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Published: November 14th 2011
Musanze or Ruhengeri, it is the same town but the name has been changed recently following an administrative reorganization of Rwandan’s 12 former provinces. Both names are still in use and it doesn’t matter which one you’ll use. On one side of town says Musanze and on other side – Ruhengeri. This small town is the second biggest in Rwanda and the base station for tourists who are doing mountain gorillas trekking at Parc National Des Volcans.
Not a great deal to do in the town other than sitting back, beer in hand and admire the views of the National Park that are shadowing the town. It is a feeling of adventure when arriving in the city and seeing the surrounding mountains knowing full well that somewhere up there are the Mountain Gorillas. We were extremely glad that we arrived three days before our hike to really soak up the local atmosphere before the trekking the gorillas. On evening we even watched the movie ‘Gorillas in the mist’ which is sort of a must before going trekking. Even though we have seen it before, watching the movie at the location where Dian Fossey put in all those years trying to
preserve and protect the Gorillas gives you a great perspective for what to expect.
Around Musanze we found out that there are some lakes so that was really our own task before the trek. Into a bus that actually left on time (Rwanda transport is amazing and efficient) and everyone having a seat we headed on our way. Of course we missed the junction that we were supposed to get off the bus and ended up and the border with Uganda again. Uganda is one place that we do not want to go back into so we quickly got back in right direction and ended up walking to the lake.
We ended up at Lake Burera and greeting by not one other tourist which was great. This place is yet to become touristy and for once not needing to pay any entry was something of a surprise for us. Although when we arrived after an hour walk to the lake shore we found that this may be changing pretty soon with bars and alternative accommodation springing up. The place was stunning but it seems that it will not last. With the locals trying to get every dollar from
the tourists and seeing that half the lake opposite has been logged already it will lose the natural appeal, this is happening all though Africa and really is a shame. The panorama at the top is of this lake just before one of the daily storms hit. Well it is the rainy season so expected.
Back in the town all the shopping is to be done at the local market which is both fun and annoying. Fun because of the amazing smells of the tropical ripe fruit and vegetables; annoying because of the hassle of trying to get any of it. We always forget though how cheap things are here even though they try and sell it for double the local price. When dealing in 100’s of Francs it seems like a large amount but really it is small money. 1 US dollar is around 600 Franc and a bunch of 10 bananas is 200 Franc, fresh whole pineapple will set you back 200 frank. Large avocado 100 Franc and small 50 Franc. We are living of fresh fruit and vegetables for our time in this country.
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