Photo Friday: Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda

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Something really cool happened while we were in Rwanda in March: The first five-star lodge in the whole country opened, and we got to be some of the first guests. This is monumental, as it’s a step in the right direction for building up Rwanda as a tourist destination once again, after the war in 1994 left everything in shambles. Considering the other places we had stayed—which were quite nice and clean enough, but nothing to write home about—I didn’t know what to expect. But let’s just say, Nyungwe Forest Lodge? Mind=Blown.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Rwanda | Camels & ChocolateThe interior was awesome. Every last clay tile on the roof was shaped over the leg of a local woman, making no two tiles the same. Chandeliers were made out of tea strainers. All accoutrements were procured from local villages.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge, Rwanda | Camels & Chocolate

The rooms were top notch. No amenity was neglected.

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, travel, africa, photography

There were colobus monkeys chattering just off my balcony each morning. (That was a bit jarring at first, as I totally thought I had a peeping tom in the forest on my hands.)

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, travel, photography, africa

But what really impressed me most were the surroundings. Located on the edge of the national park of the same name, the lodge is nestled among a plantation and acre after acre of tea leaf bushes.

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, travel, photography, africa

Naturally, being the unsophisticated curious-minded travelers that we are, Ben, Dave and I decided to take a little stroll…

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, africa, travel, photography

…right into the bushes, that is.

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda,  tea plantation, travel, africa, photography

(Don’t be fooled. I was totally freaking out from all the critters I was brushing up against.)

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, tea plantation, travel, africa,    photography

And, as if that weren’t enough—and as if we hadn’t already made friends with the neighboring tea pickers who were shooting us alarmed looks across the fields, mentally calculating whether it would cause more damage to sprint across the bushes and stop us or just let us be—we felt the need to start pickin’.

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, africa, travel, photography

From there, what else were we going to do but throw our collections up into the air in a tea frenzy? (You know you’d be tempted, too.)

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, travel, photography, africa

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, africa, travel, photography

Then, we located a lone helipad amid the bushes. So obviously that meant one thing…jumping pictures!

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, travel, photography, africa

But in the remote regions of Rwanda, with no one else around to observe your tomfoolery, you can totally get away with these sorts of shenanigans. My kind of place, no doubt about it.

nyungwe forest lodge, rwanda, tea plantation, travel, africa, photography

*All photos taken with a Canon T1i, 17-85mm lens, housed in a LowePro SlingShot.

**For more Photo Friday fun, visit Delicious Baby.

COMMENTS
  • May 28, 2010

    Heeeyyy, all that tea reminds me of home. 🙂

  • May 28, 2010
    Liv

    Stunning photos – although you had me at “colobus monkey.” And what could be more fun than jumping pictures? Absolutely nothing!

  • May 28, 2010

    Very nice looking accommodations. Sure hope you drank some tea.

  • May 28, 2010

    That was a fun post! 🙂

  • May 28, 2010

    Wow, that hotel is impressive! I love unusual places like that. It’s nice to see photos like this, because of course you know what the pictures in everyone’s mind look like. I hope images like this help Rwanda begin to recover.

  • May 28, 2010
    Jen

    That last picture is a “hang on the wall” type of picture! Looks like you guys had fun goofing off and that hotel is beautiful!

  • May 28, 2010

    Looooved this post! This is so something I would have done had I been there. Of course you’re supposed to go and play in the tea fields!!! 🙂

    I can’t wait to visit Rwanda one day! Thanks for taking me there with your post.

  • May 28, 2010

    super fun post!
    : )

  • May 28, 2010
    william

    U r welcome another to Rwanda any othertime day

  • May 28, 2010

    That hotel looks FANTASTIC. And I want to travel with you unsophisticated travelers – you look like you’re having SO much fun!

  • May 31, 2010

    Love the shots showcasing your enthusiasm. Haha! You’re so cute. But what an amazing place! I love it when they keep the original culture elements in the design of everything. The clay tiles on the roof is beyond cool. Much love from your new follower, *Terrah*

  • June 7, 2010

    Gorgeous! Glad to see Rwanda on the right track!

  • July 22, 2010
    kambo

    A very stunning place!I can’t believe it is that place I know!

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