May 8, 2018
Bujumbura – Kigali
Flight distance: 96 nm | Hours in the air: 0.55
The Switzerland of Africa
We did regret a bit the ultra short stay in Bujumbura getting up Monday morning, yet little did we know what was to come. To cut a long and painful story short, we were stuck for 8 hours at the airport until we finally made the short hop to Kigali. There was a major hick-up between our handler in Kigali and the Rwandan aviation authority which meant for us not getting the permit to fly. After 6 hours Rainer lost patience and brought his connections into play. All the sudden there was movement within minutes which resulted for us in getting the green light 90 minutes later.
At that point we still had our short flight and then a 3 hour transfer to our lodge in front of us. We arrived at 10 o’clock at night, had a short dinner and went to bed around midnight.
The next morning, our friend Beat had joined us in the meantime, was one of the highlights of this trip: going to see the mountain gorillas. We had perfect conditions. A short walk brought us to our “Agashya – Group”, the largest one close by. I believe the photos speak for themselves, yet they can not convey the experience being so close to these amazing creatures! The rest of the day was finally leisure time to digest the last few days and tank more energy for what’s still ahead.
The last day in Rwanda was another welcomed day off for our pilots. We made our way down from the Volcanoes N.P. back to Kigali. This 3 hours day-time drive gave us a good sample of todays Rwanda.
We visited the sites remembering the Genocide from 1994. It’s almost a wonder how this nation has dealt and evolved from those dark days. All in all, Rwanda and Kigali, 25 years ago with almost no paved streets, is a clean and organized country of lush green fields and friendly people.
👉 YouTube Playlist TransAfrica 2018
Country facts & figures
“The land of a thousand hills”.
Rwanda is a relative small landlocked, hilly country in Central Africa, located south of the Equator and east of Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. It is bordered by Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda. The country covers an area of 26,338 km², compared it is about the size of Macedonia, or slightly smaller than the US state of Maryland.
Rwanda has a population of 11.5 million People (2016; Rwanda’s population density is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa). Capital and largest city is Kigali (est. pop. 1 million people). Spoken languages are Kinyarwanda (official language of Rwanda), English and French, Swahili as the lingua franca in the African Great Lakes region.
Hunter gatherers settled the territory in the stone and iron ages, followed later by Bantu peoples. The population coalesced first into clans and then into kingdoms. The Kingdom of Rwanda dominated from the mid-eighteenth century, with the Tutsi kings conquering others militarily, centralizing power and later enacting anti-Hutu policies. Germany colonised Rwanda in 1884 as part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations ruled through the kings and perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy. The Hutu population revolted in 1959. They massacred numerous Tutsi and ultimately established an independent, Hutu-dominated state in 1962. Following a military coup, President Juvénal Habyarimana established a one-party totalitarian dictatorship in Rwanda and ruled for the next 21 years. The Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front launched a civil war in 1990. Social tensions erupted in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists (Hutu power) killed an estimated 500,000 to 1.3 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. The RPF ended the genocide with a military victory.