VisAdventures Of Her – Best Laid Plans


My landmark 30th country (remember the #30by30 plan?) to visit was supposed to be Costa Rica, then it was supposed be Gambia then Zanzibar… Basically the destination kept changing by the day. Bottom line was it was supposed to be somewhere amazing with my favourite cousin as my travel partner but then life happened *shrug* I had my darling friend’s wedding in Nairobi to look forward to but having been there before I was not content.

In the end I decided to make a solo detour on my way there because a little me time never hurt nobody. After shopping around for options that would suit the timelines and budget, I picked Rwanda.

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 RwandAir


The land of a thousand hills as it’s popularly called was cool, pristine and peaceful; three words that described my immediate impression of Kigali. I had a rather pleasant flight from Lagos on RwandAir which was short and sweet due to interesting conversation with a fellow traveller about everything under the sun.

On arrival, touchdown to getting in a taxi was 20 mins max. It was a pretty small airport so, after a brisk walk from the tarmac you walk straight to a short queue for a visa and as most travellers are in transit to other destinations it’s pretty quick. You buy a visa on arrival for most nationalities and it was a pain free less than 10 minute process. A few meters away the baggage belt was already fired up and luggage waiting. Easy breezy, just as all airports should be!

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 - touchdown Kigali
Touchdown Kigali

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 Kigali International Airport


Thanks to two movies, Hotel Rwanda and the much less popular Shoot The Dogs almost all I knew about Rwanda had to do with the genocide of 1994. It wasn’t the most cheery city to stopover from that perspective but a friend who had visited earlier this year had nothing but good things to say. So I thought #noteverytimeturnup, roll with it with an open mind and enjoy.

Arriving on a Friday was a great idea because after settling in to the hotel, I was able to head on out to see whatagwan in Kigali. First stop was Chez John for dinner which unfortunately was a bust so I diverted to a lively spot called Urban Hotel in the Kiyovu area. It housed a great boutique hotel with a rooftop restaurant and lounge with views to die for. I decided on a yummy coffee coated steak dinner and was quite pleased with my choice.

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 Kigali Urban Hotel lobby

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 Kigali The Urban Hotel dinner


After dinner, on the headwaiter’s recommendation I headed to a place just down the street called Tiamo. The band was LIVE … literally and figuratively! Their love for Nigerian music and dance had me all smiles despite the somewhat dingy interior of the place. I spent a happy hour watching the multilingual band perform Nigerian, French and Spanish songs before heading to the next stop. I must say this was the first place I got to witness the full on love the East Africans have for Nigerian music particularly P Square and Davido! As we all danced and sang along to the lyrics it occurred to me that English is not even a first language in Rwanda. Had me feeling proudly Nigerian!!!

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 Kigali Tiamo club

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 Kigali Tiamo club live
Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 Kigali at Tiamo selfie


On to the next one! Papyrus (which has a new name but no one calls it that) is something of an institution in Kigali. It is probably the first place anyone would recommend you go to and I could see why. I absolutely loved the vibe and energy there because they have it so right. Huge open space with the illusion of an open air bar (but it was not), with just the right amount of lighting. I had my favourite cocktail in hand, shisha and loads of people to watch. Bear in mind I was travelling solo, these were ingredients for a good… scratch that, great night.

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 Kigali nightlife Papayrus bar
The bar


Met some lawyers from Sweden in Africa for the first time on business and in my opinion, they couldn’t have chosen a better first destination. After a while I noticed the exodus of the bar crowd downstairs to the club called Envy so I decided to join the fun as the last stop of the night. They say the best nights are the unplanned ones. So far I was loving country 30 and couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the trip had to offer!

Ifeoma Okpala VisAdventures Rwanda 2015 Kigali nightlife club ENVY




More soon!




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