What if we just let it all go?
Just cut paths through the brush and then beautifully paved them?
Pushed out a few garden rooms with low walls and columns built of local stone?
Mowed the grass only in those small spaces? Gardened (sometimes) with a machete, not hoes and shovels?
That’s what I kept thinking during our overnight stay at the Virunga Safari Lodge in northern Rwanda a couple of weeks ago.
The hotel consists of a main dining/lounge building and eight very private cabins.
A central path through the hotel grounds runs along the top of a hill, and the cabins are sited on both sides on a level below.
In the brush, wild natives and naturalized exotics grow together in a jumble. They were noisy with birds and insects.
As we took a walk through the neighboring community, I realized that the light-touch landscaping of the hotel grounds created, in a sense, the most artificial environment in the area. Rwanda’s country land is highly cultivated — almost every square foot is part of a vegetable garden or field or wooded plot for timber. A steep slope is rarely an obstacle.
At the end of a relaxing stay, we had lunch at a table overlooking Lake Burera and its little islands. Then we were off on the 2-hour drive back to Kigali.
It’s sad to leave Eden.
To scroll through larger versions of these images (and several more), click ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any thumbnail in the gallery.
To see more photos of Virunga Safari Lodge from a brief visit last year, click here.