Crazy children.

 That Subsaharan Africa has many children is nothing new. Neither is that they react a bit crazy to whites, Muzungos, especially in rural areas, where they are hard to find. Most of them have a große Klappe (big mouth) in a group but once you meet them by themselves, they are not so brave after all- a phenomenon of many humans:). Some kids ask for money- none are really perseverent, but most of them just give a markerschütternden (i have no idea what the english word for that is) scream when spotting us: Muzunguuuu! Funny thing is, once we stop and sit down, a lot of times they loose interest in us, we’re not so interesting after all..We’ve had the privilage to observe regional differences..

Rwandan kids are taking a look at the weird muzungos

Ugandan kids can spot you from very far and will rarely greet you with anything else than Bye, bye Muzungo! You would think our response would be hello, but too often you catch yourself responding with the same pitched voice saying bye bye, not even noticing anymore that its a bit of a funny greeting..

Rwandan children only seem to have english lessons in the morning because at ANY given time you encounter them, they will say Good Morning- afternoons and evenings are nonexistent to them.. – again  you tend to accept the ever-morning nature of the place.. 

In Tanzania most children either scream or get a bit scared. This might sound a bit mean- but pretty amusing on long unexcizing roads; when they don’t see you and you come from behind- when they see us, their initial reaction is to jump far away, which is quite funny to watch! Only after we have passed they are brave enough to go for once a again :Muzunguuu!!!  

Also, quite regularly we are dressed with Hallo Mister.  We are indecisive if this is due to the limited knowledge of English or our not so lady-like outfits:-)

Nevertheless, the by far funniest reaction to us comes from children in Malawi; whenever they spot us they make super weird noises and howareyous in a high pitched very strangely accented voice. It sounds to me like they are trying for an american accent, but we didn’t get to the core of this yet.. We are guessing its from a tv show or something like that- well whatever they are trying, it makes me laugh a lot! 

The children are always there, everywhere we pass. They are there on the side of the roads; on their way to school, to play the wheel game, to carry water, to look after cattle, to just have a look, to sell vegetables, to carrying their siblings and so on. Even though a lot of times they are so freaking enjoying, I guess they are to a large extend what we apprechiate about Africa; it’s liveliness.

Leaving Lake Tanganyika – not on bikes

“Kigoma is perfect, it just has two problems- getting there and getting away”
We cycled about a week to Kigoma to take the Mc Liemba, a German 1st world war ship which goes all the way to the southern tip of the lake, to the border with Zambia. The ship was carried on people’s heads at the beginning of the 20th century from the coast all the way to Lake Tanganyika – 1200 km! Today it’s supposed to sail every other week with some tourists and freight, which sounded like a perfect plan for us to take a rest from cycling. Through some phone calls a few days before we had made sure the ship is , but first thing we are told when arriving in Kigoma; the ship was cancelled for this week. Our optimism makes us think we can go the following week, but it soon turns out; the captain is waiting for harvest to finish, which can take until the following month! I am trying hard to proof stereotypes of Africa wrong, but I guess this is something that would be difficult to find elsewhere..
We are not the only ones whose plans are disturbed by this captain indecisiveness. A German 91-year old man from Berlin, Harald and his Zimbabwean/German wife, Loveness, also came all the way to Kigoma to take the ship – a life dream of his basically. And it’s already his 2nd time he is trying to get the Mc Liemba – last time it was cancelled the night before as well. Too be honest his wife was incredibly relieved not having to sit on an old ship for 5 days – no one dared to tell her, that she will probably have to come back again after all… She surely wasn’t amused about Harald’s alternative ideas; taking the 48-hour-train to Dar Es Salam – to at least to do something adventures.. Good stuff with 91..
Kigoma is a bit like World’s End; as our Norwegian host Ottava, who has lived there for 20 years is putting it: “Kigoma is perfect, it just has two problems- getting there and getting away”. To the west of Kigoma, on the opposite side of the Lake is Kongo, which we can’t get Visas for (and def not hardcore enough^^), North is Burundi – also can’t get Visas and the wrong direction, South is a shit road, incredible heat and no villages for about 4 days of cycling – not a cool option, well and going to the East there is the road we came on, or the train to Dar Es Salam. Well, we made our decision rather quickly- the train 500 km and 24h it is.
This central train line was majorly built by the Germans colonizers (then called Mittellandbahn), when Tanzania was part of German East Africa and finished just before 2nd WW in 1914 – most likely to bring extracted resources to the ports for shipment. The train stations we saw in Kigoma, Tabora and Itigi are still the same building from then .It’s weird; I’ve been to Latin America, where you can see the influence of former Spanish and Portuguese colonization in most towns by the chequered pattern of the streets. I’ve lived in Uganda, where you can see the influence of the British protectorate every day by the children’s school uniforms and left-side driving and of course the language. But German influence in other parts of the world? That’s somehow very weird.


