A new road was supposed to be completed from Bwindi into Rwanda by now, and so a year ago that’s how we planned the trip. Oops.
When the new road is completed, it will be hardly a 4-hour journey from Bwindi to Parcs de volcans in Rwanda. In fact, it will be easier for people who want to trek Bwindi to fly in and out of Kigali (Rwanda) rather than Entebbe (Uganda) which is 7 hours minimum away.
But as luck wouldn’t have it, the road isn’t completed. The drive is fabulous for scenery and local culture, but it is one of the most twisting and turning mountainous roads in the world.
We left our lodge at 8 a.m. and didn’t reach the Rwandan border post until 1 p.m. In a sense that doesn’t seem so taxing, but the dust, the twists, and as Alex calculated, the 18k/hour speed did make it tedious.
From the Rwandan border to our Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge was hardly 35 minutes. Rwanda’s roads are much better than those slowly being replaced in southern Uganda.
Once in this most beautiful of all Parcs de volcans lodges, I think everyone was pretty happy. And for me, the most striking part of the whole trip was to see how much of the Bwindi Forest has been logged and clear cut.
I’ve come to Bwindi ever since my first trip with my wife, Kathleen Morgan, in 1974. There has been a slow erosion of the forest, but today, it’s unbelievable.
The park roads themselves are usually lined by hillsides that have been cleared for tea and other agriculture.
Far be it for we Americans – the most consumptive of the world’s resources – to criticize Uganda for trying to develop. I won’t, and I’m not. But the twangs of nostalgia and the undeniable regrets of melancholy struck me deeply.