Like Regular Driving Here, Only More So.

RallyThis past weekend saw the three day Mountain Gorilla Rally come to town. Even though it had nothing to do with gorillas driving (too bad, that) it was still an interesting concept: rally racing on the back roads of Rwanda… what fun, eh?

Sponsored by the big Kenyan bank, KCB, it was promoted like a rock concert. Lamentably, as is the case with many undertakings here in Rwanda, there was a lot more posturing than substance to be had. And so, while the organizers had spent good money on a couple of massive billboards in the center of Kigali announcing the rally, they could not for the life of them provide anything like a time table or decent map for the event — even to representatives of the press. Instead, they gave out a rough guide to the race that featured several variations on dates and times but little of use for anyone who might, you know, what to watch the damn thing.

I did manage to make my way to the pretentious but entertaining send-off as well as to the first day of actual racing, which was held in a gravel pit half an hour south of Kigali. In spite of the lamentable lack of actual info on the how what when and where, they managed to attract a couple of thousand spectators to watch a dozen or so Kenyan, Ugandan and local Rwandan drivers zip their beat-up old Subarus and Mazdas around the course a couple of times, and it was enjoyable enough, if somewhat underwhelming given disproportionate amount of hype that accompanied the limited action.