East Africa – Day 29

Rwanda 16 August 2015

I have not been able to upload photographs to my blog without wifi or decent band width but will add my photographs to my blog post as soon as I can.

We are having the most brilliant time in Uganda and Rwanda with everything being great. Our trip was organised by our local ground agents Avian Watch Uganda. Everything is going really well with Robert, our fantastic guide (who knows all the sites and calls and can whistle birds in) and Paul, our driver and fixer, for who nothing was too much.

This was her fourth day of birding in Rwanda

Today we were at Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda. We had a late start, getting up at 6.00 am for a 6.30 am breakfast and heading off at 7.00 am, giving our driver, Paul, a chance to catch up on his sleep before our long drive.

Our accommodation was more basic than most places in Uganda but was the same price as Rwanda was expensive.

We made a short stop on our way out of the park, birding around the edge of a tea plantation. Robert has seen Red-faced Crimsonwing here before but said that all the long grasses had been cut now, so there was nothing for the birds to feed on. Last time they were with the Waxbills, which were there.

At 9.00 am, we started our long, virtually non stop journey from the South West of Rwanda, from 10 km from the Congo border to the South East Border, with Tanzania.

We stopped on the way, for us to have our packed lunch. Three teenage boys who were goat herding, came over to watch us. That’s always a bit disconcerting, I hadn’t eaten my lunch, so we gave them my food and some biscuits. They seemed really happy with that.

As we drove along, I noticed again how clean the roads were. During our birding, we walked along tracks that did have rubbish on them. That would seem that people didn’t drop rubbish on the main road where they might be stopped by police but will drop litter on tracks where they can get away with it.

We drove through Kigali, which was clean with no poor people. I can’t help wondering where the poor people were?

We stopped at a supermarket, to get myself a packet of Pringles (potato chips) and a Mars. It was $4 for both, which seemed really expensive.

It was 4.30 pm when we arrived at Akagera NP. Here we birded the track into the centre and had a look around the grounds. It was great to see some new birds including the Red-headed Weaver, Red-faced Crombec, Miombo Wren-warbler and Slate coloured Boubou (now seen in 3 countries) and Orange-winged Pytitta.

The lodge, Akagera Game Lodge, was a short drive away, so after checking into our luxurious rooms, we had time to get sorted before meeting Robert. I had adjoining rooms with a choice of beds a privacy giving corridor and my own bathroom. After a month of all being crammed in together, it would be nice to have some space for a couple of nights.

We wandered around the lodge grounds not seeing anything much but were first stopped from leaving the compound because of wild animals and then someone came and spoke to us in French, telling us not t get closer to the boundary because of Buffalo. It seemed a bit unlikely but we took their word for it. There was a strip around the grounds that had been burnt, probably to make any snakes more visible.

It was lovely to have a hot shower in my own bathroom. Paul had been to see the dining room to explain that I was an extra vegetarian (his joke for me being a fussy eater) and arranged for me to get some cheese.

After dinner, Dad finished going through the list with Robert and finding 3 more new birds from Uganda, which was good news.

Meanwhile, I had an early night in my own room….luug-zure-ee

Trip list – 585 birds for Uganda, 107 lists for Rwanda, and 281 lifers.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

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This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

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