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Published: November 7th 2007
After reluctantly leaving Zanzibar we embarked on a long journey from Dar es Salaam through Tanzania to Rwanda. Any normal and/or sensible person would have flown this journey - not us! We tortured ourselves for at least a week getting to Kigali by African public transport. At least we had Rob and Emma for company (thanks guys) to increase the Mzungu numbers. A word of advice to anyone thinking of getting a train in Tanzania - don't! We took the train from Dodoma to Mwanza on southern Lake Victoria which took 40 hours instead of 24. We knew we were off to a bad start when the train went for about 5 kms then just stopped for 8 hours! The conductor told us to secure the window at night with a piece of wood because of the robbers on the roof. The carriages were old ones from British Rail (circa 1960's) so you can imagine the comfort factor. At least the beer was cold on the first night.
Mwanza made for a pleasant enough stop although tears were almost shed after the rugby quarter finals. The next day we set off at 5am on another dodgy bus to the Tanzanian border,
and then on to Kigali, the Rwandan capital.
Whilst waiting for our appointed day with the gorillas, we saw some of Rwanda. The genocide memorial centre in Kigali is a harrowing experience but worth it to gain some insight into the history of the country and the devastation the genocide caused. We also visited Lake Kivu which was pleasant although a bit dead from a touristy point of view. It is also uncomfortably close to the Congolese border.
Our main reason for visiting Rwanda was to see the gorillas in Parc Nacional Des Volcans and despite the expense and the travel to get there, it was really worth it. We trekked for around an hour up the rainforest-clad mountain before reaching the group we were assigned to and we were allowed to spend an hour watching the gorillas before descending again.
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