Africa Day Six: Birds, Travel, Horrors And A Short Stay In Johannesburg .
I woke up early again the day after our memorable encounter with the mountain gorilla, and again found the air cool but the skies mostly clear. We were lucky on our visit, since these mountains get a lot of rain this time of year.
A few of our group had arranged for an early birding hike with some local naturalists but I first took a quick walk around the grounds of the lodge and took some photographs of the grounds, the lodge, the gift shop. Here is a link to some photographs of the lodge and grounds. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/africa-october-2016/nggallery/africa-october-2016/Rwanda-Mountain-Gorilla-Lodge-October-14-2016
Out small group met our two local guides and we hiked around the perimeter of out lodge in search of local bird species. . We did not have to hike far to find a number of exotic and beautifully colored species.
And we also found more common looking ones such as this plain, but still strikingly beautiful. . Our birding members collaborated with the local guides in identifying them and, while I actually have a list of the birds, provide by an expert birder I still can’t identify them, and haven’t the time now to look them up. Sorry Sharon.
We encountered a few farm animals and two young boys tending to them on our hike and we were also treated to spectacular views of the extinct volcanoes while we walked under the hot equatorial sun in the cool mountain air.
We encountered a number of species of birds, much to the satisfaction of the birders in the group, as we made our way back to the lodge. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds we saw on our morning hike. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/africa-october-2016/nggallery/africa-october-2016/Rwanda-Mountain-Gorilla-lodge-bird-walk-October-14-2016
Unfortunately it was now time to pack, as we were leaving soon for the next leg of our tour, and I reflected on the two delightful nights I spent in this cabin, in the cool mountain, warmed only by a fire.
We left the lodge and began our long journey back to Kigali retracing our route here from only two days earlier, but which seemed so much longer. once again we drove through the cultivated mountains past locals walking along the busy highway.
I always enjoy taking in the passing scenery during my travels, looking at the local trees, flowers and shrubs, trying to see any local wildlife and looking at the homes and business of the local residents.
We once drove through the busy streets of the Kigali and headed to the eastern and more rural areas surrounding the city and were may more atrocities occurred during the genocide. We visited one of these places the Ntarama Church Genocide memorial.
Once again we learned of the horrors that occurred here, as they did throughout Rwanda. including infants being killed by having the heads smashed against a wall. You could still see the stains from their blood. Once again we were overwhelmed by the evidence of the killings. piles of blood stained cloths were piled in one room.
Photographs of the skulls and coffins of victims weren’t allowed but I can say the sight will always be carried in my mind and impressed on my soul. It was a very real lesson on man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.
Once again, it was with a heavy heart that we left this vivid reminder of what occurred here, and with a hope that it will never occur anywhere on this Earth ever again. Here is a link to some more photographs taken at the memorial. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/africa-october-2016/nggallery/africa-october-2016/Rwanda-Ntarama-Church-Genocide-Memorial-October-14-2016-
At the airport we had some time to grab a quick bite to eat while we waited for our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. We were surprised to find that out Secretary of State John Kerry was in Kigali for a global environmental conference and even more surprised to see his airplane on the runway near our plane. We boarded our plane and arrived in Johannesburg after midnight. It was almost 1 a.m. when we finally checked into our rooms, exhausted from a long day of travel. and discovered we had a very early flight in the morning, to our next stop on our tour the famous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Here is a link to some photographs from our journey to the airport. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/africa-october-2016/nggallery/africa-october-2016/Rwanda-ride-to-Kigali-airport-October-14-2016
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”
― Hans Christian Andersen