There have been many arguments about where the River Nile really starts its 6700km course to the far-away Mediterranean. So, a group of 26 students and staff from Green Hills Academy set out to reach the furthest known source, which is in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest. After an overnight stay in Kibuye, they had to get up for a very early start on Sunday, drove to a trading centre near Gisovu Tea Factory, and then walked a further 4km to reach the edge of Nyungwe Forest.
There they were met by a guide, who gave them a brief history of the park, and told them about the 240 different kinds of trees, the 140 species of orchids and the many birds that can be found in the forest.
There is for instance the ‘impatient flower’, whose fruits explode when you just touch them. Sadly, the students did not get to see any of the primates that also have their home in the park. After 40 minutes of more walking, they arrived at the source itself – but it was very different from what they had expected.
“I thought that the source of the Nile would be big, full of water,” one student commented.
“It was interesting, I expected it to be a waterfall, but it was water coming from the ground,” another student explained. “I realised that one of the largest rivers in the world starts with a very small amount of water.”
And then came the long hike back. Since the walk to the source had been all downhill, the walk back involved some climbing and proved quite a challenge for many of the participants. “I have never been that tired,” was another comment after this exciting two-day experience. “It was at the same time interesting and exhausting.”