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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I roll into the border at Cyanika early in the morning and find a very sleepy crossing. I’m stamped out of Rwandan Immigration in thirty seconds, and Customs are happy to hold onto the Temporary Import Permit for the Jeep and wish me a safe journey.
The slowest part of the crossing comes when a friendly lady from Rwanda Tourism asks if I’d like to fill in a survey about my time in the country!
I drive fifty yards forward, officially into Uganda. At Immigration I buy a one month visa for myself for $50USD before changing my money with the guys standing around. Once again it’s a friendly and no-stress affair, with the deal concluding in a round of handshakes.
Over at Customs the Officer is happy to write out a Temporary Import Permit for the Jeep good for a month, and I pay the equivalent of $20USD in Ugandan Shillings for one month of road tax. He kindly explains if I need to stay longer than a month I can go to any officer of Uganda Revenue anywhere in the country, pay for another month and extend the TIP easily. Talk about friendly.
Before driving away I must register in a Police ledger, which is fast and easy, and before leaving I remember to ask the armed guard there – yes, he confirms, now it’s time to drive on the left again!
As I have come to love, there are not even any signs or any indications at all!
I make a stop in Kisoro for gas, supplies and lunch and wander around town getting the feel of Uganda. Gas here is marginally cheaper than in Rwanda, though still expensive as these things go – about $4.26/gal USD.
It seems I won’t get back to stupid cheap gas until I’m much further North.
For no reason other than to explore I set off into the mountains, roughly heading in the direction of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (I love that name!) , the famous National Park that has all the Mountain Gorillas. Roads are small and rough, and local people smile and wave.
I find a small backpackers lodge to camp at for the night, and wandering around taking photos at dusk I am strongly reminded of small towns in Colombia or Ecuador – mountains and mountain people are always the same kind of friendly and happy the world over!
Country number 30 in Africa starts now!