I spent today reminiscing on my trips this year… Did you notice my growing obsession with Kigali a.k.a my second home? There’s something about going to a place that you think you know after a while. It tends to spring up little surprises on you.
Visiting with Guvnor who was experiencing Rwanda for the first time made this collaboration fun!
Our discovery was Heaven Boutique Hotel, which is perfect for a retreat. After exploring the city, we checked into our brightly colored room called the garden Charlet Superior king, with a large sleek bathroom and shower.The atmosphere here was relaxed.
The Garden Charlet
We loved that our room had touches of locally sourced materials designed around the bed and bathroom mirror. Our room was extremely spacious for the two of us with a working desk and TV. Once we were settled in, we took a dip into the salted swimming pool as the sun set.
Swimming Pool and Gym
Heaven Rwanda is located in a residential area, making it comfortable for a swim in the peace and quiet after a hot day. Walking past the main area, on the extreme left is the well equipped Heaven gym. I kicked myself for forgetting to pack my gym clothes!
What about Dinner and Breakfast?
Heaven restaurant should be a gem on the Kigali food scene, serving international and local Rwandan cuisine. Sourced from local farmers, our meals were extra yummy and we learnt that fresh herbs and lettuce are handpicked daily from the Heaven onsite organic garden.
For our starter at dinner we shared guacamole and plantain chips, then I had the Zanzibar tagliatelle-so good! Our seats were perfect as we dined next to fresh art pieces displayed in the center of the restaurant. I actually loved the artsy vibes in the restaurant, with local artists’ work brightening up the restaurant.
Brunch was served the next morning, with a variety of fresh fruit, pancakes, cake, yogurt, your choice of eggs and hot pot of coffee or tea. Gunvor and I had the plantain on french toast with fruit. DELICIOUS!
Azizi Life Experiences
After breakfast, we couldn’t resist the lure of more art pieces displayed in the gallery then walked into the Azizi Boutique next door. Here was where we jumped at the chance to connect Gunvor to the day to day activities of the rural families in Muhanga. Muhanga is an hour’s drive away via Kigali Huye road and we were joined by Gunvor’s cousin.
We missed part of the day’s activities in the morning which involved house chores like helping out in the kitchen, collecting water from the valley spring used to make mud bricks, cutting grass for the farm animals, banana juice making, and traditional cooking amongst other activities.
We arrived in time for the afternoon session and met the ladies with their children in the artisan cooperative who specialize in weaving. From a sisal plant, we were shown how the ladies dry, then color and weave beautiful crafts and jewelry in all forms. The money they make from this is what they use to buy some house utilities.
Our day ended back at the Azizi Life Office where we browsed the displayed crafts with a deeper appreciation. Through this entire trip to Rwanda, I learned about the beauty of being in the moment, by being on the road and would like to strengthen my ability to appreciate the ordinary and mundane. To become more aware of the little things I overlook on my day to day.
Have you been to Kigali? Which are your favorite places to visit? I hope we make more discoveries in the new year!
Photos by: Gunvor Eline E. Jakobsen
Happy New Year 🙂