Travels in Rwanda by Klaas Jan Jonkman

There’s a lot to love about Rwanda. From lush tea plantations to its famed resident mountain gorillas, there is so much to discover. In fact, it’s where the idea of The Slow Cyclist was born.

When I saw photographer and entrepreneur Klaas Jan Jonkman’s travels through Rwanda on Instagram, I was immediately transported back to the Land of a Thousand Hills, soaking in epic landscapes and spotting magnificent wildlife (Akagera National Park, in the country’s east, is a “Big Five” game reserve). Klaas spent several years living in Rwanda with his family, documenting his love of the country through his excellent photographs.

I’m so pleased that Klaas has shared some of his favourite photos with The Slow Cyclist, with a  description of each. I dare you not to fall in love with Rwanda too.

Lake Ruhondo

A boat on Lake Ruhondo in Rwanda

This photo was taken in the first few days of 2020 at a time when my family and I were celebrating the new year and didn’t know that the Covid pandemic was about to hit the world. Mt. Muha Bura, perfectly cone-shaped and home to mountain gorillas, is mirrored beautifully in the lake. It’s such a peaceful spot. A place for reflection, you might say.

Akagera National Park

Two giraffes in Akagera National Park Rwanda

Akagera National Park covers most of eastern Rwanda. It’s a particularly beautiful game reserve, although during the 1994 genocide many of the animals were either killed or escaped. But the past 30 years have witnessed its recovery and it is once again a “Big Five” park and one of the region’s best. It’s just amazing to have access to such beauty. Let’s work hard to preserve what’s left of these wild places! 

Three adult elephants and two babies in Akagera National Park, Rwanda

A baby elephant feeling quite protected by its elders. It’s spectacular to see the variety of animals raising their young in this magical place.

Northern Province

A boy carrying a sack on his head in Rwanda

I visited the foot of volcanoes so often that I started to get recognised; I suppose I was the only Dutch guy strolling through the fields early every Sunday morning with a camera! The children used to approach me and ask if I would take their photo.

Northern Rwanda is one of my favourite parts of the country. Hills of course, but volcanoes too. Here beautiful Sunday morning sunrise welcomes me into the dense forest.

I trekked into Volcanoes National Park to see mountain gorillas. This baby looked so safe against its mother’s body. The babies are fully cared for until they’re three and a half years old, but even after that mum and dad are never far away.

Tea Plantations

Tea plantations cover the hills of Rwanda

Everyone visiting Rwanda should take a walk through one of its many bright green tea plantations; here peaceful but so often buzzing with activity. 

For many Rwandans, the tea plantations are a place of work. These women have been picking leaves and are on their way to the factory.

To see more of Klaas’s beautiful photos, visit his Instagram page @jonkmania. If you’ve been inspired to visit Rwanda, find out more about our Rwanda cycling journeys or enquire now

Tea plantations cover the hills of Rwanda

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