Saturday, 23 April 2011

High on a hill was a lonely goatherd Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo

Back to tales from Uganda! Around Fort Portal we saw some lovely scenery, but by far my favourite thing we saw were the black and white colobus monkeys. These furry critters looked like fluffy back and white cushions wedged high up in the trees and watching them hop from one tree to the next kept me occupied for ages. I just wanted to touch them, but if there is one thing I learnt from my psychologist research assistant job at uni it was that moneys go beserk if you try to touch them...

Our next stop was Kilembe, a small ex-mining town in the beautiful Rwenzori mountains. It was once more popular to trek in the Rwenzoris than it was to climb up mount Kilimanjaro in neighbouring Tanzania. However, in the 80s Idi Amin pretty much destroyed Uganda’s tourist trail and it has been trying to recover ever since.  Stunning beautiful yet crushingly poor, Kilembe is a place of extremes and here I saw probably the worst poverty I’ve seen so far in Africa. Since the copper mine stopped being operational in the 1990’s, the community looks like it has really suffered. The old ex-miner’s cottages are charming but in a state of incredible disrepair. There are a lot of young children here and a massive clinic for people living with HIV/AIDs.

We stayed in the most beautiful little place called Rwenzori backpackers which was surrounded on all 4 sides by mountains. Me and Kathy were on our own for the first night, and the place was full on our last night as lots of other vso’s decided to join us for some fresh mountain air, simple home cooked food and stunning views.

On our first day there we walked the 10k to the nearest big town, Kassese. The views were beautiful and we enjoyed seeing people going about their daily lives at the side of the road. When we arrived in Kassese there was a destitute teenage boy eating from the rubbish dump and big clouds of dust from a nearby cement factory.  It gave me some perspective on Rwanda and made me realise how amazingly clean and unpolluted it is. In fact I think Kigali is probably cleaner than most cities in Europe, long may it stay that way.

We were only meant to stay for two days but the loveliness of waking up, opening the door and being able to see right out to mist covered peaks meant we stayed for four. The Rwenzoris are like the Switerland of Africa. Lots of jagged green and purple peaks and fluffy clouds, just lovely.    

My monkey friend

Rwenzori Backpackers

Stunning views

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