Kabale District

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27 travelers at this place

  • Day113

    Ruhija, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP

    August 27, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    We were sure that nothing could be better than our gorilla experience in Rwanda – we were wrong! Seeing the gorillas for the second time in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda (BEST name for a park, ever) was even more incredible…we feel beyond lucky.
    The weather was clear and it was a short hike to where the gorilla family we were tracking had decided to hang out for the day. It took the forward trackers some time to find them as they kept changing direction and we had to wait for about an hour before they knew for sure where they were settling in for breakfast. Again, like Rwanda, we knew we were close when the forward trackers appeared out of the dense undergrowth and our guide told us to leave everything with a couple of the porters, except cameras.
    We approached the family, with a female and young baby appearing first. Next, the massive alpha silverback appeared and sat on the edge of a small clearing. This silverback was huge, but calm, which somehow made him more imposing than the silverbacks we encountered in Rwanda. The group was made up of 3 silverbacks (2 did not appear as they are older and tend hang out on the outskirts of the group), several females and juveniles, and a few little ones -including a 6-month old. Slowly, most of the group appeared in the small clearing and started to feed, climb and play fight. The silverback quietly sat in the background observing and occasionally trying to nap, but also making periodic, low pitched rumbles to make sure we knew he was there and to communicate with the family. From the photos and video you get a sense of how close we got to the gorillas. Officially, you are supposed to only get within 7 meters of them, but it is impossible to maintain that distance because of the tight, dense undergrowth, but also because the gorillas often approach you, sometimes quickly, and decide to sit and do their thing just a few feet from you. After a quick hour, we started to reluctantly retreat back up the mountain and leave the gorillas behind.
    No one leaves this experience unhappy. When you are with the gorillas you occasionally look around at your fellow trekkers to observe their reactions and everyone has smiles, sometimes tears. What we also noticed with this encounter was the reaction of the porters, guide, trackers and researcher that was present. They were as excited as the paying guests even though they probably see gorillas most days. They were all taking pictures, laughing at the young gorilla antics and talking excitedly with each other about the behavior. What an amazing job!!
    When we returned from trekking, we were told by our guide that a chameleon had been located in the nearby village (we’d mentioned wanting to see one), so off we went in our LR with one of the porters to see a chameleon. We climbed through the village into a back garden and were able to see 3 (a male, female and young one) in a tree. What an incredible day!
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  • Day108

    Lake Bunyoni

    August 22, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    It was with some sadness that we left Rwanda and headed into Uganda. Visiting Rwanda has been a bit like visiting Singapore as a break from SE Asia’s chaos. It’s safe, clean, orderly, and seems to work. It has also been educational, emotional, and inspiring given how resilient, hopeful and hard working the people here are.
    The border crossing into Uganda was reasonably straightforward, but not as well organized as it was coming into Rwanda. Fortunately, we are now experienced enough that we can usually make sense of the disorganized group of unconnected sheds and find our way through with minimum stress. As soon as we crossed into Uganda, the road instantly turned to potholed dirt and was crammed with trucks. We also noticed trash/rubbish on the side of the road, which is non-existent in Rwanda.
    We only drove a few hours to Lake Bunyoni, a very picturesque lake, dotted with multiple islands. While here, we took a boat trip and learned about one of the most interesting islands - Punishment Island, where unwed, pregnant girls were sent as ‘punishment’. We gather that many died here, as it’s a tiny island with no shelter, no fresh water and no food. This practice apparently continued up until the 1950s.
    We have definitely hit rainy season. We were hoping we would miss it, but apparently it has come early this year. This means we are likely to experience torrential rain most days – not fun when camping. This also means we will be adjusting our plans in Uganda and Kenya (basically we’re planning to stay in an airbnb for a week or so). A friend of John’s texted him saying she had just spent a month in Japan on a food tour. As we were sitting in our tent in the middle of the afternoon, with deafening rain lashing the tent for hours on end, imagining and looking for leaks, we had to ask ourselves, “what the hell are we doing sitting in the tent in the middle of Africa during rainy season when we could be sitting in some Onsen in the Japanese mountains eating great food and sleeping on dry tatami??!!” Oh well, it’s all part of the adventure!
    You may have noticed over the last couple of posts, that we are tending to stay in guest houses more often and stopping to take a few days off from driving and camping. We’ve definitely had an amazing time and great experiences over the last 4 months, and are looking forward to the next 3-4 weeks, but we’re also looking forward to not driving ourselves, and not camping – especially now that the rains have arrived.
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  • Day121

    Pirogue sur le lac Bunyonyi

    March 6, 2019 in Uganda ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    Traverser l'Ouganda n'a pas été une mince affaire. Mais ça a été l'occasion de tester notre résilience face à l'attente et à l'inconfort. C'est donc officiel, on s'est bien africanisés ! :) Et l'écrin de verdure dans lequel nous sommes arrivés méritait amplement de galérer un peu...

