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Shazza's Escapades Light hearted look at my travel escapades

Rwanda July 2014

RWANDA | Wednesday, 23 July 2014 | Views [134]

I have only been to Ruhengeri for the gorillas about 13 years ago and I was so excited to be going back to Rwanda. I flew into Kigali and we started the tour the following day at 5am. We headed for Akagera National Park and I was not disappointed. The drive alone was wonderful. The park was amazing and filled with wildlife. We saw wildebeest, buffalos, elephants and had picnic with the hippos. We saw a cheetah bring down a deer too. It got hold of its throat and did not let go. I could see the deer still alive and not knowing what to do. Eventually the cheetah put it out of its misery. The cheetah had the deer’s neck in its mouth for a good ten minutes. An amazing sight I will never forget. We were also greeted by baboons when we arrived at our lodge. It was a brilliant day.

Then we headed to Ruhengeri to not see the gorillas but to see some golden monkeys instead. I had already seen the gorillas years ago and I couldn’t afford $750 permit fees to do it again. So I settled for hike into the mountains to see the Golden monkeys. It was quite a hike and the little buggers were way up high in the bamboo trees.

We headed back to our lodge which was exactly the same lodge that Diane Fossey stayed at whenever she came down the mountain. She had her very own rom which obviously was occupied at the time so I couldn’t stay in it but I managed to take photos of it when it was being cleaned.

The next day we had a huge hike to Diane Fossey’s grave. We didn’t realise how hard it was until we got to the end. To be honest if I had known the effort needed to see the grave I may have given it a miss but I would have missed the wonderful surprise that greeted us on the way. Half way through the hike we were greeted by gorillas. It was such a surprise and something I never thought would happen. We saw a young silverback come out of the bushes and eat in front of us. He was barely 5 feet away. It was a wonderful moment and made the hike to Diane Fossey’s grave all the more poignant and worthwhile.

The year I visited was the 20th anniversary of the Genocide. So many people died during this time and we visited quite a lot of places like churches and schools where many people that were hiding there were killed. Bullet holes still remain in some villages. The memorial in Kigali was an eye opener even after all the media coverage to actually see and hear first-hand was quite a harrowing experience. The number of people killed was enormous. After 20 years Rwanda is a beautiful country, the parks teeming with animals, in fact Kenya are to give 8 of their lions to one of Rwanda’s national parks as they feel Rwanda can sustain them. The people and the country are happy again. Maybe we can learn from our mistakes.

 

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