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Chimerwa Hot Springs & Around

I set out to explore Rwanda, and I’m immediately impressed. The main roads are extremely good pavement, and are spotlessly clean. It’s such a shock it takes me a while to process. No even once, ever, do I see a single solitary piece of trash. Rwanda is much, much clearer than anywhere I have ever been in my life – Australia, Canada, Europe – they don’t hold a candle to Rwanda.

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Huge tea plantations remind me strongly of Cameroon – I’m happy to see these are all community owned and run

Furthermore, I see teams of “community workers” out and about working in their neighbourhood to keep things ship-shape. People are weeding the side of the roads, sweeping footpaths and painting buildings. Wow – this place is seriously organized.

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Impressive farming on every square inch

I venture out on tiny roads and I’m not at all disappointed. Like Burundi Rwanda is very mountainous, with virtually every square inch dedicated to farming. Gravel roads twist and turn through the mountains, crossing little bridges over mountain rivers in the valley before winding back up to ridges and mountain tops.

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Really, really cool bridges over mountain streams

The roads are rocky and slow going – I imagine a rocky road is the only way to deal with the torrential downpours common in this part of the world.

When I arrive at Chimerwa Hot Springs, I know I have found something special. This isn’t a hot spring, so much as a hot LAKE. Hot water bubbles into the huge lake from below, and the entire area is extremely well manicured gardens and grass. In places the lake is much to hot to swim, though friendly locals are happy to show me exactly where it’s possible to soak, and even fully swim.

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Chimerwa Hot Springs main swimming lake

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The main hot lake – it’s HUGE!

The lake flows out into a river that stretches for hundreds and hundreds of yards through the lush valley. At times it even flows over waterfalls! Hot waterfalls!

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The hot river leaving the lake

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The hot river further from the lake

I soak late into the evening as an enormous thunderstorm rolls through putting on an impressive thunder and lightning display. Feeling extremely safe and welcome I setup camp right in the parking lot of the lake, and everyone asks assures me it’s no problem. Soon after dark the military who guard the place overnight come to check on me, and after getting my story they have no issue with my camping right there.

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Camping at the Hot Springs

It’s a very peaceful night, and I’m up again at sunrise to soak and enjoy the stunning surrounds.

-Dan

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