Kigali

Friday 15 November 2019

We are leaving the forest today. And leaving Uganda!

The drive back out of the villages to the main road was amazing. We started in thick fog, before popping out above the clouds into a blue sky – with a blanket of cloud laying in the valley beneath us.

Winding round and round past the fields, women working already at 7am.

Then we popped out onto an amazing view of the volcanos. These volcanos are half in Rwanda and half in Congo – volcanos National Park / virunga national park. More mountain gorilla live here and it’s possible to track them here also.

Then we made it back to Kabale. The last town before the border crossing.

The crossing was fairly simple and not too busy. I love a land crossing, particularly in Africa. A short queue to be stamped out of Uganda, then a walk of about 100m across into Rwanda!

Country number 111!

Before we were allowed in, we were temperature scanned for Ebola. And made to wash our hands!

Then again a short queue for a stamp onto Rwanda – I had already purchased an evisa ahead of time.

Then bag checking. We had to take all our bags off the bus and have them searched to plastic bags. Plastic bags are banned in Rwanda and have been since 2008. They let zip lock bags through.

Rwanda drive on a different side of the road to Uganda (on the right in Rwanda). So we had to switch!

We also went back an hour, so gained an additional hour to the day!

Then into a large valley filled with tea plantations. And crops all the way up the mountains. Again, lots of banana trees. Not too much different to Uganda. Still very green.

It took around 2 hours to reach Kigali. The road aides getting busier and busier until we hit the city – a chaos of motorbikes! Again called boda-boda (named after the route they used to run – border to border). All wearing helmets and all carrying an extra helmet for their passenger!

Our first stop was the genocide memorial site, in the middle of the city. They have buried over 250,000 people here and constructed gardens around the burial sites, along with an information building describing what happened. In 1996, over 1 million people were killed in Rwanda after the government aided in the ethnic cleansing and killing of the tutsi tribe members. (All Rwanda’s are either Tutsi or Hutu tribe). Friends, neighbours and colleagues killed each other. And it all happened over a 100 day period. Over 80% of the country know someone who was killed.

We drove across the city to the Nyamirambo township. Colourful houses and graffitied streets. We had lunch at a local house – they made us so many different types of vegetables. It was really delicious.

Then we headed to a women’s centre in the neighbourhood – they provide English lessons and sewing skills to local women. They have a shop where they sell everything that they make.

Then I was by myself! The week long tour ended here.

I got a taxi to the hotel – right next to the state house! Fancy streets, full of greenery and signs saying no photos allowed!

It was 6pm when I arrived, so in time to order some room service (banana flower salad and passion fruit sorbet) and laze around – something I haven’t managed all week!

Saturday 16 November 2019

I tried to have a lie in – as I’ve been up at 6am every day for the past week. But I just woke up at 5.30an (6.30am in Uganda) and didn’t manage to sleep much after that.

Today is a lazy day. Swimming pool time.

I had to leave at 1pm to head to the airport.

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