Monday, May 25, 2015

Sabinyo, Rwanda & Gorillas! - Part II


Without giving our bodies, which were extremely sore the next morning, a chance to rest, we hired a car and headed 15 minutes out towards the Rwandan  border. After doing all the border paperwork, and getting our interstate passes for free entry into the country, we boarded a taxi and headed to the capital, Kigali. 

What to say about Rwanda.. , better yet, not what to say. All in all, it is very well organized, with buses with actual routes that run, the people are very nice, and the towns are very, very clean. We spent the next few days exploring the capital.


The genocide museum, hands down the best either of us has been to and is a must see. 

We took a day trip to Nyanza, south of Kigali, and visited the National Art Museum and Cultural Museum. The Cultural Museum is at the home of the last king of Rwanda and houses lots of artifacts as well as recreations of traditional royal huts.

After a few days we headed west to the tip of Lake Kivu to the Congo/Rwanda border town of Gisenyi. 

Guesthouse in Gisenyi - Discovery Guest House

Lake Kivu


Closing out our trip, we headed back to Kisoro for our last adventure. The guys were so beat from our action packed vacation and decided not to join our final trek. 

So the next morning at 5 am sharp, we headed out to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to go gorilla trekking. The usual price for trekking in Uganda is around $500 during high season. Since it was rainy season (low season), the treks were discounted to $350 and with our residence permits $300. 

At the base camp, we received a debriefing and were sorted into our groups. We were considered a medium trek group, they have short, medium and long treks that you have the option to request but they normally gauge by looking at your group. Our group was made up of another Peace Corps Volunteer and her mother and a group of older Italian men.

The trek is what it says, a literal trek. You start off on a path and as you get closer to the family the guide will start slashing away and lead you down and up the hillsides.  They recommend wearing long pants, which of course we did not have on, to avoid the stinging plants that can burn your skin for up to 30 minutes. A trek wouldn't be a trek without safari ants spanning an entire section of the trail. This is the section were we literally almost pushed past the guides as we tried to keep our legs from remaining idle too long. For those of you unfamiliar to safari ants, they are mean suckers. They attach on to you and bite, you literally have to pull each on off. The last stretch required us to literally climb up the forested hillsides grabbing on to vines and tree trunks to pull ourselves up.

Bwindi National Park

Trekking for Gorillas

Finally, we caught up with the gorillas! We trailed behind the back up of the group.  His size was nothing like I expected; he towered over us when we walked on his back two feet. At one point, giving us a fair warning we were following too long/close, he let out a roar and stood on his back two feet. Of course, I was at the front of the group and felt my heart skip a few beats as I grabbed leaves and pretended to eat them, something the guides had prepped us on. I had never imagined to be  as close as were were as he led us into a clearing where the family of 16 sat in the trees searching for berries. In total, we trekked a little over 9 miles and it was well worth it to see this amazing creatures in their natural habitat. 

The next morning our adventure ended as we headed to the bus at 4:45 only to wait for the 5 am bus to depart at 6 am. Finally around  9 pm we were greeted with our amazing neighbors and back at home.

More Pictures Coming Soon!

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