9am: Jump aboard our comfortable ride towards Northern Province. We want to maximise every moment and every meal today, so with the exception of unavoidable toilet breaks or Nyirangarama snacks, there are no scheduled stops before Kinigi (about 3 hours on the way). In Musanze we will briefly park in front of La Paillotte restaurant and bakery, to grab some excellent brown bread for later in the day.
12pm: Lunch, everybody! It is taking place at Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel on the way to Kinigi, the home of the Gorilla Highlands Silverchef cooking competition. We aren’t competing today but you will learn everything about the competition while you feast on a three-course meal inspired by last year’s best dishes. The core dish will be chicken breast with mashed potatoes or pan-seared veggie patties and fondant potatoes.
1:30pm: As you turn towards Gisenyi, a stop at the Scoops ice cream stall will cool down your system. (And if you are more into hot things like coffee, Scoops is hosted by Crema, Musanze’s best coffee shop.)
3:30pm: In Gisenyi you will first be taken to Mr Neza, a herbalist doctor who will share with you honey samples from all around the country — now you know why we carried bread from Musanze!
5pm: Your luggage will be stored at Tamara Lake View in the heart of Gisenyi (accommodation upgrades possible). But before you come together for feasting on the Moroccan-Sudanese cuisine by Chef Ayman, you will enjoy a cruise on the lake sweetened by Ayman’s snacks. You will visit the fishing village with the hotsprings and see the lake’s methane extraction on the way.
7pm: BBQ Dinner time! Hummus, peanut butter salad, pita bread and similar Moroccan specialties will make your evening. If you still have some belly space available, you can later roast pineapple and marshmallows at the fireplace. Finally, dance the night away or listen to our guide’s tales.
9am: Feast on breakfast made of falafel, toast, muffins, special pancakes, labneh and more. After that you could enjoy a stroll on the beach or laze around in the sun.
10:30am: You will be driven deep into the rural areas, to Mugongo close to the Congolese border, where the Imbabazi Center of Hope is situated. The lush farm compound next to Imbabazi used to be the home of Rosamond Carr (1912-2006), the author of “Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda” and a former fashion illustrator who spent half a century in Africa.
11:30am: You will tour the amazing place and be served a Rwandan traditional lunch by Carr’s chef himself, a gentleman who has been working at Imbabazi for 20 years. (You are probably wondering why this place is on the program but, wait, it’s likely to become your highlight!)
2pm: Departure towards Gisenyi, using or the scenic back road or the tarmac — your choice!
3:30pm: Have you collected any gifts from your loved ones just yet? This is a special opportunity: in Musanze you will meet Patrick, the Belgian chocolatier who is making the only Rwandan chocolate, in all shapes and forms. You will take part in a sweet hour of tasting and browsing.
4:30pm: Time to head towards Kigali, unfortunately. During a stop at Nyirangarama, the famous source of the chilli sauce, you will get one last chance to shop!