skulls brno ossuary
skulls brno ossuary
  • Rwanda - Land of Clouds
    • 04/09/2017
There have been few vehicles on the road, and crossing the border to Rwanda is quick easy, first getting a police permit to walk across no mans land, then stamping out of Uganda at one window and stamping into Rwanda at another.

Rwanda has the highest population density in Africa but the streets are remarkably clean, due in part to an edict that one day a month all citizens participate in picking up litter.

Each little row of shops is accompanied by a gathering of moto-taxis, (motorbikes) as was the case in Uganda, but now joined by loads of velo-taxis, bicycles with a padded seat over the back wheel for passengers. They are brightly decorated in a similar manner to the buses and Minivans.

The official language has recently been changed from French to English, to bring the country in line with its neighbours, where millions of refugees of the civil war / genocide have been brought up. So there is an interesting mix of signage and influences.

Bicycles being used to transport everything,
- aside from what can be balanced on one's head-
Mattress, bunch if bananas, three crates of beer, water , million other things. No hands!

Arriving in Musanze we are just in time for the annual Gorilla naming celebration, however most of the sizeable crowd seems only there to see charismatic president (99% of the vote in last election)
There are about 20 new baby gorillas this year, each given a supposedly meaningful name by a mixture of guests, from worthy conservationists and academics to local celebs, cringeworthy foreign luxury hotel owners and fashion model/activist wannabes.
We felt quite conspicuous as not many white people in attendance aside from journalists.
Oh and apparently the actor Sean Penn? Can't remember what films he's actually in mind.

Grocery shopping in the local market, the stalls neatly arranged by produce type, but you are immediately surrounded by "helpful" porters, who want to negotiate a higher price for you and carry your bags, which is slightly annoying.

Next day was optional activities, so I chose to a trek up through fields and jungle to the crater of Mount Bisoke, a nice conical volcano with a lake in the middle, at 3700 metres.
The soil here is super fertile and they get three harvests of "Irish" potatoes every year.

Being in a national park, this was not the cheapest, but did have the possibility of spotting some gorillas - alas not.
Accompanied by a guide and five armed soldiers, allegedly to scare away Buffalo, but more likely to stop us wandering over the border to adjacent Congo.
After a couple of hours climb, approx 1100m ascent, the sun was out at the top, however views were not far reaching as the whole country seems to be smothered by a humid haze which limits visibility, shrouding the horizon in a ghostly whitish mist.

Today visited Kigali, and the somewhat harrowing museum of genocide located there, then was time to say a tearful goodbye to four of the group who could only get two weeks holiday from work, including my tent buddy Jon, who will be back in the office tomorrow. Brutal!


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