In the tea

My daughter and her friend visited us last week — after hiking to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. (It took them seven days, and my daughter reached the summit during a blizzard with lightning!)

While they were here in Rwanda, we went down to the southwest to see Nyungwe National Park, the largest protected mountainous rain forest in Africa.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureWe spent two nights at the Nyungwe Forest Lodge, which I know I’ve written about twice before.  But I still wanted to post these photos, because I find its landscape so serene. . . and so romantic — a tea garden at the edge of a rain forest.

The design is simple, yet extravagant — a few curving paths through thousands of Camellia sinensis bushes.

Above: the pool house in early morning.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureWe arrived on Wednesday in early afternoon.  There was a lot of mist, and it was so chilly that we turned on our room’s heater for about an hour. But it only rained once, briefly, during our stay.

Above: the Lodge gatehouse.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove: the Lodge in the distance.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove: yellow native Crassocephalum montuosum poking up through the tea bushes.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove and below: views from the main building’s porch.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ure

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove and below: narrow paths through the field. A local cooperative picks the tea and keeps the income from its sale.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove: The cabins, with two to four rooms each, are sited at the edge of the tea field.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove: the bushes around the Lodge looked like they had been picked recently.  Only the terminal bud and the top two leaves of each stem are plucked off.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove and below: the front of each cabin is planted with native perennials and small trees from the forest.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ure

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove: these giant lobelias (Lobelia gibberoa) are planted right into the grass and other low weeds wild plants.

Nyungwe Forest Lodge/enclos*ureAbove: each cabin’s back balcony looks out into the rain forest.  The land drops down very steeply about six or seven feet behind the cabins, so their windows really look into the tops of trees. It’s not uncommon to see monkeys there.

9 thoughts on “In the tea

  1. The tea fields are amazing. I think you said in an earlier post that tea is the biggest export in Rwanda. I had no idea. I’ve seen C. sinensis fields in Japan, didn’t realize there was so much in Rwanda. The more I see of Rwanda, the more I’d like to visit. Really beautiful landscape. Hard to believe there was a war going, what, 10 years ago??
    I’m jealous of your daughter’s climb up Kilimanjaro. Congrats! Quite a feat.

  2. What a beautiful place. I am getting more and more excited about my May visit to Rwanda. I have finished 3 of the 4 books you recommended and will be starting the 4th soon. Definitely want to go to Heaven for dinner.

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