The second half of this year has seen me doing my share of travelling. First it was to Northern Tanzania, then Uganda, Rwanda, and now back to Uganda again. My Instagram gallery has been mirroring a similar route, though also including destinations such as Nairobi and Mikumi National Park. I’ve had lots of fun sharing these pics with my followers on Instagram, and since I know that many of you, who read this blog, are not active Instagram users, I thought I’d share the best of those pictures with you here. I hope you like them. Please be sure to let me know what you think in the comment section below.
Instagram Fave No. 48: Mediterraneo, Kampala, Uganda
In my mother’s language, Runyankore, there is a saying which translates roughly to “a name bewitches its owner”, meaning that a name causes someone or something to be a certain way. When I visited Mediterraneo in Kampala, Uganda, I was immediately reminded of this saying. Just as its namesake restaurants in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, Mediterraneo Kampala was a feast for the eyes. The wines were great and the menu to die for. The actual food though, just like at Mediterraneo Dar es Salaam, left something to be desired.
Instagram Fave No. 47: A Tortoise Calculator at the Nairobi Railway Museum
A mid-20th-century Facit electro-mechanical calculator housed at the Nairobi Railway Museum in Kenya. This Swedish-made calculator could multiply a 9-digit number by an 8-digit number and give a 13-digit answer. It could also add, subtract, and divide.
Instagram Fave No. 46: Mark Zuckerberg Visits Kenya
In the midst of travelling and attending one of the most elegant weddings I have ever been to, I completely forgot to share my latest post with you. Check it out on the blog. It’s about Mark Zuckerberg visiting Kenya.
Instagram Fave No. 45: Letter Scales, Nairobi Railway Museum
Do you remember going to the post office and having to get your letters weighed with something like this? I do and was utterly fascinated by it as a child. This old letter scale is housed in the Nairobi Railway Museum in Kenya. The writing on the paper reads: “A letter scale with brass weights of half, one, two, four, and eight ounces. By adding all the weights it was possible to weigh envelopes up to one pound or 500 grammes.” Most letter scales were mechanical until the 1990s.
Instagram Fave No. 44: No. 49 Cheese & Wine, Kampala
Instagram Fave No. 43: Barbecuing in Kampala, Uganda
Kampala, Uganda to me is a city filled with simple pleasures. Hanging out in Kampala is not so much about where you go but who you hang out with. In Kampala, gathering around a crate of beer (or some Uganda Waragi) in someone’s backyard can be more fun than being at the most stellar cocktail lounge in another city. Kampalans themselves are all the fun you need!
This picture comes from just one such hang in my uncle and aunt’s backyard. I can still taste this delicious chicken that was marinated in honey and soy sauce. The pork we made that same day was offfffff the hook! #GoodTimes
Instagram Fave No. 42: The Milk Hut at the Royal Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda
In my last picture (number 15 on this list), I shared a picture of the beer house at the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda. This is the other beverage house, dedicated to milk and its derivative products. In the days of yore, it was manned by an unmarried female virgin. Why unmarried and virgin? Word has it that this was so that no man would have easy access to poison the King’s milk.
Instagram Fave No. 41: Food at Heaven Restaurant in Kigali
I had heard lots over the years about @HeavenRwanda, a restaurant (and now boutique hotel) in Kigali‘s Kyovu neighborhood, so there was no doubt in my mind that I’d have to visit it on my next trip to Kigali. It turned out to be one of the best social evenings I spent in the country. Great food, lovely elevated outdoor deck, cocktails to write home about, and amazing service! If ever you are in Kigali, check it out.
Instagram Fave No. 40: Genocide Memorial at St. Jean Catholic Church and Home Complex in Kibuye, Rwanda
Whereas Kibuye in Karongi District, Western Rwanda had some of the most gorgeous scenes like those in my last 2 photos (Nos. 1 & 8 on this list), it also had some of the most gruesome reminders of what happened in Rwanda 22 years ago. In case one million people slaughtered in 100 days is too large a statistic for you to internalize, memorials like this one at the St. Jean Catholic Church and Home Complex allow you to look straight into the skull eye sockets of some of those killed, see their femurs, and realize that each of those bones represents a person just like you with hopes, dreams, a family, and a life…all brutally cut short.
Instagram Fave No. 39: I Survived the Nile
As though bungee jumping was not terrifying enough, the next day, I decided to go white water rafting for the first time. It was a lot of fun until about midway through the excursion I fell into a Grade 5 rapid called “The Bad Place” where I stayed under for a lot longer than was comfortable. When I saw someone wearing this shirt, I had to take a picture of it because it expressed exactly how I felt: I survived the Nile!
Instagram Fave No. 38: Cows at the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda
All I can see are horns, horns, and more horns! Longhorn Inyambo cows at the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda.
