She’s dazzling in her beauty. As she basks in the tantalizing Africa morning sun, I can’t help but notice the reflection of the inviting lumps around her. The sun soothes her in the day but also takes up her water, but the night often creeps in and wets her with a gift of the very water in form of rain. In her calmness, she’s silent of her unrivaled depth. She attracts many, and on this day Nicki and I were trapped in her web of charm. No rush, we were taking it nice and easy. Like many she has cast her spell on before, we had to leave after our morning session with her. She will however be forever etched in my mind with indelible ink. I also left with a promise to return and enjoy more of her. Oh beautiful Lake Bunyonyi!
On this day we needed to cover approximately 141km of good road to make it to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. We therefore took our sweet time and enjoyed the morning at Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort with a plan to head out at 1100hrs. Some of the adventurers opted to take boat rides, while others strolled around the resort and the rest just whiled the morning away somewhere close to the ‘watering hole’ – the bar 🙂
I had been hopeful of doing a jet ski ride here, but the management had a disappointment in store for me; the machines were out of order. What a bummer!
The group was quite excited about the trip. It somehow gave me a feeling that, to many Kigali was the highlight of the safari. I bet because that’s where we would usher in the New Year. Soon we all gathered around the Beast and off we took the road towards Kigali.
On our way out of Bunyonyi the Beast came to a halt and one of the adventurers shouted from the back, ‘Mash! Hapa ndio mwisho ya pesa yako!’ (Mash, the money you paid can only get you here!) That was his funny way of saying that Mukhtar our trip Captain was calling me outside the truck. So I climbed down and he requested that I take a photo that will include Beast and the biking adventurer (Ali) in one shot. I was elated at this request as it connoted that he was appreciating my photography work 🙂 I took position, Nicki in hand and I could almost feel her smile as I clicked away at the moving motorbike and the growling beast in the background. Little did we know that those would be the last shots Nicki took for the trip. Happy with my work, I climbed back into the truck. When I got to the top of the side ladder, Nicki suddenly flung off from my shoulder as I swung to jump into the truck. I stretched out my left hand and let out a yelp in a desperate effort to save her, whilst my right hand held firmly onto the ladder. I missed and down I watched her go. Everything in my world went silent as she cut through the air on a flight to the ground, it all happened so fast yet it seemed to be in slow motion to my eyes. Blaaam! Nicki hit the ground and I saw her body parts fly away from the impact. I climbed down the truck and into a bush to retrieve the broken parts with the help of our trip Captain. We found them. Nicki suffered a severe crack right across the front of her body. This was devastating for me, as we were just getting to know each other, and so far it had been so good. I sunk into a corner seat and silent mourned Nicki. I however quickly consoled myself that my insurance would take care of her, and also that Nicki wanted me to have fun on this trip. This consolation and a few encouraging words from some adventurers got me back into action, only that this time I used my Samsung cell phone to take the photos. She turned out well too, and for this purpose I christened her Sally!
We went through rural Uganda on our way to the country’s border with Rwanda. Of note is the fertility of this land and the work ethic of it’s industrious people. We saw busy rural towns with evidence of thriving business, construction of buildings and roads, as well as cultivated lands which I can foresee providing lasting food security for the Ugandan people.
Before long, we arrived at Gatuna. The border town in Northern Rwanda. We thought that this would be a quick stop where our passports would be stamped and we head on our way. However, this changed when the Rwandan immigration officials decided they needed to check every single bag and the truck for any plastic bags. Plastic bags are not allowed into Rwanda. I lauded them for this noble step in consciously safeguarding their environment from pollution, but I also think it would be advisable for them to communicate this to travelers well in advance to avoid delays at the border.
Two hours painfully spent at the Rwanda border, we proceeded into the country towards Kigali the capital city. Rwanda surely is the country of a thousand hills. There seemed to be a hill jutting out of the ground everywhere one turned. The green vegetation on the hills went on to make the complex of hills quite a breathtaking sight!
The Beast gently came to a stop at a beautiful spot, carefully selected by the Bunduz.com crew as the place we’d have our picnic lunch. The elegant Beast rested as the adventurers stepped out of it’s belly. This was a rare sight in this remote village of Rwanda and shortly we drew a group of curious youngsters who arrived on bicycles. The boys cycled and some had lady pillion passengers who were plastered in roughly applied make-up, adorned in shiny earrings, dressed in slightly mismatched clothes and clutching to their threadbare handbags. They were dressed to impress, beautiful in their village innocence. We mingled with them, shared our lunch and soon some adventurers came up with ideas of keeping busy with the village bicycles!
As the Bunduz.com crew prepared the lunch, I took time to really acquaint myself with Sally. I had neglected her since Nicki came into my life 🙂
We continued on the road towards Kigali. The adventurers were in high spirits and they downed the lunch time meal with an assortment of drinks as the ‘DJ’ played music as chosen by the ‘revelers’. It was a party allover again! As we entered Kigali, the adventurers couldn’t contain their excitement and they broke into song and dance. We made a grand entrance drawing more attention to ourselves than we needed to. As the pedestrians turned to look at Beast in awe, I could almost hear his growl bellow full of gloat now that he had ferried some jolly fellows from a far land. Rwanda, most of us loved you before we even met you! From the tales of angelic beauties gracing this land, to gigantic beer bottles served in their bars and exquisitely clean streets, we were here to take it all in. Rwanda, show us what you got!
We were soon settled in Hotel Beausejour which is friendly and very welcoming. We settled in and already started loving the Kigali hospitality.
While in Kigali, I contacted and met up with some friends from Kenya. Accompanied by a few of the adventurers, we sampled the beer, partied and danced the night away!
Event: The Ultimate Road Trip
Period: #Day 3 (30th Dec 2014)
Distance: Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda) – Kigali (Rwanda) Approx. 141km
Documentary (photos & writing) by: Macharia Njuguna (https://adventurewithmash.wordpress.com/)