Sabinio - Three countries in one day
Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
125Trip End Jun 12, 2006
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The trip to the border was interesting, I've never seen so many people walking down the road (apart from Kampala), it was like leaving a football game, but this place was out in the sticks! I wondered if they were all people trying to get refuge status in Uganda as Uganda has a huge number of refuges around the Rwanda/Congo border.
I was the only person crossing this border (Cyanika), very different from the big lines at the Katuna border I had passed by a few days earlier.
Booked into the Virunga Hotel back in Uganda in Kisoro and went for a wander. Went by the Mgahinga National Park HQ and arranged hikes for 2 days of my stay. Tomorrow I'll be going up Sabinio, at just over 12,000ft it intersects the borders with Rwanda, Uganda and Congo, at the summit you are in three countries at once. The guy at the park HQ said this is only one of 3 places in the world where you can do this!
The second hike in 3 days will be up Muhuvura, at 13,500ft it is meant to provide great views of the rest of the volcanoes, including ones in Rwanda and Congo that I saw when I was over in Rwanda.
Next onto the internet that had a very annoying enter key that kept sticking and cost twice the price as the rest of Uganda - no other places to chose from in town so the place had the market tied up.
I finally decided the Ugandan gents were showing me up so off it was for a shave and haircut. Had an unpleasant experience where the guy said it was going to by 1000 USH and then charged me 10 times that! He quickly came down to 5000. I left him 3 and a dirty look to show my disapproval before leaving! The rest of the shop seemed to be suitable impressed with how I handled the situation.
Later still some guy from the Congo passed by my hotel selling 'antique' Congolese masks and carvings for $50 a pop. Didn't really want anything so I offered him $30 for a mask and headrest hoping that would get rid of him. He seemed to be gutted to have sold at the price but must have needed the cash and said yes - So now I'm stuck with them, god knows what I'll do with them, I certainly don't want to carry them around with me for the next 4 months.
A guide named Joseph passed by slightly later and I arranged a trip with him for 2 days time (in between the hikes). Wow it's been a busy day! We will head out to Lake Mutanda where you get great views of the volcanoes - from there we will kayak out to an island where you get a chance to see pythons and other snakes.
The incident at the hairdressers and a few other little things were a sign that I was time for me to move on from Uganda. After here I think I'll head on to the Ssese Islands on Lake Victoria followed by the tourist tout heaven of Tanzania to see if I can handle what that has to throw at me.
A new day and I was going to mention I'd hardly seen a mosquito since leaving England - that was until last night. I fell asleep forgetting to put down the mosquito net and woke up itching all over and thought I had bed bugs until I heard the buzzing overhead. Let's hope those malaria tablets work!
Got on my boda boda at 6am and got to the park gate for 6:45, it was still dark. Made myself a honey sandwich using honey purchased from the local bee cooperative the previous day. We were at the trail head by 7:30, me, my guide and 2 guards. My guard mentioned the starting elevation was at 4,000ft, that would mean an 8,000ft climb! I'm guessing his information was fundamentally flawed!
This park used to be a place for gorilla trekking but the group people used to see had moved across the border to Rwanda. I felt bad for the park and also for the town of Kisoro. It was obviously a big revenue spinner that attracted lots of tourists, not just to the park but all the hotels and other businesses - I had seen 3 tourists in my whole time here!
The first 90 minutes was through bamboo forest and flowery meadows. This area had been reclaimed from agricultural land and re-integrated into the National park as early as 1992. We heard buffalo and Golden Monkeys but never saw any. I also saw a couple of earth worms on the trail. They were no ordinary earthworms though, over a foot long and half an inch wide - they looked more like slow moving snakes!
After this first section things steepened and we moved into primary forest. It was an overcast day but every now and then we'd catch glimpses of Mt. Muhuvura and Mt. Gahinga to the left. We also spotted a couple of Rwenzori Turacos throughout the day.
The name of the mountain translates to 'old mans teeth'. From the first tooth we got to we could see across the ridge to the other 2 before the main peak. We were also on the Rwanda boarder and I could see down to Ruhengeri where I had stayed a few nights earlier and also Kinigi where we had gone to start the gorilla trek.
Where I stayed