Traverse 06 - Page 20

from selling live chickens, to desper- ately trying to clear their vehicles through customs, in order to get that darn temporary import paper and forget that whole mess until the next border crossing. But apparently here the process is much quicker and sim- pler: most countries issue tourist vi- sas on-arrival and it takes an average of 10 minutes to fill in some forms, if any, pay the visa fees (always only in cash and only in US dollars) and get the stamp in your passport. Mean- while the motorcycles with Carnet de Passages are done with the process even faster. During the majority of our crossings, the customs officers didn’t even bother to take a look through the window to make sure that the motor- cycles were actually there! In Uganda, as well as in Kenya, ev- ery person we met greeted us with a bright smile and a good dose of curi- osity: “Where are you from? Where are you aiming to go? How had the journey been so far? How big are your engines? What is the fuel economy on those bikes?” Everyone in these two countries, formerly part of British rule, speak perfect English, therefore a cultural exchange was always a great delight and felt very exotic, keeping in mind that we come from Lithuania, a country in the northeast of Europe, which barely ever had any historic ties with Africa and up to this day sees Af- rica as very distant and an unfamiliar part of the world. Once in Uganda, we visited the beautiful Sipi Falls on the slopes of Mt. Elgon, the source of the river Nile on the edge of the biggest lake in Afri- ca – Lake Victoria. The majestic Rwenzori mountains on the border with the Democratic Re- public of Congo and we crossed Ugan- da’s most visited wildlife park named after Queen Victoria on the national road, where we met several herds of antelopes, a couple of self-confident buffaloes and a pack of neither grace- ful, nor beautiful, but very cute wart- TRAVERSE 20 hogs (remember the wild pig called Pumba, who, together with his buddy Timon the meerkat, befriended Simba in “The Lion King”?). Heading south from Uganda, we crossed the border of Rwanda – a tiny country in southeast African context, justly called The Land of a Thousand Hills. Rwanda’s almost mystical land- scapes of rolling hills, the heavenly blue water of Lake Kivu and the sprawl- ing lush green Nyungwe rainforest, surrounded our three-day-long ride on the never-ending twists and curves over the perfect new roads. Rwanda definitely has a lot to of- fer to those who love a relaxed ride in moderate temperatures with amazing scenery on empty well maintained roads which are never straight. But that’s not the only great thing about Rwanda. Imagine country, where you do not see a single plastic bag dumped on the ground, where everything is clean and tidy and where everyone