    Nous logeons sur une des îles de ce grand lac entouré de collines aux cultures en terrasses. Tout est très vert et paisible, le temps semble s'y être arrêté. Pas un bruit de voiture ou de moto, seuls règnent les chants des oiseaux, quelques appels lointains de vaches ou de chèvres et le bateau école qui transporte les écoliers d'une île voisine.

    Pour apprécier de plus près les paysages et explorer les îles inhabitées, on passe au niveau 2 de pagayage. Après s'être fait les bras en kayak à Jinja, on teste la pirogue locale ! Pas simple de manœuvrer ce long tronc d'arbre creusé, mais Tom assure !

    Le lac Bunyonyi, petit coin de paradis !
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  • Day3


    July 7, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We had a long journey today, tent down and away by 6am and not arriving until 7pm. It was an enjoyable ride as the scenery changed to be more rural and hillsides covered in crops. We crossed the Equator again, had a roadside lunch stop and played a few games of cards.Read more

  • Day48

    Rwanda impressions

    February 18, 2016 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    As I sit here along the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, I will attempt to sum up my thoughts on Rwanda. Here are a few points on the country :

    In physical appearance, it ranks among the nicest, prettiest countries I've seen! Everything is so green, thick beautiful vegetation. It's all so well kept also, trimmed lawns, clean... They even have a national cleaning day - last Saturday of the month - where everyone apparently willingly and excitedly cleans...

    Kigali, being their capital , is huge and developed with tons of high buildings and offices and everything you would need with its own bunch of subburbs. They say it's the country of a thousand hills and I believe it! Even the capital is spread between hills and valleys. Most of the other towns consist of one, maybe 2 main roads, never much more then 1-2 kilometres long.

    They have no street food. No street stalls at all. Apparently it's illegal to sell things on the street, you must have a shop. Which makes sense, because we once bought fruit from the first gang of women we saw sitting on the street, and yet 20 minutes later they were all packed up and gone, with a military man roaming around... I guess that's how they stay clean, no one there to dirty the streets.

    Their national park (at least the one we did) was gorgeous and again - clean. Seems silly to say but in Ethiopia, all along our hikes and street sides there were water bottles on the ground. Even our guides would throw their water bottle to the ground during our hikes in national parks. In Rwanda - not a single piece of anything on our hike... I even had a banana peel which I asked if I could throw in the nature (animals will eat it, no?) and I was told to hold onto it until the end for a garbage.

    The people try to be very helpful. Unfortunately language is very limited, be it French or English. They like to give directions when they have no clue where something is, but they try! They ask where do we want to go when we barely hesitate in our step.

    I've actually gotten even more stares in this country compared to all the other ones I've done. Thing is, I really don't think they mean any judgement from it... They just don't see it as a social faux pas. One lady even turned herself over in the bus to have a better view of us, looking without breaking eye contact for about an hour. Kids like to follow, but their lack of English means they follow in silence, or laughing amongst their friends. (I'll attempt to get some videos of this onto Facebook...)

    Many people blame the French and the Belgians for their genocide, basically saying they brought in the thoughts of racism when imposing the Hutu and Tutsi identity cards and then chosing one group as the educated leaders... They are now rebelling against those roots and learning English in school instead of French. The older generation we could communicate with in French, and the younger in English.

    The general feel of Rwandans are, as mentions, very restrained, a certain somber feel for the people... A lack of liveliness. Not as willing to chat or not as many smiles. Serious people.

    That's Rwanda in a nutshell!


    The lake itself here is absolutely gorgeous. We sat around the dock, soaked our feet, enjoying an outdoor shower with a view, and went for a walk to "town" where someone served us fries in what seemed like their living room. Beautiful, relaxing, and yet we've got ants in our pants so we're probably going to move on tomorrow to something more activity oriented. Unfortunately, a tour we were looking forward to doing on and by the Batwa people is too expensive. Our lovely lonely planet said it was 30$ per person. Turns out it's 60$ per person plus at 45$ transportation fee. Quite the price different. LP failed us again...

    FYI that last picture is of the many voting booths set up outside in Uganda. Line ups at all of them. I wish my voting booth had those views! Also, the government blocked Facebook and what'sapp for the day. Lol yep, it can do that! Apparently a bunch of people were already arrested for trying to buy votes at voting stations. Our shared taxi driver guy stopped in every little town along the way to yell out from his window his support for Museveni's re-election. All the stores and restaurants were closed. Streets are dead. Elections day is a big thing here!
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  • Day7

    Lake Bunyonyi Overland Camp

    June 15, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    I thought Red Chilli Camp was the best but this one definitely takes the cake, I cannot believe how beautiful this place is and we get to spend four nights here! We have set up our tent right on the lake and have an amazing view as you can see from the photo.