The bikes are easily dropped off after being weighed with an ancient but still properly functioning weighing scale – 7000 Tsh (3 EUR) per bike plus some Shillings for someone to “carry our bikes” to the wagon – could of course be done by us, but we get the advice that we better pay – otherwise, “the bikes might be there later, or they might not be” 🙂 but at least without prior internet registration and you-cannot-put-a-bike-on-THIS type-of-train, as the German Bahn company loves to do it. And let’s face it; it usually is the one where you can’t take the bike on!

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First the train is supposed leave at 4, but already in the morning we find out it leaves at 8, which is easy to find out –without digital-real-time-online-updates as there is a chalk notice board and also when you ask people they know where the train currently is – in real time, because they are simply calling someone on the train.
We go for 2nd class, 6 beds in a compartment and woman only– doesn’t sound too bad. And it isn’t; we get clean and nicely folded bed sheets, the train leaves at 8 o’clock sharp (2 o’clock Swahili time – Swahili time starts at 6 o’clock our time…) and there is even a restaurant wagon. So the basics are the same as in any other European train. The differences? Well; 1) the toilets –straight onto the rail, 2) 3rd class is without windows 3) smoothness and speed of movement – I can only lay on my back, lying on the side would make me fall out of bed due to the shaking, even though the speed feels only like 20km/h – and it must be, because for a distance of 600 km- just like from Berlin to Munich- we take 24h – partly due to scheduled two hour breaks at main stations.

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ETrain ride from Kigoma to Itigi (red cross)

Right after waking up we are stopping for two hours in Tabora – it’s amazing timing, there is fresh chai amaziwa (Milk tea), Chapati and eggs – what else do you need? 🙂 Also the rest of the day passes by quite fast; some people come by to chat and on the entire way we can watch the vendors that are waiting for the train, which passes by every three days – even if it only stops for a few seconds, they are able to sell groundnuts, tomatoes, pumpkin etc., but also alive chicken and beautiful wooden crafts such as combs, stools and cooking spoons. We go for the practical, but super amazing fresh honey!
And then we arrive in Itigi, the start of the middle of nowhere:)

Advice for future cyclists -Rwanda (Kigali to Rusumo) 

As we are always using other peoples blogs to plan our route (some are more helpful than others), I decided to write down some hopefully helpful experiences from our trip: 

  1. Kigali to Rusumo (Tansanian Boarder):

We decided not to do this strech on the main route, but on smaller roads, leaving Kigali to the South via Nyamata. The main road via Kayonza might be faster and is fully nicely tarmaced but there are supposed to be loads of giant trucks, as this is the main route from Rwanda to Tansania. Taking the route south of Kigali you also pass by two of the main genocide memorial churches, which are quite interesting to look at. For swimming, only the first lakes coming from Kigali are suitable, Lake Sake, which we chose for swimming is quite dirty. The road passing through the lakes strech is really nice and scenic and even has some flat streches- id definately recommend it! 

Road conditions: 

The road is tarmac until Ramiro, from where you turn left onto mostly very good dirtroads (we didn’t have any rain, so this might change depending on the weather). From Kibungo there is good tarmac again, but some bigger trucks-but theres always enough space to hide from them. Best downhill stretch ever right after Kibungo! 

Accomodation:

-Campinng; is only a chilled option in guesthouse grounds, but then, at least in rural areas, the prices for guesthouses are so low, that its not really worth camping. Camping is a problem, because security measure are so strict, that the local leader always needs to be informed about your peesence, meet you and agree to your stay.. They provided police protection for us, not because its so dangerous, but just because they really don’t want anything to happen in their area-> especially sensible during genocide memorial time (april to July) 

-Nyamata, place with major genocide memorial church(can be reached in a couple of hours from Kigali)

-Sake; Right before Sake coming from the west, behind Rukumo church, christian Guesthouse for 5000 (negotiable if for one or two people). 

-kibungo- we decided to go past Kibungo, which was a mistake. It was to far to make it to Nyakarambe (Kirehe in some maps), so we had to find accomodation with a family. For hotels either stay in Kibungo or have a lot of energy (many big hills!) and time to make it to Nyakarambe. 

