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East Africa on a scooter | Part 5 | Bwindi – Kabale – Kigali (160 km)

Who dares to drive more than 3.000 kilometers on a scooter through East Africa? Visiting mountain gorillas? Scooter safaris (does this word exist?) in five National parks† To admire lions, buffaloes, hippos and elephants up close, among other things. My name is Eric and I like to travel around on a scooter. Read here part 5 of the unique report of an amazing scooter adventure Uganda, Rwanda en Kenya† In the fifth part of this journey I drive from Bwindi to Kabale and then continue to Kigali, a drive of about 160 kilometers.

Also read:

East Africa on a scooter | Part 1 | From Kampala to Kigali (180 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 2 | Bugala Island – Lake Mburo (170 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 3 | Lake Mburo National Park – Kabale (230 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 4 | Kabale – Ruhija – Gorilla trekking (50 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 5 | Bwindi – Kabale – Kigali (160 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 6 | Kigali Genocide Memorial – Kabale
East Africa on a scooter | Part 7 | Kabale – Queen Elizabeth National Park (175 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 8 | Queen Elizabeth NP – Fort Portal (120km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 9 | Fort Portal – Muhorro (100 km)

A flat tire and a bad news

It is twelve o'clock and the gorilla adventure is over. I try to arrange transport for my scooter with the camp staff. I don't feel like a hellish push for a second time.

In good company in Ruhija
In good company in Ruhija

It takes some trial and error, but it just fits in the trunk of a car.

The scooter disappears in the car under expert guidance
The scooter disappears in the car under expert guidance

Around two o'clock the car has arrived at the t-junction towards Kabale and the scooter is removed from the trunk. At a newsagent, I arrange for a mechanic to inflate my soft rear tire. He fails in that mission. Instead of more air, he manages to deflate the tire completely. There is no other option than to try again to find transport to Kabale. The problem is that there is not much traffic passing by.

The scooter goes in the loading area towards Kabale
The scooter goes in the loading area towards Kabale

After three hours a pick-up finally stops and is ready to transport the scooter in the cargo bed. At a gas station in Kabale it turns out that the inner tube is flat. The mechanics repair the tire and warn immediately. The scooter's tires are completely worn out. But where can I buy new tires?

A mechanic goes on a tire check for me and returns with a tidings of doom. “There are no replacement tires for sale anywhere in the area. Nobody rides scooters here anymore. There are two places where you can buy new tires. They are available in Kampala, but that is more than 400 kilometers. An alternative is Kigali in Rwanda. Kigali is 100 kilometers from here. I know an Indian there who really has all kinds of tires in stock.

On the way to the capital of Rwanda: Kigali

A visit to Kigali has never been planned. However, necessity breaks law. And actually I don't mind at all. After all, I've never been to Rwanda.

I don't know much about Rwanda. When I think of Rwanda, I automatically think of the 1994 genocide, in which Hutus and Tutsis took each other's lives. A search on the internet shows me that Rwanda is doing well. Today it is very safe in Rwanda. Only when I read that Rwanda is also known as 'The land of a thousand hills' I am shocked. As long as my scooter can handle those hills. 'The Switzerland of Africa' is another nickname for Rwanda, as it has been a place of peace and security since 1994.

Rwandan cyclists hitch a ride up the hill with a truck
Rwandan cyclists hitch a ride up the hill with a truck

Kabale is only 30 kilometers from the border of Rwanda. The road to it runs through a particularly beautiful landscape with poisonous green tea plantations. I have no problem at the border. My East Africa visa is also valid in Rwanda. I can temporarily import my scooter into Rwanda free of charge.

The first road sign in Rwanda warns that traffic in Rwanda drives on the right. That must be a colonial legacy of the Belgians. Driving on the left is the motto in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. It wasn't too bad with the hills. My scooter can handle the gradient. Many cyclists have more problems. They try to hitch a ride up the hill with the trucks.

With the gorillas along the road in Rwanda
With the gorillas along the road in Rwanda

It's Election Day in Rwanda

I park my scooter at a statue of two gorillas. Immediately a Rwandan man rushes towards me. Before I know it he grabs my hand and looks at my fingers. "You should vote," he says. 'How so? I am a foreigner.' 'Does not matter. Everyone can vote for our fantastic president Kagame.'

He's willing to take a picture of me in front of the gorillas. It takes some getting used to for him, because he has never operated a photo camera before. I ask him about the translation of the words 'Iyo Zibonye Amahoro Zikamwa Amadevize'. "Leaving the gorillas alone will make you a lot of money." I compliment him on his English pronunciation. “Our president has instructed us to teach English as a second language. French is not important. Hence.'

The skyline of Kigali . on the horizon
The skyline of Kigali . on the horizon

It's a really nice ride on a perfect road. After just over an hour I see the skyline of Kigali on the horizon.

Also read:

East Africa on a scooter | Part 1 | From Kampala to Kigali (180 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 2 | Bugala Island – Lake Mburo (170 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 3 | Lake Mburo National Park – Kabale (230 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 4 | Kabale – Ruhija – Gorilla trekking (50 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 5 | Bwindi – Kabale – Kigali (160 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 6 | Kigali Genocide Memorial – Kabale
East Africa on a scooter | Part 7 | Kabale – Queen Elizabeth National Park (175 km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 8 | Queen Elizabeth NP – Fort Portal (120km)
East Africa on a scooter | Part 9 | Fort Portal – Muhorro (100 km)

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

ERIC – OVER 100 COUNTRIES
– Currently in Kenya.
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

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