Today I’m so excited to share with you one my best trips from this year and that keeps a very special place in my heart: Rwanda in East Africa.
As it is a surprise for you as it is for me this was my first solo travel trip. I know, it’s shocking to know that I’ve never traveled alone but it was something that had to happen sooner or later. And thinking about it I couldn’t have chosen a better destination for my first solo trip.
I know that Rwanda is not a very common travel destination for many people and even though I was afraid to make this trip alone this did not stop me from doing it. Sometimes the things that scared us the most are the ones that end up being the most fascinating and memorable stories.
Since my first visit to Africa continent in November 2016 I always wanted to visit Rwanda but for several reasons I couldn’t made it. Finally 2 years later this finally become true.
When I finished my trip in Kenya I had planned to stay a while in the region since it was the third time in the African continent and I didn’t want to leave without trying to live the experience of seeing the chimpanzee or the gorillas.
To my surprise, I received an invitation to visit the One and Only Nyungwe House hotel in the Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda. The property didn’t even had a month old since they opened. So, I felt so honored to be one of the first to visit this property.
And actually I validate with the hotel staff on my arrival if I was the first Costarican-Panamanian to visit the hotel and guess what? I was. Yay!!
How to get there?
I took a flight from Nairobi to Kigali (the capital of Rwanda) with Rwanda Air which took less than 2 hours and has an approximate cost of $350 round trip.
When I arrived to Kigali Airport I was picked up by the One and Only Nyungwe House hotel where we immediately made a roadtrip to the south where the Nyungwe Forest national park is located.
Any of the guests of Nyungwe House have the option to travel by domestic flight, car or helicopter. I decided to go by car because I wanted to explore and see the region properly. I thought as my first solo travel trip will be more fun and definitely it was.
The trip is 230km away (5 hours) from the Kigali airport where the last hour and a half is through the Nyungwe National Park. The trip is on the southern part through a scenic landscape and fascinating views of rural cities, including a beautiful arrival to the mountains of the Nyungwe National Park.
Nyungwe National Park
It is located in the southwest of Rwanda, on the border with Burundi, to the south is Lake Kivu and to the west the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Hidden in the middle of the tea plantations is the largest mountain rainforest on the east side of the African continent. The Nyungwe forest is probably the most preserved and one of the oldest forest in Africa.
It is home to more than 1000 species, including the home of famous chimpanzees, home to more than 13 different species of primates and 20% of all apes in Africa.
This majestic rain forest is full of experiences of nature and wildlife which you can walk or even ride a bike through the beautiful terrain, track the famous chimpanzees, experience the canopy, witness beautiful birds or chasing some waterfalls.
The government of Rwanda declared Nyungwe a national park in 2005, which gives it the highest level of protection in the country.
About Nyunge House
It is definitely one of the most photogenic properties that I have visited. Upon arrival I was surprised by the majestic views of tea plantations surrounding the property. Scenic mountains hidden in between a mysterious mist is facing the property that provides the perfect background to enjoy and breathe the beautiful smell of nature that surrounds it.
While driving thru the property I could hear beautiful traditional Rwandese drums playing in the background by the staff of Nyungwe House who received me with open arms. I was greeted by manager Jaques and their staff who immediately took my bags and invited me to the main lodge for a very refreshing organic cold green tea with strawberries and orange which was delicious.
Nyunge House has 2 houses within the property of common areas. The main house is where the check-in is located along with the shop, the restaurant where the meals are taken, the tea room, the bar and the terrace. All these rooms were designed with glass panels to offer majestic views to the beautiful mountains of Nyungwe.
The second house is the pool area which by the way is one of my favorites because of the view. This has infinity pool facing a lush green valley that gets lost with the mysterious mist around it. It is the perfect place to watch birds and other wild animals while enjoying a meal, or drinks inspired by their organic tea.
The rooms are private houses with balconies that overlook a front row of the majestic sights and sounds of the rainforest.
My room was a Nyungwe Room decorated with warm interiors with touches of vivid art inspired by the Rwandan tradition. From a nice fireplace for those cold nights, a spacious bathroom with shower and a tub overlooking the beautiful private terrace that has as background the rainforest.
Spa and Gym
After a day full of activities there is no better way to enjoy complete relaxation of a delicious and deep massage that only Nyungwe House knows how to give.
The spa space was one of my favorites because it has a fairly modern design where you can find these round white rocking chairs that you can enjoy once you finish your massage on the spa terrace.
Food and drinks
An exquisite proposal of incredible natural flavors prepared with rustic tradition and served with contemporary flair. The kitchen “from farm to table” is the inspiration for the fresh and organic daily menu that I was able to taste in all Nyungwe meals.
From breakfast on the terrace with spectacular views of the mountains surrounding the property to the warm nights inside the restaurant next to the fireplace you can taste a lot of the dishes prepared by the chef Treasure Makwanise.
Some of my favorites were all the fresh and organic salads that were offered, the yummy desserts the smoothies bowls and different drinks inspired by organic tea.
Nyunge House offers many activities to do during your stay. Due to the short weather and the weather situation since it was raining I could only experience some of them:
Without doubt one of the most exciting experiences of this trip. Listening to them, observing them even from far was one of the best experiences and sensations that I could have experienced in my life.
Nyungwe is the ideal place to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat. In the morning it is when these cute animals are more active. This activity requires getting up early 5:00 am for the maximum viewing opportunity of these beautiful chimpanzees. Take about almost a half day to do this activity. Make sure to bring hiking boots, rain jacket, binoculars, water and easy to eat snacks.
The secrets of African tea:
I learned a lot from what makes the perfect cup of tea. I always thought that this has to do with its preparation, but it really is from the beginning, where I learned the process of growing and processing African tea leafs with a fascinating visual presentation inside the property.
I had the opportunity to meet the beautiful Esperance that although we do not speak the same language she taught me the whole process from planting, collection of the leafs to the final stage within the property of how to prepare the magnificent tea they make in the local area of Gisakura.
I experience the rainforest from a dazzling new perspective where there is a suspension bridge 60 meters high that only exists in East Africa. I learned a lot about the flora and fauna, about the species that live in the forest. An activity which requires getting up early 7:30 a.m. and lasts approximately 4 hours.
Although my visit was short and some days where raining I was able to appreciate the magic of the relaxation with the rain in the nature in this beautiful part of Rwanda.
I want to thank all the nice staff at Nyungwe House for their incredible hospitality and make my stay so enjoyable. Especially to Jaques, Grace and Lucie. I hope to be back soon!
Vestido de encaje crema: Show me your mumu
Reloj con faja de cuero chocolate: Filippo Loreti
Leggins de hojas: Stronger
Crop top blanco: Forever 21
Zapatillas blancas: Gucci
Chaqueta militar: Forever 21
Lentes de sol: Ray Ban
Jumpsuit negro: Zara
Bolso a la cintura: The beach people
Vestido Blanco: Forever 21
Cinturón tan: Hermes
Shorts de jeans: Forever 21
Top de mesh blanco: Zara
Pañuelo de cabello: Paul Smith