-Nyakarambe, nice guesthouse with lots of space- theres a sign right at the entrance of Nyakarambe. The other lodges are the same price, but a lot less space

Others: 

-Amazing cheese for 3500rwf in Gisenyi and Kigali, worth stocking up on..

-Genocide memorial week start on April 7th every year, strange time to cYcle through at this time due to ongoing processions and shops being closed

Excuse me, which way is Tansania? Kigali to the Tansanian boarder

After getting our bikes checked, buying extremely annoying but funny sounding honks, and entertaining the city valley hotel staff in Kigali for some time with our bikes, thousand of bags and extravagant meals (ordering tea and then topping up with our personal passion fruit, mango,and amazing Rwandan cheese etc.), we are finally ready to hit the road towards Tanzania.

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The crew

Our group consists of 4 ladies for now;

Helen, who I met doing my first kayak lessons in Uganda. She’s lived in Kampala for about 10 month and is one of the few muzungos that can somehow speak Luganda (language spoken in central Uganda). She’s been planning this trip for some time- and was ready to do it by herself, but i think its ok we’re joining:)

Aja, is Helens old friend and is coming all the way from Czech to join this trip for 2 weeks. It’s her first time out of Europe, so going to Kongo and then cycling in Rwanda is a decent start to her traveling life!

Marie, I am actually still not sure what she does, but somehow she is in Kampala as well and has decided a couple of days before leaving she would join. How the heck she did it, I can’t tell- but over the weekend she managed to get a bike, bike cloth, camping stuff panniers (in Uganda!!- Owino Market in Kampala is the answer to that).

And me:)

So Rwanda is called the country of the thousand hills- how on earth did we think it was a good idea to start here?! Leaving Kigali is pretty painful due to the hills to all sides..

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Lonely planets comment on cycling in Kigali, which we – like many other things- onl read after leaving Rwa

We decide not to take the main road to the Tanzanian, but to take smaller roads leaving Kigali to the South. At around 4 o’clock we pass by one of the memorial churches of the genocide by Nyamata (1994, mass murders on Tutsi who have been trying to hide in churches from their successors). Its crazy; 23 years later it somehow looks as if this happened maybe three years ago. The belongings of the people are just put in a shed, not sorted, just pilled up. And the most absurd, the mass graves have just been reopened and all the bones are taken out to dry and clean them; any chance of genocide denial in the future is to be eradicated by this practice. The setting is grotesque; a church full of bones, sorted by skulls and other bones, pilled on top of each other – people are so cruel. Rwanda seems to be dealing really well with the history of the genocide, there are memorial sites everywhere in the country and being Hutu or Tutsi doesn’t seem to exist in Rwanda anymore- everyone is Rwandan and nothing else. I wonder if its really that simple.. but then again no one in Germany would ever ask again if someone is German OR Jewish (not sure if you can really compare these two though..)

Leaving the memorial church its almost dark and easy going; we decide to just ask some woman if we can just pitch our tents in their backyard – our theory: its safe, they are nice, its all good. The woman are really nice and it all seems to be great; we have a nice dinner with a great view and go to tents, ready to sleep.. Then suddenly the husband gets home and even though he is super friendly, a university professor from Kigali, he insists on us meeting the local chief tonight. What we didn’t know: if foreigners are staying anywhere else than guesthouses in Rwanda, the local chief needs know and allow our stay and meet you personally. In our heads all getting ready to pack our tents again. When he gets there, surprisingly he only wants to see our passports and what the heck we are doing here, and tells us that  security for us will be provided.. We are super relieved, finding another spot to sleep at night after cycling all day- not so nice..

The next morning when we stick our head outside our tents it becomes clear what that meant by providing security- a police officer was placed outside to guard us overnight, another two show up while we pack up. Obviously, we already noticed that it doesn’t seem to be easy going in Rwanda to camp wild, but it became clear how no-go this was, when some local leader woman arrives as well and gives us a talk on how if something happens to us, they will be held responsible and especially at this time of the year (Genocide Memorial Phase in April was about to begin) it would be super irresponsible of us- so that was the ending of camping in Rwanda..

