Well, last week Rita and I satisfied my hunger for exertion and sleeping in the wilderness by visiting the Banda Community in Nyungwe National Park. Last Wednesday we rode a bus for two hours from Butare to the Uwinka Overlook Interpretation Center in the park. There we met our volunteer guide, Ignace, who is studying wildlife management. We put on our backpacks and walked for three hours through the rainforest and the buffer pine forest, down into the valley, and then into the village. Ignace pointed out different plants and told us their Latin names, which Rita and I were pretty terrible at remembering.
|Pine buffer forest|
Anyway, after walking through the forests and the Banda village, we arrived at the campground. It was picturesque. We were in a valley surrounded by cultivated and natural hills. Our REI tent (my favorite store!) was set up on a grassy plot surrounded by low bushes to create a little barrier between the other plots, which didn't have tents because we were the only visitors that night. There was a bathroom building that was a step up from a Porta Potty and a little one room cabin that served as the restaurant.
Then came the experience that I hadn't had in about a year: sleeping in a tent. I don't find sleeping in a tent to be the most comfortable thing in the world, but there is just something about sleeping close to nature that I love. This time was definitely a first because only one twin-sized foam mattress could fit in the REI Half Dome 2 Plus tent so Rita and I shared it (in our separate sleeping bags). Sleeping in a tent is even less restful when you have two people on a twin mattress, but it was still great.
The next morning we were treated to warm water for sponge baths, a filling breakfast, and a quick visit to a local stream. Oh, and I can't forget to mention all the little boys who took great interest in Rita and me. It made me laugh to watch them as they peered through the vegetative fence bordering the campground and even climbed a tree to get a better look at us. Eventually they left us and Rita, Ignace, and I headed out of the valley to the main road where we would catch a bus back to Butare.
|A visitor to the Umuzungu Zoo!|
FB: "Banda Community at Nyungwe National Park"
Phone: Ignace, +250 785 369 704; Jules Cesar, +250 788 629 410; Illdephense, +250 788 436 763