    The facilities here are pretty good, three bars (one at each level which is handy when the stairs are as steep as they are, you can stop of for a beer at each level), good showers and toilets which is important if you haven't noticed I'm always commenting on them haha.

    The next few days are going to be really busy and pretty exciting, I am going to have early mornings and long days because I going to look for chipmunks tomorrow, gorillas on Saturday and then visiting Rwanda on Sunday!
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  • Day37

    Lake Bunyonyi

    October 22, 2019 in Uganda ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

    Today we're heading to Lake Bunyonyi, south of the Bwindi Forest, to relax lake-side for a couple of days. The drive through the Impenetrable Forest is intense- hairpin turns carve their way down the mountain side, where one false move could mean a huge plummet.

    It's not possible to reach our accommodation by road, so we park up at another hotel car park and catch a boat across. The hostel is wonderful- built from the top of the hill down the the lake-shore, which a cute wooden cabin built just on top of the water. This will be our home for the next few days.

    Right now, we're starving, so ask for some lunch. The hostel is owned by a Japanese hostel company, so they feature Asian food on the menu. Keen for a break from chapatti and beans, Katie opts for Pad Thai. Three hours later, our food shows up, and Katie is given a loose approximation of the famous Thai dish. It's spaghetti, tomato sauce, veggies and parmesan cheese, and Katie is thoroughly disappointed. We decide to order the local dishes from then on, which are delicious.

    We spend the time jumping off our deck into the Bilharzia free waters, lounging in the sun, and reading our books over cups of Ugandan coffee.

    One evening we climb the nearby hill with Bas and Vera to watch the sun set over the nearby range of Volcanoes. It's incredibly quiet and peaceful here, and we end up spending more time than we planned.
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  • Day11

    Truck Journey to Musanze, Rwanda

    December 5, 2019 in Uganda ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    The combination of getting up so early for four days in a row, the exhausting gorilla trek the previous day, and that it had been raining on the tent when I went to sleep and still raining on the tent when I woke up, meant that my mood and morale was low. I got up at 6am but then discovered the truck was leaving later at 9am because of the rain. I had some breakfast of oats and toast with honey, put my possessions in the truck storage under my seat, and packed up my soaking wet tent. We set off for our next destination, Musanze, Rwanda.The journey has some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen with vast vistas of mountains and hills covered with steep small fields and trees. One of the views in particular was an immense vista of hills and mountains stretching for mile after mile. The valleys were often filled with large lakes such as the long Lake Boryani which we finally left behind after about an hour's drive. The people and especially the children still waved on route, but nearer the Rwandan border the mischievous children were noticeably more aggressive in asking for money/pens and some threw sticks at the truck or tried to jump on the back if they didn’t get what they wanted. We crossed the Rwanda border without too much difficulty. The first thing to notice was that we were now in a French speaking country and were driving on the right hand side of the road. The people and culture were already noticeably different. The houses were generally more wealthy and the roads were lined with trees. The people’s waves and acknowledgements were also more friendly than the last part of Uganda. We arrived at our next place, Fatima camp, which is an old convent complex of buildings in Musanze under the shadow of a huge volcano, Karisimbi, that had been dominating the skyline of our jouney for over half an hour. We were all given twin en suite rooms rather than the dorm rooms we were expecting which was an unexpected and welcome luxury after our miserable wet camp the night before. However, I was exhausted and had been given the task and responsibility of cooking for the rest of the group along with two others – Jesse and Kristin. This made me miserable as I had cooked only two days before and just wanted to rest and sleep after an exhausting few days. Very kindly, my fellow traveller Brian, a gentle and kind Irishman with a good wit and a stutter, and who I was sharing the same twin room with, very kindly offered to take my place on the cooking group. After some initial reluctance to impose on Brian, I gratefully agreed and was able to clean my muddy waterproofs and boots from the previous day’s mudfest of a gorilla trek and was able to get a couple of hours of desperately needed rest on a comfy bed. In the evening I discovered that part of the reason for my tiredness was that I’d contracted a mild stomach virus. I did sleep well and felt a little more rested and refreshed the following morning.Read more

  • Day1


    June 9, 2017 in Uganda ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    I have been away from home for one month now. Although by the time I post this it will be closer to six weeks because that is likely the soonest I will have internet access. Ruhija is a community within the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It's inhabitants are mainly gorilla treckers and farmers and many many children. I am working in the health clinic here three days a week. There are five Canadians and five Ugandans in my team of health care students and we are staying on a conservation site owned by MUST (Mbarara University of Science and Technology). The lights are solar powered and there is no running water. We hike up a steep hill to charge items and collect water in jerry cans. Monkeys seem to be nearly as common as squirrels here. The ITFC (Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation) people let the monkeys eat our garbage, but this has not stopped them from breaking into our house and stealing our bread.
    This is probably the most beautiful landscape I have ever been in and the pictures simply do not do it justice. I will try to post more often.
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Kabale District

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