We continue our trip; more children, more beautiful but painful hills, some lakes, some Radler, more staring and screaming children -Rwanda is one of the most densely populated places in earth, so there is literally never a moment without people around, no matter how rural it is. Its even difficult to find a spot for a short-call (toilet break:))

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Anytime we stop: loads of kids in Rwanda
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50 km south of Kigali we take smaller roads and its flat – for some hours

Yes and then two days and maybe 100 km further, we somehow find ourselves in the same situation; its getting dark and no hotel. We’ve been sent from village to village for about an hour and promised by various villagers that there will be accommodation in the next village- finally we give up, since its already dark and we super tired from cycling up hills all day. The options are either taking a truck to the next town or finding accommodation- camping is obviously not an option..We must seem pretty desperate, because somewhere out of nowhere Friend and his brother Benko show up and offer us to stay in their mothers living room – of course we happily accept. They both work and study in Kigali, but are home to visit for the genocide memorial week. During a nice sit together in the evening with the mother, the two sons, who are in their 20s and their 6 year old nice, we enjoy the hospitality of this lovely family. Luckily we always have enough food and some Czech alcohol to share with them. Due to the mother formerly working for the government, we do not need to meet the local chief this time. At around 9 the mother sends everyone to bed; the girls need to rest. A big matrace is being prepared for us and it really reminds me of the all girls sleepover I’ve done when i was about 15 – they have taught me a lesson and therefore I decide to sleep on my own matrace after all:) Unfortunately the nights is not as restful as expected, since the mosquito don’t give us a break – and the sleeping bag is way too hot. I decide for the sweaty night and only leave the top of my face out- good enough for the mosquito- they buzz in my ear all night. When I wake up in the morning i can tell at first sight, that it wasn’t any better for the other three – no one actually slept.

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Aja and Marie are heading back to Kigali

This day we spend in a somehow nice hotel, so we can recover from the night, wash ourselves and our cloths and connect to the world. And then, somehow, its already time for Marie and Aha to head back home to Kampala and Czech. Their bikes are easily put on top of one of the small buses and they are on their way to Kigali.

Helen and I decide to cycle to the Tanzanian boarder that day, which is 25 km from where we are. Its a weird feeling all the sudden only being only two and not being a big group anymore. Its sad and we will miss them, but then again, we are so happy we don’t have to go home yet and we are super excited to get to Tanzania! We are being rewarded;  a steep uphill (which we manage easily due to the crowd of really helpful kids pushing us up the hill), is followed by a super nice very long downhill ride in the afternoon sun through green hills right until the boarder- and we remember why we are here, for exactly these moments:)
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1 1/2 days from Kigali- before the hills start again..
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Hills in southeastern Rwanda

 

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Evenings with a lot of food, well and since its the last night the Czech alcohol needed get finished…

 

Cycling the Congo Nile Trail in Rwanda

I mean the name already sounds like an adventure – despite the fact that there is no connection whatsoever to the Nile or Congo. At the meditation retreat we got to know Cloe, a British world traveler, who is currently living in Zanzibar. We were able to spend a few days with her in Gisenyi, through which we not only found out about one of the most beautiful camping spots, but also heard about the Congo Nile Trail, a hiking trail that runs along the shores of Lake Kivu. Since I didn’t bring my bike all the way from Germany to hike, cycling the Congo Nile Trail seemed to be the start of our cycling trip.

As we were going to meet up with Marie two days later in Kigali, it was quickly decided to leave already on the same day that we got back from the volcano hike in Congo. Cloe did tell me about the steepness of the trail, but of course I thought it can’t be that bad- it soon turned out that it actually was that bad. One hill after another and another and another. Not sure which one was worse, but kids jumping out from every corner did compete with the steep hills. All these kids seemed super cute, and, at first more fun than the elderly German society, but certainly lost their cuteness with every high pitched and long-drawn-scream of MUZUUUUUNGO, GOOD MORNING, HOW ARE YOUUUU and GIVE MONEY. Especially because GIVE MONEY and GOOD MORNING sounds to my unaccustomed ear basically the same – its difficult to stay polite. They start running with you for long distances and I found myself triumphing every time I made it past a child very quietly without it spotting me. In my mind I could only laugh about myself and compared this situation to vipassana meditation and its constant quest for indifference towards the sensations (pain, feeling on the skin), because they come and go, but they will always be there- you can only learn to ignore them. What a practical use of the technique right after the 10 days of vipassana.

To be fair to the children though, especially on the third day, I would have not made it up those steep hills with my fully packed bike without two really helpful children helping me to push up my bike for at least an hour each – without asking for anything in return.

