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 least 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.
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To see more photos of Virunga Safari Lodge from a brief visit last year, click here.