This is part of the Sixth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Burundi or read our previous visit to Rwanda
2/2/00 Very friendly and without having to pay another Rwandan visa over a mix up whether Australians needed (which they do) a visa for Rwanda. Visited the beautifully located town of Cyangugu overlooking Lake Kivu and the larger Congo (Zaire) city of Bukavu. A poor quality dirt road to Kibuye, 135 km, alongside, up and down mountains, the most beautiful lake I have seen. Islands, bays, inlets, steep sides and shallow grass lands with people cultivating its shores and fishing in the waters. We stopped a few times to admire the solitude and isolation (not a Coca Cola product to be found anywhere) the peacefulness of the bird sounds and people talking in the distance. Not a mechanical noise to shatter the quiet. This is the area of one of the worst attempts of genocide since WW2.
3/2/00 Still heading alongside Lake Kivu, more mountain dirt road, the same beautiful scenery but the long distance views escape us because of heavy haze, a product of burning timber for cooking, making charcoal and the dry season. Gisenyi, at the top of the lake, a past playground for the Rwandan rich. Now slowly recovering but still full of UN and NGO's plus soldiers doing cross border business in Congo (Zaire). Our recovering hotel overlooks park, sandy beach and the lake where local boys swim and wash.
4/2/00 A unique transportation method has developed here where the road descends for over 20 km's from the surrounding mountains to the lake. Scooters, made entirely from wood other than solid rubber tyres, are loaded with bags of cabbages, charcoal etc. and ridden by one or two boys down hill reaching incredible speeds with the wooden wheels wobbling and the loose connections to the handle bars vibrating. The only brake their sandled foot pressing a piece of plastic or rubber to the rear wheel. Whistle in mouth to warn walkers and downhill they speed to push back up hill for another load. More amazing is that it is more economical to pay dozens of boys and young men to do this, two or three boys at a time, than to load them onto a truck. The produce is then transferred to the three wheeler hand driven bicycles seen everywhere in Africa to make the land mine victims mobile. They seem to have the cross border franchise and have able bodied men load/unload and push these tricycles, again with two or three sacks of produce. Headed out towards Ruhengeri still along the Congo (Zaire) border, with refugee settlements getting more crowded and the denuding of the landscape more apparent from their presence. These refugees fleeing the Congo (Zaire) war have now been here for a couple of years, some seem to be returning home, following less fighting recently, judging from some abandoned shacks. We are now at the base of a series of 7 volcanoes. One with three countries at its foot and another home to the famous Mountain Gorillas that Dian Fossey studied and were made famous in the book "Gorillas in the Mist". Tourists visit different groups from the three countries but there habitat has been dwindling as can be seen by the heavily cultivated slopes of the mountains with only the higher, steeper areas untouched. At $US 250.00 each for a one day's expedition and a one hour viewing we decided to look from a distance.
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