The first base camp – yes that’s what the campgrounds/basic accommodation is called – Cymbiri Base camp was only 17 km away, so I expected to get there easily before darkness by leaving at 2 pm. Unfortunately, the hills do take their time and soon the sun started to get weaker and weaker. On this part you move on big unpaved roads so there are always people around to ask if you could stay with them, but in my mind I really wanted to just camp at a nice spot at the lake – to simply jump into the water after such a sweaty day. Maps.me can tell you quite exactly how much further it is to your destination, but its not very exact on the steepness of the path – therefore its difficult to assess how much further it actually is. Finally, about 10 minutes before darkness the sign of the Basecamp appears and its only downhill for about 5 more minutes. Of course, getting to the lake there is no sign for the accommodation, but everyone who looks at me can tell what I am looking for and point me towards a white gate – made it! And at least there seems to be justice for all the hard work – Cymbiri basecamp is a beautiful camp spot for 5000 RWF (5 EUR) per night, right next to the lake with amazing breakfast and really friendly staff.

The next day the hills continue and the trail becomes smaller, but still there is rarely spots where there are no people around. Its absolutely beautiful – thousands of extremely green hills and the deep blue lake going through tiny mountain villages.

On the second day, in order not to make the same mistake again and since the base camps are in considerable distance from each other, the plan is to stop at a basecamp early. Unfortunately Musasa Basecamp is closed and Bumba, which would be the next base camp is too far away. But the villagers, who don’t speak any English or French in this region – not that I really speak French – point uphill when I keep asking for accommodation. Right before Musasa Town a big group of Muzungus is standing on the road together with a Rwandan man. They are very unhappy with the accommodation he offers and decide to walk to the next base camp where I just came from – I told them how far it is, but at 3.30 they still decide to keep going. I wonder if they made it – surely not before darkness. For me, I am very sure I will not make it to the next one, so I stay. Yes the accommodation is more than basic, but the family is very nice and are trying hard to make it comfortable for me. I am surprised because the man helps me to wash my cloth (I learn later that this seems to be more common than in Uganda that men do the washing) and also at dinner we eat altogether. From my – this is definitely in rural areas only – experiences in Uganda the guest eats by himself or with the man in the living room, while the women eat together in the kitchen. Not so here, the woman that cooks eats together with us in the living room – how nice and normal that feels:)

On the third day it becomes very obvious that this trail is not made for cycling, at least not with loads of luggage as we have it with us. The hills are too steep and for at least 2-3 hours to Bumba I have to push my bike uphill because its too steep. I have a boy walking with me and helping me push for at least an hour – without saying anything he helps push my bike and takes breaks with me. But I can tell he is thinking WHY THE HELL DOES SHE NEED SO MANY BREAKS??? It seems like they would have walked this way anyways and I just make it a bit more interesting.

Happiness only returns when reaching the main road that is currently being prepared to be tarmac, which means that the slopes are less steep and for once it goes downhill for at least 20 minutes. One more going-to-the-wrong direction for 30 minute, 5 screaming kids and one long hill later, I finally reach Rubengera, (5 ½ hours since leaving Musasa) which is where buses go to Kigali, the capital.

The lady working for the bus company says that the buses are too small to take bikes  – waaa. Then a nice guy walks up and offers to help – its clear he will ask for money but I am too exhausted at this moment – and he is really nice. Within 5 minutes he organised the bus ticket, put my bike in the back of a big bus that just pulled up out of nowhere -yes the guy was asking for 2000, but one of the best investments on this trip yet! – and I can sit down and relax. Oh and how I enjoy not having to cycle up these 1000

hills to Kigali!

Hiking Mt Nirangongo in Kongo

I heard about the trip to hike the active volcano Mt. Nirangongo in Congo close to Goma in my first weeks in Kampala- and of course wanted to go. The pictures just looked to unreal to be true. Since we have been right next the Congolese boarder for our meditation retreat anyways there was no question – we had to go. During the meditation we could see Mt. Nirangongo glowing at night – a bright spot during the 10 days of sitting.

The previous week we had organized all the formalities, which included booking of the track itself, transportation from the boarder to the starting point and of course Visas, which are only given out to tourists for visiting the Virunga National Park. The booking is really straight forward – a Belgian man is managing the park – so that could be the reason:)

On March 28th it was time, I actually got really excited -not only to hike an active volcano but going to Congo, the place you hear so many horrifying things about in the news – we are going to risk a glimpse ourselves. Since many of my friends in Kampala had done this trip I was not actually worried, but still – this slight excitement did overcome me – its a similar feeling as going on a roller coaster ride.

