Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rwanda, Kigali

Or just,  “Le Pays des Mille Collines - Land of a Thousand Hills”.

Rwanda is a mountainous and green country in the middle of Africa , smaller than Estonia, the area is 26. 338 km2. But according to wikipedia the population is 11,4 million and so this makes Rwanda the most derisely populated country (419 inhabitants per square kilometre) in Africa.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Uganda, Summary

Kabale, southwestern Uganda, a small town before the border of Rwanda . Driving around Uganda has ended. Particulary green country , it means that as the ground is vertile and the amount of the rain could be in some places 2 metres a year, then everything grows well. The trees are probably four times higher than in Estonia and some leaves are the size of A4. The grass is not greener, it is as green as in Estonia, mentioning it just in case.

The issue of internet here is as usual. This „usual„ means that as there is no electricity in town since morning, then there is no internet either in most of the places.

While driving have taken a few photos of banana – transportation - first bananas on a bike.


A bit later it turned out , that this stick was used while making a stop. So that the bike will not turn over.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Uganda, Fort Portal

Still in Uganda. On the whole the circumstances here are such as whenever you plan yourself a kind of administration , then at least half of the day is filled with it. And so for several days. The application of Rwanda visa was a good example. The country is so far advanced , that the visa application can be submitted over the internet. You fill the required application, , add annexes to the documents - either invitation or hotel reservation and in a few days you should receive the response. It was said that it was not possible to get a visa at the the border standing in a queue. ( It is generally, real life shows that without any preliminary application it has been received at the border as well.).

But since the Rwandian Embassy was situated next to the Uganda Museum, then it seemed better to get the visa from the Embassy. Besides - there was nobody to give me an invitation and not the slightest idea to make a hotel reservation. And if you go to the Embassy and ask properly , then it happens, that you do get it. The proper asking means that you don`t ask for a visa but you ask how soon you will get the visa and if it is possible to have it the same day. Internet and Lonely Planet gave different information about the time of receiving visas. But it was not a great surprise , the main thing was that the address of the Embassy was the same on both - Kampala paper map and GPS maps.

The first day was the following - I thought that I would reach the place in two – three hours and ignored the basic rules of movement - use only the main streets. And so I spent two hours in such a traffic jam that the visit to the Embassy was over for that day. Completely my own fault – do not trust blindly the GPS route, as this time it went through the local taxi park in the centre of Kampala. Kampala taxi or Matatu is not a car but a Toyota mini-bus. Those who have been to Kampala know about the speed one can move between the other cars. The next day I reached the Embassy in time, the questionnaire was relatively normal and probably one photo was needed. You fill it out, hand it over and ask if perhaps you could get it by the evening already. In respone a paper on the wall is pointed out. It says that applications for visa will be reviewed within 72 hours. So back on the second day.

The Uganda Museum was a few hundred metres away.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Uganda, Jinja

217-th day of the journey


This size of birds were on the table in the morning.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Adventures in D.R.Congo, Part.2

The previous part ended with the situation that in the morning we were sent away from the gold mine parking place in a hurry. At night we were promised to spend the next day there and have a rest, as the same security team was said to be for 48 hours at work. We could even use the tap to rinse off some mud.

Before sleep we had a longer talk with the guards and in the end they figured that I could give them my patchy trousers, but the answer was a kind smile and words no-no-no. This thing is out of the question.
And in the morning at 6 o`clock there was knocking on the bus and we were said that the boss had arrived and does not want to see any strange car inside the yard.

We left towards Uganda, in the direction of the town Aru, because other roads were said to be not drivable. When you get within 10 kilometres two times stuck so properly that you need out-pulling then - there is no desire whatever to drive along for a couple of hundred kilometres along a road that resembles to a low , extremely poor river.

We drive on and in front there is again a kind of a barrier. Another road tax collection place wanted to get 50$, but in the long run we agreed to 8 $ and it was paid in Congo money. For some reason they didn`t want to accept it. Dollars were wished. As it turned out later - in this region it is Uganda`s money that is widely used , because most of the goods are from nearby Uganda. And cell phone network and internet are from Uganda. It reminded very much the period when the Finnish television, that reached Tallinn over the bay, was watched .

Prior the town of Aru another road to south towards Bunia was supposed to be, at least a yellow line on Michelin map showed this. Could not succeed driving very far, because the road – nice and decent in the beginning in succession turned more Congo – like and at last we were stuck in the mud again. And no wish to drive in the knee-deep water. But still, beside the road was so soft that one side of the car sank in.

The locals had a lot of fun again seeing white people stuck in the mud, more and more people gathered, and it was made very clear that now money should be paid. But this time we could get off quicker, because lifting the car with Hi-Lift jack ( by which it is possible to lift almost a meter high) , took less time this time. The locals` laugh turned quieter and quieter until they realized that we could get out ourselves. And we did got out and drove a bit on , and then still – some money was asked! Could not make out why, perhaps because it is their mud pool and and is in the in the land of their village.

And gradually the road turned more holey and watery and in a few kilometres the pools were already this kind that I decided to turn back.

Waiting ahead was about 200 km Congo roads of unknown condition. But the determining factor was that I had not seen any car on the road, only a few days old truck tracks from time to time. Had there been any kind of traffic the situation could have been different. I said that now we turn back, take some time off and figure out how to drive on.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Adventures in D.R.Congo, Part.1

This long story has been written in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the town of Aru, near the Ugandan border. I am trying to write down the adventures and occurances before forgetting something important. Internet here is worse than in any other visited countries. Even in Ethiopia – there was something - but here is possible to use Uganda mobile communications as my present location now is near the border of Uganda. Some internet cafes in the town of Aru also use Uganda mobile network to offer internet service. I think now, that is 6 days after having arrived at Congo , that alone I probably could not have got here. Too much bureaucracy and DRC is French speaking country and as to me – I don`t speak French.

The idea to go to Congo has been in my mind for a long time already, but to make up a more precise route needed solid information and that was relatively difficult to find. And the internet in South-Sudan is not among the fastest ones. And Congo is not this kind of a country that just you go there and look around – to find, what`s interesting here. And it is said that traditsional tourism as that does not exist in Congo.

One reason for visiting Congo was Boyoma Falls. Almost in the centre of Congo the town of Kisangani is situated near which is Boyoma Falls ( named Stenley Falls before) and it is one of the water-rich falls in the world. Altogether the three water-rich wateralls in the world are on the River Congo. The bigger ones – Inga Falls and Livingstone Falls are on the west coast, near the mouth of the river.

To explain a bit – a map of Africa. The journey is figured by hand. The more precise route is in the blog on a separate page LOCATION.