Robert Munro
/ Rob Munro


Rwanda in July 2006.

(I've taken some great videos here but I'm going to have to wait for better connections speeds to upload them.)

Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills and most of them look like one of these - covered with australian eucalypts, farms or a combination of the two. Despite big climbs (to a town at 2600m on the first day) the roads have been great - smooth even when not sealed, easy gradients and pretty free of traffic making for the best riding so far.

An island village in the middle of tea fields. We are used to people swarming around us and following us, but in Rwanda it has stepped up a level as they simply don't get any tourists in the remote areas - the boda-boda guys above rode with us for an hour up a hill just because they were fascinated that 2 foreigners were cycling through their neighbourhood.
See a video of us getting mobbed by kids in a small village - this is more or less what happens to us whenever we stop
(NB: haven't yet checked whether the vid has uploaded properly - pls let me know if your quicktime won't run it.)

It was Peter's turn to be sick in Ruhengeri, but just for a day, so I climbed a local mountain with Nora, researcher and Rwandaphile. Just us and exactly 17 excitable kids who had nothing better to do than follow us for the 4 hour trek to the top.

The volcanoes we've cycled besides have towered over the already mountainous terrain but they have been covered with clouds since the first day we saw them and I didn't take a photo that day so you'll have to take my word for it - despite it being the dry season there have been clouds every day and a fair amount of rain.

We joined a trek to see some of the last remaining mountain gorillas. We visited largest and most remote of the groups - the Susa Group, made famous by Gorillas in the Mist. It was several hours hiking up the side of a rainforest-covered volcano - beautiful in itself - and we reached a less dense and flatter area we heard noises up ahead...

The first one we saw was a giant silverback - it's arm alone would have weighed more than me and it passed us by just 2 metres.

I'm not sure how many we saw in total in the hour we were allowed with them - at least 30 - it really was the most amazing time and easily the highlight of the trip. I could go on about how incredible it was for ages but I'll just let the photos and the videos be a poor substitute - if you ever get the chance go visit them!

Gisenyi is called the Mediterranean of Rwanda, but the town looks pretty much like any other one here - muddy and with an oversupply of mobile public phone guys wandering around. Also unlike the parts of the Mediterranean I've visted, there are volcanic gases bubbling up through the water that have been known to asphyxiate swimmers. Otherwise a nice spot.

An audience while i replace a broken spoke.

Dry season? Ura Saze. It was 8 days before we saw the sun in Rwanda and it's been pretty cold. It's funny how I'm happy to spend lots of money to walk through stinging nettles to see gorillas but when I wake up to find a mouse snuggling next to me for free I kind of freak out. Anyway, the rain is making for some beautiful views in the mountains and it's always interesting to ride through mists; not knowing what we'll see until we're almost upon it.

From Rwanda we headed to Burundi.