The boarder presented no problems – even though we were the only ones checked for yellow fever vaccination, which I found slightly absurd. The transportation worked out perfectly and so 30 minutes after getting to the boarder, which consists of metal sheets here, we were in Goma. Goma is – as expected less organised than Rwanda in terms of trash and traffic- but other than that it still has the east African phone companies Airtel and MTN, commercials for lighter skin and a lot of banks – nothing overly surprising. Moving towards the city limits, there was one thing though that I’ve never seen anywhere before – giant wooden scooters. Mostly used by kids, they are used for transporting people or goods. The user is kneeling on the middle part, while pushing with the other leg. To be honest they look a bit unpractical to me, but what do I know and people probably look at my bike with all its bags and might think the same..

On the 30 minute drive from Goma we are driving on the hardened lava stream that is now transformed to a street and pass by hundreds of these wooden houses, that have a beautiful decoration and do remind me somehow of the alps – which is a weird comparison I know. I can spot one man who is missing a hand, but other than that it all seems very calm and – whatever that means – normal.

At the starting point we register and pack a bag for the porter – I am usually a high defender of carrying my stuff myself, but we had to rent warm sleeping bags and they each weighed 10 kilos – so no way I can get up a hill with that and all my cloths and food. Crazy is that he doesn’t carry the bag in a backpack, but with a cloth around the bag and his forehead- I could not walk 5 steps with that, of that I am very sure.

The hike is extremely well organised – there are 4 rest points evenly spread out for the 5 hour hike. We are accompanied by 3 rangers and – lucky us – a geologists from Goma. After about an hour the lava river starts, which consists of first big extremely sharp stones. None of us fall, but from what the ranger says, one or the other person must have fallen here and hurt themselves. The outbreak of Mt. Nirangongo has only been recorded twice – in 1977 and 2002. After a two hour hike we are at the point where the lava came out in 2002. I am learning that actually at the top of the volcano we would be safer than in Goma – how reassuring:) In 2002 no one died because the population was evacuated on time, but all of the houses were destroyed. I wonder if that’s why the houses are mostly built out of wood now- to make a future eruption less painful?  This volcano exists of a lava lake but there are fractions in the volcano where the lava flows through in case of an eruption. The volcano used to be a Stratovulcano (classic idea of an erupting volcano)- which is the reason for the shape but has been now transformed and now the lava flows out in a stream.

The path is quite steep, and it does start raining and hailing like crazy for some time but finally we make it to the top. And its so worth everything- every Dollar, every step, every previous excitement. Its just so impressive- a giant giant crater, which due to the rainy season (for once an advantage) can be seen extremely clearly. And in the middle the crater lake – already impressive to look at when we get there at around 4pm, but even more astonishing when it gets dark. You see explosions, the lava changes shape continuously and smoke. Not that I’ve been there, but the only comparison I have is like looking right into hell.  In the background you can see two other volcanoes, which are even 1000 m higher.

I can only say, being up there on Mt. Nirangongo was one, if not the, most impressive things I’ve ever seen in my life. The best description I can give is: shit, these places actually exist!

 

 

 

Welcome back to Uganda

Immigration at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Just like all other good white tourists I have my yellow fever vaccination proof, as well as a copy of my online visa application, that is supposed to speed up the immigration process. Upon entering the airport we are split up into East African citizens, tourists with online visa applications and tourists without online visa applications. Congratulating myself for going through the online application process before the flight, I queue up in the (white)-tourist-with-online-visa-line.

Over half an hour later, all people in the other queues have long left the airport while we are still waiting. A situation that drives every European heart absolutely crazy. The 4 desks dealing with other non-online-visa-customers are empty.  Finally, a blond 20 year old girl decides to  move over to the these desks; she is sent back to our queue immediately. Two minutes later the same official who just send back the girl, is asking people to come to his desk. The blond girl is obviously stressed out.

Finally its my turn. The official helping me can’t find my application, something must have gone wrong.  So I also have to move over to the other desk. Well I could have done that a lot earlier, but somehow things always work out. One hour later I can finally leave the airport- but then the warm evening air definitely makes up for wait- welcome back to Uganda.

 

Getting ready in Berlin

First step: Transporting my bike to Uganda

Shipping a bike to Uganda? Not the easiest task- thanks to my really helpful dad, I managed to get the bike packed up safely and transported to the airport. This is still at home in Berlin where we are preparing the bike box- ready to go:)

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