocent persons are murdered. Writing this even makes me angry all over again.



I remember how we started out with smiling faces from the craft shop before we were taken into a room where we watched a short clip on the genocide. From there we moved round the building. My anger growing worse as we progressed from one room to another, reading about the history of the killings, watching video clips and interviews of survivors of the genocide. The pain and scars it has left…

The part that broke me was seeing the skulls with bullet holes and cracked skulls evidencing machete cuts and those crushed by hard metals. How did we get here? How did we lose our humanity? Neighbours turning against neighbours they played with, ate with, all for what? 

We had a rather quiet ride back to our hotel. Everyone was touched by the visit to the memorial. We rested a while to get back to ourselves and then headed out at night to get a view of the city at night. We ended up at the Kigali International Convention center.

The next day, we had a brief city tour, did some shopping (one of my least favourite activity) before heading to the airport to board a flight back to Nigeria.

And that signaled the end of our 10 days East Africa tour covering Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Big thumbs up to @wakawithdebbie for pulling off such an amazing multiple country trip and mostly, special thanks to one of the best travel buddies ever @faithastic and @aijayc, @wakawithdebbie inclusive.

It was one trip filled with so much laughter and relaxation, the down to earth nature of the ladies made it very easy for me to blend in and it was just the perfect trip even though at first I was skeptical being that I was going to be the only guy. If I was to do the trip all over again, I definitely will choose them as my travel buddies. 

Saturday, 17 November 2018


Disclaimer - Those bags don't belong to only me
From the moment we touched down Kampala, the similarities between Uganda and Nigeria wasn’t lost on us. Even the airport had a Nigerian feel. Ijeoma made a comment that finally she has seen an airport that Nigerian airport is better than. Though, of all countries visited, it was only the Nigerian airport that didn’t have wifi available.

The travel operators in Uganda took us out for a welcome meal. We once again decided on local cuisine, which this time around was a delight. Definitely a breather from all the matoke and ugali in Kenya, though we still saw them on the menu. This time, we were wise enough to avoid them.

Our menu was as follows, as recorded by @aijayc and @faithastic. (I was too busy trying every single item to jot down the menu) –

Semutundu mu binyebwa – Cat fish in groundnuts
Oluwombo Iwe’mbuzi – Goat meat in banana fibres (don’t ask me why they keep using banana as cooked food)
Oluwombo Iwe’nkoko – Chicken in banana fibres
Omuchere – Rice
Matoke – Mashed banana
Ejjuni – Yam
Akawunga – Posho
Lumonde – Sweet potatoes (this one was bae)
Ensujju – Pumpkin
Sikumawikyi – Greens
Ebijanjalo – Beans

Just like in Kenya, the food was neither spiced nor salted. Though this definitely was an upgrade. My favourite was the rice with beans, potatoes and then the groundnut sauce (yes ke, I ate them all). The goat meat was definitely well enjoyed. Though after all this combination I was the only one who needed to down tablets of Imodium as my fragile stomach decided to show itself. L

Selfie after a nice meal
We had a mini tour of the city during our drive to the hotel. Kampala has so many similarities with Nigeria. It felt like characteristic features of several states in Nigeria are immersed in Kampala. Some parts had the red soil as you have in Edo State. There was a part of the road side with mainly craft men and their shops, this reminded me of some parts of Benin City.

There was also a settlement with brown roofs that gave me a nostalgic feeling of Ibadan. As we drove by, we saw a car park with bus arrangement that immediately took my mind to Panseke bus park in Abeokuta. Then there was this market that’s almost a replica of Balogun market.

Our hotel (Ivory Castle Boutique) felt like one of the best kept secrets out of Uganda. I never thought I’d see such beauty in Kampala. It was more of a vacation house tho. A mansion turned into a hotel and the best part was, we were the only ones lodged at the time we visited. While the others went out to see a cultural show, I decided to stay indoors to relax. I learnt from my Zanzibar trip the importance of having one day off to relax during the trip.

Next day we were off to Mabira forest (located 10km off the highway between Kampala and Jinja) for the forest walk. There I was thinking I was done with hiking for the year after my one week of chasing waterfalls across Five States in Nigeria. The Mabira forest is the oldest and largest forest in Uganda. According to our guide it has 35 species of bats, 3 different types of monkeys (the Magipey, the Velvet and the Colombus monkeys). There are about 318 types of butterflies in the forest and 58 species of snakes inhabitant there. Again, don’t ask me how they counted the animals.

At the heart of the forest was the Griffin water falls. The water sadly has been polluted from the waste emanating from a nearby sugarcane factory. Did I forget to mention the amazing view of the sugarcane farm we took in during the ride to the forest? menh, there’s so much out there to see and explore!

The hike took about 1hour, 30mins and it was total fun all the way. There was also a zip lining facility in the forest, though none of us was in the adventurous mood as our energy was already far spent hiking.

On our way back to Kampala, we took another route. The highway held such reminders of the Ore-Ibadan express way. There were even street traders just like you see at Ore. 

I was excited with the similarities till I caught sight of what looked like Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge under construction. The way I drew everyone’s attention to it eh…I told the driver we have to get closer so I could see it well, even if it meant taking a detour.
They don’t have joy o, an exact replica and damn…their own is going to be a twin suspension bridge. See how they have want to take one of the fancy Landmarks of Lagos from us? *Sigh

We later had a boat cruise on Lake Victoria where we got to see the source of the River Nile. The Nile River is the longest river in the world which flows through the north-eastern part of Africa. The Nile starts in Jinja, Uganda at the shore of Lake Victoria and flows northwards over Ripon Falls into Lake Kyoga.

The remarkable feature of the source of the Nile is how the water emanates from underneath the ground evidenced by the bubbles that can be visibly seen on the water surface.

The next day we had a brief city tour around what I will call the highbrow areas of Kampala. This one felt like they practically created a prototype of CMS axis. So much similarities. We hung by their independence layout (funny, it was designed by a foreigner).

Five days away from Nigerian food and we were all having withdrawal symptoms. We didn’t have any major activity for the day asides the city tour and craft shopping, so we hunted down Nigerian restaurants. Luckily, we found one and it was worth it!!

I’ve had the opportunity of visiting eight African countries and I can bodly say Nigerian food stands out. Is it in taste? Appearance? Aroma? We got it all! This one I can argue to my last breath even though I run from confrontation.

We gave our tour guide Nigerian food to taste and we made a believer out of him.

We arrived the bus park in time to board the Trinity bus to Rwanda. We unanimously agreed to do a road trip to Rwanda from Uganda while we were still back in Nigeria. This was my second road trip across African countries.
At that time, the border experience left a sour taste (wasn’t funny standing out in the freezing weather for almost two hours) and I vowed never to do road trip across countries again but now I’m all settled I’m definitely open to trying it again.

All passengers had to alight at the border to enable the immigration officers check every luggage in order to ensure no one was carrying polythene bags into the country. Rwanda runs a strict green environment policy. The bus seats were so comfortable, I slept like a baby all through the journey I didn’t even know when we arrived Rwanda.