Impressions of Nyungwe

Nyungwe Forest. Just before reaching our new base we passed a useful sign board by the roadside showing we were on the Continental watershed with water flowing to the River Congo on one side and to the Nile on the other. A point of interest.

Nyungwe is a Forest Park in mountainous country with many hiking trails including one to the ‘true’ source of the Nile. Again the Park Fees were excessive and they were slow to point out the sliding scale of entry fees for longer visits. They also wanted to charge outrageous amounts ($40) for “minor” activities such as Birdwatching. I am not penny pinching and will pay for the management of larger Mammals but Birds fly free. I do not know how they can charge $50 entry fee plus $40 for just birding, when there are NO animals other than Monkeys and Squirrels. Even then we had to pay a further ‘activity’ fee $10 pp just to do a ‘nature walk.’ We paid a total of $160 just to be there. Crazy! We also had to take a Ranger whose sole object seemed to be to get us around a trail and back to base a.s.a.p. He even wanted $10 just to get someone to “mind the car”. I know, having overheard the conversation in French, that he was telephoned and told not to take us on long trails as we had not paid extra to ‘bird’. We did see some very nice Ruwenzori Turaco and Raptors but there is nothing in Nyungwe NP that Bwindi does not have and I doubt I shall hurry back. We stayed at the Gisakura Guest House which was very nice and friendly even though they wanted to convert $$ at a cheeky rate of 500RWF/$. Meals were good and staff friendly. Definitely the place to stay IF I can be persuaded to return.

Fred Hodgson


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