Sigourney Weaving It In Kisoro, 8/23 – 8/30
Maybe it was a little cabin fever or maybe we were just getting excited to see the gorillas, but we were ready to leave Lake Bunyonyi with our friends Steve and Annie.
Since we were four and not feeling up to the challenge of figuring out a minibus, we splurged to get a private hire taxi from Kabale to Kisoro. Stocked up with loads of chips, chocolate and sodas, we hit the road for the “easy” two hour drive (aka we all had our own seat for once) with Jackson. Action Jackson as Steve kept calling him.
Jackson drove FAST up the curvy mountain road (even scarier when we saw how bald his tires were!), continually referring to himself in the third person. He sped past the police and exclaimed, “The police shall not stop Jackson!” Just as we were about to ask him to pull over at the top of a pretty steep mountain to take a picture of the lake, the car stops on its own. The overwhelming smell of gas fills the car…and not surprisingly so considering the fuel line was punctured and it was leaking out all over the road. Ingeniously, a bunch of kids ran to throw branches in the road to alert other drivers. Not their first rodeo.
Jackson tried to “fix” it by tying a scrap of a plastic bag around the leak. I gave him some duct tape to try, and the kids brought him some bike tube rubber, but nothing worked. I told him we felt bad for his trouble and he said, “The devil does not want Jackson to be rich!” We all had a good laugh and we jumped on the next bus coming through.
We hit to top of the pass and were surprised by gorgeous views of Virunga volcanos. We could tell that the DR Congo was close as we passed a UN refugee camp. We pulled into Kisoro with a master plan to leverage the four of us needing to stay at least three days to get a good price on a couple of rooms. Annie and Elizabeth took to the challenge, jumping from hotel to hotel as Steve and I had a beer at the the Countryside Guesthouse, which would not budge on the price much. The girls came back with the good news that we had a cheap room in a mid-level hotel. That night we learned why we got a deal as sparks literally flew from the sockets and fried our iPad plug (the iPad itself is fine.)
We packed up and returned to Countryside, which turned out to be our favorite stay in all of Africa due to the ladies who worked there. They were the most fun, gracious, and sweet hostesses we have had! They greeted us with dancing and jumping up and down EVERY time they saw us. We felt like celebrities! They walked down the street to escort us home from a nearby bar late night, and they had music videos blasting in the lobby for our own dance party awaiting us! When we were dreading having to move our stuff to a better room (aka not 2 tiny beds!) after a VERY long day, we were amazed to find they had moved every single thing for us (none of which was packed or organized) and set it up EXACTLY how it had been in the original room. They practiced their English by telling me I was handsome and Elizabeth was beautiful. The list goes on, so we were sad to leave them when the time came.
We arranged our ride to Bwindi to see the gorillas and the next day at 6 am, we were off. It’s hard to describe the feeling being around animals as majestic as the gorillas. It’s easy to describe the frenzy of photos being taken by clueless tourists, who clearly could care less if you get a change to get a photo without their head in the shot. We really lucked out again, as the gorillas decided to move into a large clearing where everyone got a change to see them and get the photos that made the $500 permit worth it. Needless to say, this was an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We were VERY sad to say goodbye to Annie and Steve after spending the last week with them, as they were off to Rwanda. We had made plans to hike a volcano called Sabyinyo, located in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
We could not have asked for better weather on the eight hour hike through a bamboo forest and high altitude vegetation. Blue skies and not a cloud in sight. After climbing ladders (no joke) to get to the third peak, we were rewarded with stunning views of Mt. Muhavera and Mt. Gahinga. We also got to add two more countries to our list (OK, kind of), because at the top we were now standing in Uganda, DR Congo and Rwanda simultaneously.
Good friends, great weather, decent food, a wonderful place to stay, gorillas, stunning volcanoes and scenery, and an amazing experience we had on a walk when we had literally 50+ kids following us down a dirt road made Kisoro one of our favorite places we have been in Uganda. We were sad to leave, but we were excited to get to Jinja to meet some other friends and go white water rafting!
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