The Honeybee Waggle (and gorillas too!)
Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
88Trip End Sep 26, 2010
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After successfully making it into Rwanda we drove fro around two hours to get to Kigali where we stopped at a nice garden café for a break and a quick drink. Beers are LARGE here. They sell Mutzig and Primus as the local Rwandan beers and they come in 650 ml and 720 ml bottles, respectfully. Pretty good, but I still prefer Ugandan beer.
We hit the road again after the pit stop and I spent the next few hours just taking in the Rwandan countryside. Of course there was the usual, so lots of waving and smiling kids, hundreds of people walking on the roadside carrying large yellow jerry cans for carrying water. The women balance anything they decide to carry on their heads as they walk and they usually have quite hefty loads. It is pretty interesting to see. The landscape changed quite a bit once we entered Rwanda though. Rwanda is very hilly and mountainous and cultivated all over. It seems every last inch of mountainside has been carved into for agricultural purposes so it creates many tiered plateaus all the way down the mountains. The roads were decent but it still took 13 hours of driving before we finally made it into Musanze at sundown. Musanze is a very small town near the Congolese border which was hit hard in the 1994 genocide. It was formerly known as Ruhengeri, but is now officially called Musanze
We had a very early start the next morning. Sunday was the day we were going to see the elusive mountain gorillas. There are only 700 of them left in the world so this was a rare opportunity and one I was very excited for. It is one of the most expensive things I have ever done (600$CAD) but the money goes to help the conservation of these amazing animals so it wasn't a very hard pill to swallow. I was with some people that would be tracking the "Ugenda" family of gorillas, which consisted of 15 members, including 3 silverbacks. We took some terrible roads to where we start our hike but around 9am we set off and started hiking. The hike was pretty nice, we were basically heading straight up the side of a volcano into the misty jungle above. We started on the cultivated farmland as we went up but after a few hours made it to the jungle and entered over a rock wall. This was when the hike got more difficult. Our gorilla family decided it would be a fun game to play a practical joke on us so we basically followed them for an hour through the largest stinging nettle patch in the history of all jungles. It was very dense and slow-going as the trackers in front had to basically chop their way through the undergrowth with machetes while they tracked the animals
The next day was a free day and we relaxed over breakfast and I got caught up on some sleep and laundry and decided to brave the cold showers (it had been a few days after all.) I spent the afternoon walking around town and seeing what was there but I had kids following me the whole time begging me for money so it was a little annoying but still a pleasant town and pleasant experience overall. We went out for a group dinner and headed to the bar afterwards which was a good time and a good way to end the last night we had in Rwanda.
Back to Uganda in the morning!