Rwanda – The Land of 1,000 Hills

November, 2022

After ten days in Ghana, we left Accra to fly to Rwanda. It isn’t an easy journey to fly across Africa to get to Kigali, Rwanda. First, we had to fly to Ethiopia (5 hours) and then back to Rwanda (2 hours). Both flights went smoothly and we arrived safe and sound for our first visit to Rwanda.

Rwanda is about the size of Maryland and has a population of approximately 10 million people. They speak English and Swahili and a majority of the population is Christian. This is a high elevation country as the lowest point in Rwanda is at 3,000’ above sea level. It’s appropriately called The Land of 1,000 Hills and is part of the Great Rift Valley of Africa. Even though this country is located on the Equator, the temperatures ranged from 50°-70° due to the high elevations.

Our lodge nestled into the camellia (tea plants) covered hills.

The western edge is composed of mountains and forests and bordered by the Republic of Congo. It is very heavily guarded by the Rwandan military to protect the western border from poachers and Congolese fighters. The eastern side of the country is a savannah and huge wetlands filled with papyrus reeds. We will spend a week traveling to both of these areas of Rwanda: mountain forests and savannahs.

The savanna’s have lots of birds and a variety of other wonderful sightings.
Rwandan Military members are a frequent sight along the western border. We were always safe – not scared.

Spic and Span Clean

The first thing you immediately notice about Rwanda is how clean this country is – city and country. There is NO trash on the ground – anywhere! Every Monday the citizens and their President spend two hours picking up trash, sweeping and cleaning their communities.

Rwanda has banned the use of plastic and zip lock bags. Don’t exit an airplane with a plastic bag as it will be confiscated. This country doesn’t tolerate trash, so leave those bags behind. We were aware of this and didn’t have any issues with our luggage. Three cheers for gel storage containers.

The roads are in impeccable shape and the traffic moved about in a very responsible fashion. The drivers seem to have their own way to communicate using hand signals and lights. I couldn’t figure it out but it certainly worked and didn’t make me as nervous as the driving in Ghana.

Yes, I Know!

I was continually asked if it was safe to visit Rwanda and the answer is “yes”. The genocide happened over 20 years ago and they have been working very hard to move forward.

One of many tea fields in Rwanda.

Their economy is based mostly on agriculture and they produce a large amount of coffee and tea. Rwanda is also considered as a tech hub for Africa in the 21st Century. All proof that they are trying very hard to get past the horrific events that happened in 1990.

🦜 Birding Time! 🦜

Yep, you guessed it, we joined Cheepers Birding for this leg of our trip. We have traveled with Jim and Cindy Beckman to Panama and South Africa and they do a fantastic job arranging the guides, lodges, food, birding hot spots and a group of great birders.

Black-headed Gonolek
Long-crested Eagle

Big Moment in Rwanda

According to Cornell, the authority of birds in the US, there are 10,824 bird species in the world. While we were in Rwanda, our dear friend John logged his 3,000th bird. Woo Hooo, Congratulations, John!

Yes, I made him pose for this picture. Wooo Hoooo 3,000!

Our Statistics:

Total Birds Species Seen in Rwanda: 253

Total New Bird Species Recorded in Rwanda: 83

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