Instagram Fave No. 37: The Female Sempaya Hot Spring, Semuliki National Park, Western Uganda
The female Sempaya hot spring at Semuliki National Park, Uganda. Water temperature: 103°C. See more pictures taken at the Sempaya hot springs here.
Instagram Fave No. 36: Bar B.Q. Tonight, Nairobi
And how surprised I was to see, as I was going to chow down on some excellent Indian food at Haandi at The Mall in Westlands, Nairobi, that the establishment across it was no longer Tamambo of the high bar stools and the fabulous cocktails but rather a place called Bar B.Q. Tonight. Gosh, I’d spent many wonderful nights at Tamambo in my lifetime!
Instagram Fave No. 35: St. Jean Catholic Church, Kibuye, Rwanda
The facade of the St. Jean Catholic Church in Karongi, Western Rwanda today. What’s so special about this church? Check out the captions of my last two pictures (No. 25 & No. 4 on this list). (Yes, those are human skulls you see in the window under the sign that reads “NEVER AGAIN”.)
Instagram Fave No. 34: Hippo Pool, Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
Hippos and a crocodile at the hippo pool in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania.
Instagram Fave No. 33: The Bay, Kampala, Uganda
This view is so typical of Kampala, Uganda. Originally known as the City of 7 hills, Kampala has now expanded to include many more. This means, therefore, that wherever you get a view of Lake Victoria (the world’s second largest freshwater lake by area) in Kampala, you’ll also invariably see hills off in the distance. I love it! (This photo, like my last one, was taken at The Bay in Munyonyo.)
Instagram Fave No. 32: Brunsviga Manual Calculator, Nairobi Railway Museum
This is not an old cash register but a turn-of-the-century Brunsviga MANUAL calculator housed at the Nairobi Railway Museum in Kenya. Unlike earlier adding machines, this calculator could also perform multiplication. This was done by entering the multiplicand and then turning the crank “multiplier” times (or vice-versa). Aren’t you glad you were born in the era that you were? 😅
Instagram Fave No. 31: Tex-Mex at The Little Donkey, Kampala, Uganda
Instagram Fave No. 30: The Nairobi Railway Museum
The Nairobi Railway Museum, located adjacent to the Nairobi Railway Station, is a treasure trove of colonial and post-independence East African artifacts. Spending the afternoon here brought to life so many stories my parents had told me about life in their teens and twenties. If you are in Nairobi and have never been, I urge you to check it out. It’s a lot of fun and you even get to climb into old trains.
Instagram Fave No. 29: Fuego Cocktails & Restaurant, Muyenga, Kampala, Uganda
Fuego Cocktails & Restaurant in Muyenga, Kampala offers a whole lot as you can see from this board outside the establishment. What’s not listed on this board that I LOVE there is their Ethiopian/Eritrean food. My favourite cuisine, Ethiopian/Eritrean food at Fuego is the real deal! (The cocktails are pretty hot too.)
Instagram Fave No. 28: Vintage Camera, Nairobi Railway Museum
Parts of an early 20th-century camera at the Nairobi Railway Museum.
Instagram Fave No. 27: 5 Fun Ways to Rock Maroon Hair
5 Fun Ways to Rock Maroon Hair
A guest post by @_kansh_
“Another interesting and beautiful way of rocking maroon hair is by using hairpieces, which can be either short or long. These also include hair pieces that are 100% human hair which gives you the same manageability and flexibility as real hair. With a maroon hairpiece, you will never go wrong. These are specifically appreciated by…”
Photo Credit: YourHairColors.com
Instagram Fave No. 26: A King’s Traditional House Viewed from Behind, The King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda
The back of a replica of the King’s traditional house at the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda. I was so surprised by how big this grass house was on the inside. And like all African grass houses/grass-thatched houses I have been in, it was extremely cozy! Why, oh, why was I born in the late 20th century?! 😣
Instagram Fave No. 25: St. Jean Catholic Church, Kibuye, Rwanda
I took my last picture (no. 4 on this list) standing at the St. Jean Catholic Church and Home Complex in Karongi District, Western Rwanda where one of the most gruesome massacres of the Genocide against the Tutsis occurred on April 17-18, 1994 (death toll in and around the church: 11,000).
I had heard of this and many massacres that occurred in churches where people had run for safety, but since people were able to break in and hurt the people inside, I always thought the churches were weakly-built up-country churches that could do little to keep people out. I was stunned by how solid and beautiful the St. Jean Church was and by its capacity. Today there stands a powerful memorial in front of the church. The signage on it reads “Never again” above a room displaying skulls of some who were killed here and “Jenoside Yakorewe Abatutsi Muri Mata 1994” (The genocide committed against the Tutsi in April 1994).
