A few more facts:
- Uganda is slightly smaller than Oregon while Rwanda is a little smaller than Maryland.
- The Virunga Mountains are separate volcanos and not one chain.
- Dian Fossey established her research center at Karisoke between two volcanic mountain ranges, Karisimbi and Visoke. Sabinyo (partially in Uganda) is the other main volcano that groups of gorllas are tracked on.
Heading back to the Uganda border, we prepared to pay an additional $30 U.S. per person for a new Visa to re-enter. They get you coming…and…going. The one-year old new road (extending from Rwanda to the Uganda border) was not an easy adjustment for the Rwandan people. They considered it a walking roadway for their use only – a place to stand around on, sit in the middle or sell their goods. It took quite a while for them to start moving out of the way when automobiles and trucks started using it.
Drove past a beautiful crater lake…
…crossed over the border and continued on our way. Pat was very relaxed today, no more worries about border crossings, and we stopped often to admire the views and terraces….View image…
…children ran down the mountains the moment our vehicles stopped…View image…and started chanting…”gimme mawnee…gimme mawnee”…View image…very difficult to find a secluded place for any toilet functions when people were always materializing to watch every move you made (there were no toilets along the way once we left camps or hotels).
Through the town of Mbara where there was actually a shop selling film. The first we had seen since Kampala. Once again in the town of Kisoro and time for a fast photo before checking in to the Travellers Rest Hotel.
Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro only has eight rooms and two suites. For over 50 years, it has been a place for gorilla trackers and many scientists used it as a base camp. Dian Fossey often stayed here and called the hotel her second home. Pat said there are many stories about Dian Fossey (she was reputed to be crazier than a loon and would come to Kisoro to go on a bender). Lucky ex-Marine and I were given the Mutanda suite (just by chance) with two beautiful rooms…View image…for our too brief one-night stay.
The entire Hotel was loaded with a beautiful selection of masks and other artifacts from the Congo and our group could have done some serious damage if only credit cards were accepted! It is very rare to find a place that accepts credit cards in Uganda and it was sad to leave so many interesting crafts behind. We were running very low on U.S. $$ and needed an ATM badly! (So did Lisa and Jan.) Pat said, maybe, Kampala. Travellers Rest also had a comfortable lounge to have drinks in…and some of the best food of the trip…really excellent cuisine with a Mexican buffet (of all things) for dinner this evening.
Tourists can go into Mgahinga Gorilla Park from Travellers Inn, only one-half hour ride from Kisoro. But there is only one group of habituated gorillas in Mgahinga. The majority of Uganda’s gorillas are found in Bwindi.