Beyond the Rift Valley 2018 – Rwanda, feel it in your heart

Heartfelt. As in, you can really, really feel it in your heart. That’s the closest to how I can express what traveling through #rwanda feels like. On the gravel roads, in the tea fields, on high mountain footpaths, in dusty villages, and in brightly coloured taverns … there is openness and engagement everywhere, with a smile hot on the heels of every ‘Murakozi Chane’.

The levels of poverty in general seems way less divisive than in SA, and the incredibly fertile soil means that it is much easier for families to feed themselves. Sure, there’s the occasional ‘give me money’, but generally the kids are more interested in our hairy legs or the Isuzu South Africa #Xridersthan a handout.

Another thing about traveling, especially in Africa, is that you can plan as much as you want, but you can be guaranteed of constantly changing plans. Take the mud slide in #nyungwe, for example, or the new Chinese road where the #NileCongoDivide Trail used to be … things change without warning on the Mother Continent.

The flip side to this is that with every one door that closes, another one opens, and the best thing to do is to embrace this change. Yesterday, a chance stop in #Rubavu completely changed our overnight plans for the two days to come. Meeting Odette at Paradise Kivu Luxury Resort saw us pitching our tents on gloriously green lawns in one of the most scenic spots on the whole of #LakeKivu.

More than that though was her genuine friendliness and warm-hearted hospitality. Freshly grilled isimbaza sardines from the lake, access to her kitchen, Wi-Fi and charging arrangements … nothing was too much trouble. And the cherry on the cake this morning was a surprise traditional welcoming performance by her own troupe of #intore dancers.

Usually these performances seem touristy and shallow, but the athleticism and choreography we got to experience were off the charts with these guys and girls. Lake Kivu provided a superb backdrop, and Odette’s regal presence was at the centre of the whole mind-blowing experience. As we hugged her afterwards, she said “Tell your family they must come and visit, and they must stay here. You now have a Mother in Rwanda”!

There has been so much tragedy and grief in Rwanda, and maybe this is why people walk around with their hearts on their sleeves. The genocide here happened in 1994 – in synchronicity with our own South African political watershed – and one cannot help but sense this shadow in their collective past. But the people, and especially the children, brim with hope and energy and positivity, and every second, I am falling deeper and deeper in love with this place of green mountains, adventurous spirit and beautiful people.

#DunloptyresSA #IsuzuSA #frontrunnerza #HiTecSA #WildernessSafaris#SpotAfrica #GiantRSA #BeanThereCoffee #DripDropSA #TakeItOn#Taketheroad #vagabondkayaks #WithYouForTheLongRun #BornToRoam#goanywhere #InspiredByLife #ChildrenInTheWilderness #citw#doingitforthechildren #rwanda #RemarkableRwanda #BeyondTheRiftValley#BeyondExpeditions #grandtrek #BeyondBedonnerd

This has got to be one of so many highlights on the Dunlop Tyres SA#BeyondTheRiftValley Expedition. Huge thanks to Isuzu Truck South AfricaFront Runner South Africa Hi-Tec South-Africa Bean There Coffee CompanySPOT Africa for all your support

Click here to view the pics