Instagram Fave No. 24: A Former Tanganyika Railways Train at the Nairobi Railway Museum
A former Tanganyika Railways train (Tanganyika is the former name of mainland Tanzania) used to shoot the award-winning movie “Out of Africa“. This train is currently housed at the Nairobi Railway Museum in Kenya. The sign reads: Tanganyika Railways No. 301/ Built in 1923 by Beyer Peacock & Co, Ltd in Manchester. Retired in 1970’s as East African Railways 2301. It was used to shoot the movie (Out of Africa).
Instagram Fave No. 23: Kenya Railways Train 3205, Nairobi Railway Museum
Instagram Fave No. 22: Haandi, Westlands, Nairobi
I have been eating at Haandi at The Mall in Westlands, Nairobi for almost two decades, and it still remains my favourite Indian restaurant in Nairobi. The food is unbeatable and the service and ambiance worth writing home about.
Instagram Fave No. 21: Palacina Interiors at the Panari Sky Centre, Nairobi
It was so nice to be in Nairobi again after so long and to discover this @palacinainteriors store in the Panari Sky Centre where everything was so beautiful and stylish I wish I could take the whole store home. It was also particularly nostalgic for me because the Moonflower restaurant at the Palacina Residence & Suites on Kitale Lane used to be my default evening drinks/dinner location when I first moved to Nairobi in the early 2000s.
Instagram Fave No. 20: Nile High Bungee, Jinja, Uganda
As I sat at the bar waiting for the rain to subside and the bungee equipment to be assembled, the 44-m Nile High Bungee platform did not look daunting at all. But the horror of jumping off it! 🙈😣
Instagram Fave No. 19: Perfectly Cooked Salmon at the Fairview Hotel, Nairobi
This grilled salmon at the Mukutan Garden Café at the Fairview Hotel in Nairobi remains firmly impressed in my mind and on my palette for its perfection and flavor. Perfectly flaky and fresh with its seasoning of dill. It was the prefect dish to have in the restaurant’s fresh green gardens.
Instagram Fave No. 18: A Herdsman & Cows at The King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda
A herdsman strikes a pose as he sings, whistles, and recites poetry among the cows at the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda.
Instagram Fave No. 17: Red Chilli Hideaway, Kampala
If ever you are in Kampala, Uganda and are looking for budget accommodation, then I couldn’t recommend more highly the Red Chilli Hideaway with its new purpose-built location in Butabika. Although it’s a bit out of town, Red Chilli offers a complimentary shuttle service, 3 times a day, to and from downtown Kampala. Good food, a well-stocked bar, 4G internet, a swimming pool, and very convivial atmosphere. What more could you ask for at those prices (as low as US$7 for campers and US$40 for a double room en-suite)?
Instagram Fave No. 16: Nairobi Railway Museum
A long time ago, I wrote a post asking readers to tell me what their favourite East African museum was. A reader named David answered the Nairobi Railway Museum. Having lived in Nairobi for almost a decade (depending on how one’s counting), I was surprised at his answer because I’d never even heard of this museum. On my last trip to Nairobi, I made a point to check it out and my, oh my, was it a blast! If you are a museum buff and ever get a chance to check it out, please do. I trust you’ll enjoy it. (If you would like to let me know about your favourite East African museum, just go here and leave me a comment. As you see, I take your feedback seriously. :-))
Instagram Fave No. 15: Alcohol Hut, King’s Palace Museum, Nyanza, Rwanda
At the Rwandan King’s court in Nyanza, Rwanda, two beverages were prized above all others with specially built houses dedicated to them, staffed with special keepers to man them: milk and beer. This here is the beer house where a male keeper would make/store beer and select the best beer of the day to send to the King’s court. The beer could be made of banana, honey, or sorghum.
Instagram Fave No. 14: Red Chilli Hideaway, Kampala, Uganda
The beautiful grounds at the new purpose-built premises of Red Chilli Hideaway in Butabika, Kampala, Uganda (you can see the edge of the pool in this photo). It’s such a great deal for budget accommodation. You get very good value for your money!
Instagram Fave Nos. 13 & 12: Lake Kivu, Rwanda
I had often heard Rwanda referred to as a landlocked country so I never expected to have any meaningful water experiences in Rwanda. And then I found myself at beautiful Lake Kivu. I cannot say it enough: if you get a chance to go, please do. So peaceful, beautiful, and calm!
Boating in a rudimentary boat on Lake Kivu, Western Rwanda. The lake was so peaceful and calm and the boat low enough that I could run my fingers through the lake as we traveled along. Splendid!
