The last day in the Zap Cats was slightly marred by the heavier than usual grounding of one of the boats rendering it and the engine unusable. A decision was taken to remove the boat from the river and to double up on one boat for the last poignant night.
It was a strange feeling for the team as they loaded their equipment and Zap Cats onto the lorry for the last time. These small boats had been their entire world for the 71 days of the Expedition and had seen them through some incredible times. All three of the team had nothing but praise for the boats and the engines. Talking to Neil McGrigor and Cam McLeay as they watched the boats being loaded they both vowed they would never have anything other than a Yamaha engine, Neil said ” We’ve put them through hell and high water, turned them upside down, set fire to one and still they keep going. It’s incredible!”
The Zap Cats are now on their way to their final resting place, likely to be a lake in Uganda.
Forest Telegraph !
The team’s trusted aide from Uganda Juma Tiri arrived in a truck from Uganda to take care of the Zap Cats. He and his colleague, Landi joined up with them at a place called Ngobagoba. This had become known in Neil McGrigor’s logistic plan as Bridge “A”.
The going has become increasingly tough as the team proceed up the Nile in Rwanda. This last section is known locally as the Nyabarongo River. It contains many small rapids, some large waterfalls and an increasingly narrow passage between the Forest through which the river passes.
Grounding on the rocky or sandy bottom has become a frustrating past time and, on one day recently the team managed to shave nearly an inch off the propellors of the Yamaha engines. Neil ruefully comments “we’re down to our last propellor blades, just as well we’re near the end”
Journalist Lisa Grainger joins Neil McGrigor for a flavour of the Expedition
Also at Bridge “A” the team met up with journalists Lisa Grainger and Tracey Clarke. Whilst not exactly a Livingstone-Stanley moment it still proved memorable, not least for Lisa’a excursion with the team up the river and into the Forest alongside it. Expeditionary men rarely give any quarter and Lisa found herself going over the side to push the Zap Cats out of the sand. She also hiked for several kms with Cam and Garth to recce the river and possible porterage points.
Tracey’s day was less eventful but did involve a game of Manchester United V Chelsea with the local village children.
Team enjoy a wonderful welcome in Kigali!
The team have received a great welcome in Kigali. With the help and support of the ORPTN, the tourism authority for Rwanda and the company, Thousand Hills a busy press conference was organised on the Nile at the Nyabarongo Bridge. Here in Kigali the river Nile is known locally as the Nyabarongo River. The team featured on local TV, radio and in the press.
Neil, Cam and Garth took advantage of their proximity to Kigali and its civilised offerings to do a little shopping for food and essentials. And echoing their Victorian predecessors they even stole a little luxury with a wash and brush up at the Intercontinental Hotel.
Today it’s back on the river but they are expecting more visits from the press as they near their goal of the source of the Nile.
Hail Rwanda – team get rude awakening with thunder storms and hail!
The team should be passing Kigali tomorrow. After several days of stop/start they are now enjoying better progress.
They have encountered huge storms today together with unseasonal hail!
Neil McGrigor reports that he was thrown out of his boat today. He swiftly got back in – encouraged by the fact that the team are still seeing crocodiles and hippos on the river.
Rusumu Falls from the air
Cold and wet but making good progress in Rwanda
The latest news from the team is that good progress has been made through the 170 km of Siibna Swamp. Neil alikened it to the passage through the Sudd swamps in Sudan.
It’s raining at the moment, and chilly!
Another portage has been necessary today, this time around the impressive and powerful Rusumu Falls.
Cam’s latest diaries, just received, reveal the bond of friendship between the core team of Neil, Cam and Garth is growing stronger by the day.…