Days 51+52 - In Kigali, Rwanda

2-3 March: TDA booked out all of the accommodation at the Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel, and we spent two great rest days in Kigali, the Capital of Rwanda. It's not our first visit to Kigali, but it was definitely more rewarding than our initial visit to the City a few years back.

Good Rwandan coffee & black forest cake

Day 51: Backpackers offer a continental breakfast, so we enjoyed great fresh bread baked on the premises (must be the French influence) and a good cup of Rwandan coffee.

After breakfast a group of us took a taxi to the nearest Mall, to draw money, do some necessary grocery shopping and to frequent a Coffee Shop (Cappuccino & Black Forest Cake). 

Eleven of us take a couple of taxis to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum, where we spend the best part of the morning going through the extensive display at the Museum.

In April of 1994, the Hutu ethnic group turned on their fellow Rwandans the Tutsis, and slaughtered approximately 1 million Tutsis, with another million displaced (refugees) out of a total of 7 million Rwandans. This happened while the West, especially the United Nations (UN) just stood casually on the sidelines and allowed it all to happen.

The Genocide Museum was definitely worth the visit, and is a testament to the firm belief of the current Government, that this dark period and episode of Rwandan history will never be forgotten, nor allowed to be repeated. But at the same time, preaching and ensuring that there is genuine reconciliation and forgiveness between the two ethnic groups.

We visited the Memorial Garden, where approximately 250 000 bodies are buried in an open grave. Open in the sense, that any future bodies which are still being discovered periodically throughout the country, are reburied in the Memorial Gardens.

After going through the various Exhibitions and Garden, we have lunch at the Museum Cafe, and all are in agreement that the visit to the Museum has been one of the highlights of our trip so far.

Back to the Backpackers, for a peaceful evening, with quite a few of the riders either out on a tour visiting the Mountain Gorillas, or  preparing for a tour to the Gorillas in the morning. Judith and I not going on a Gorilla Tour, as we had previously seen them in Uganda a few years ago.

Genocide Museum Entrance

Genocide Museum Amphitheater 

Exhibit at Museum Reception

'Wanted' Poster

Just part of the Wall of Remembrance

Riders at the Kigali Genocide Memorial

Day 52: Another Backpackers continental breakfast (I could get used to this freshly baked bread).

Phone and speak to Sean the Bike Mechanic at the Rwanda Cycling Club (Rwanda National Team) about my rear wheel failure and the  possibility of a rear wheel rebuild. Receive some great news, he tells me he can build me a suitable rear wheel and can have it delivered to me later in the day, I am ecstatic, that it can be done in such a short time period!

Spend most of the morning relaxing on the veranda, and we go off to an Ethiopian Restaurant situated within walking distance, for lunch with Philip, Murray, Rob and ourselves.

Later in the afternoon, my new rim arrives by kind assistance of Peter, one of the riders who went to see the Gorillas. Murray helps me to fit my old rear cluster and hydraulic brake rotor to the new wheel, and I am now fully equipped to continue cycling on my own bike without the assistance of Sharita's rear wheel.

Judith, Liz and I went to a Mediterranean Coffee Shop later in the evening for coffee, smoothies and cake, before having an early evening. Have to get up early to pack our bags and get ready for the next section of cycling. 

One more day's cycling in Rwanda, before crossing into Tanzania.

Mike T

Discussing the pro's and con's of Rwanda's home grown coffee beans before buying a suitable blend.

Riders enjoying the ambiance of the Mall Coffee Shop
Murray enjoying his thick strawberry milkshake at the Coffee Shop

Backpackers in Kigali


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