Instagram Fave No. 11: A Herdsman Sings at The King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda
The arts related to cows and cattle keeping do not stop at complicated musical whistling like in my last video (no. 2 on this list). Here, a herdsman sings for (in praise of?) cows at the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza, Rwanda.
This video is dedicated to my girl @TJ_Ndejuru. I look forward to hearing more cow singers soon! 😚
Can anyone translate what he is saying for me?
Instagram Fave No. 10: International Breastfeeding Week
Breastfeeding: Give Breast Milk to Newborns in the First Hour of Life for Full Benefits of Breastfeeding
“’Making babies wait too long for the first critical contact with their mother outside the womb decreases the newborn’s chances of survival, limits milk supply and reduces the chances of exclusive breastfeeding,’ points out UNICEF Senior Nutrition Adviser France Bégin. ‘If all babies are fed nothing but breast milk from the moment they are born until…”
Photo Credit: John Atherton
Instagram Fave No. 9: Art Found on the Walls of the Centre Béthanie Guesthouse in Kibuye, Rwanda
(I accidentally deleted the original caption for this picture while putting together this post. To tell you a little about it though: I found this painting on the wall of the Centre Béthanie Guesthouse in Kibuye, Rwanda and thought it too beautiful not to take a picture of. The painting features a Rwandan woman with a traditional headpiece holding a gourd used to churn milk. I found this simply lovely!)
Instagram Fave No. 8: Lake Kivu, Rwanda
Glimpses of Lake Kivu…
Instagram Fave No. 7: Art Found on the Walls of the Centre Béthanie Guesthouse in Kibuye, Rwanda
More Rwandan artwork I saw on the walls of the Centre Béthanie guesthouse in Kibuye, Western Rwanda. This time, the painting is of Rwandan women dancing traditional Rwandan dance.
Instagram Fave No. 6: The Ndaba Falls, Rwanda
Near Kibuye in western Rwanda are these falls known as the Ndaba Falls. The best part of visiting the falls are the kids who act as local guides here. They’ve memorized their spiel in 7 languages (most of them foreign) and they’ll tell you the story of Ndaba in the language of your choice for a little change. Be mindful not to ask them a question in the middle of their presentation, though, because then they’ll have to start again from the beginning. 😂 Such a hoot!
And now for the story of Ndaba:
Long ago, there lived a man named Ndaba. One day, Ndaba was in the forest searching for honey with men from his village. As he was walking, he spied a rock with a great crack in it. Bees were buzzing in and out of the crack, so Ndaba decided to climb the rock to investigate. At the top, he saw that deep inside the rock there were enormous honeycombs dripping with honey.
Ndaba shouted to the other men, and then climbed down into the rock to investigate. When he reached the bottom, he began stuffing himself with honey using both hands.
The rest of the honey seekers soon arrived, and lowered down pots so Ndaba could fill them with honey. Ndaba started to fill the pots with honey, but the temptation was too great, and he continued to eat more honey than he put into the pots. Soon the other men outside the rock started to become impatient. They started yelling down to Ndaba, saying, “hurry up Ndaba, it is going to be dark soon!"
Ndaba paid them no heed even when the men started shouting angry words at Ndaba. Nothing they could say would make him hurry. Finally, the furious men pulled up their empty pots and left Ndaba there in the rock. Ndaba was so engrossed in the honey that he didn’t notice when the other men had gone. When he finally had eaten his fill, he tried to climb back out of the rock, but the walls were too slippery. Try as he might, Ndaba could not find a way out of the rock, and to punish him for his greed the other men did not come back to help him out. Ndaba never did escape that rock, and eventually he died there at the bottom, next to the honeycombs. To this day the place is called Ndaba’s Rock.
Caption credit: rwandaforyou.com
Instagram Fave Nos. 5 & 4: Lake Kivu, Rwanda
The beautiful view from St. Jean Catholic Church and Home Complex in Karongi District, Western Rwanda where one of the most gruesome massacres of the Genocide against the Tutsis occurred on April 17-18, 1994 (death toll in and around the church: 11,000). People ran away from the church into this beautiful lake, many of them drowning, to flee the weapons of the perpetrators of the genocide, while others begged to be allowed to drown themselves in the lake to no avail. To be there in all this beauty and be told of the horror that occurred there was gut wrenching. My heart still feels no peace just recounting the experience. #NeverAgain
Instagram Fave Nos. 3 & 2: Herdsman at The King’s Palace Museum, Nyanza, Rwanda
A herdsman whistles for cows at the King’s Palace Museum in Nyanza. (Why would a random chick grab my phone while I was taking a video and start directing the shot? Truly, people are incredible! 😑)
Instagram Fave No. 1: Lake Kivu in All Its Glory
I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you. If you’ve got any questions or comments, let me know by leaving me a comment below. As always, I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
Until the next time,
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