Left Mwanza,taking a ferry to Kamanga,met an interesting Dutch guy, whose family owned the ferry and a ship building business, explaining that they had just had one stolen,with the conivence of the local police (bribed) and courts (bribed)…..one thing that is quite clear here is that corruption is rife and mentioned by nearly everyone we’ve met.
A long drive at the other end through fertile and productive countryside to Biharamulo. Camped at the “Old German Boma”,an old fort built in 1902, on the edge of Burigi game reserve. Rather run down,with no water to speak of and we camped in the car-park.
Next day crossed the border into Rwanda,very easy crossing, us and lots of huge lorries, nothing to pay for once, as you don’t need a visa, however the skies turned black and as we climbed the massive hills, the heavens opened. It chucked it down all the way. Luckily we found out quite soon, we were meant to be driving on the other side of the road, we haven’t done this since West Africa, so all a bit strange really! Generally,although slow and rainy the scenery was very interesting,mainly banana plantations,with rice fields on some of the valley bottoms, highly populated with people everywhere. The children shouting Muzungu as you pass them by ,but all very friendly with a rather french feel to things which increased the nearer we got to the capital Kigali.
Nicely surprised by Kigali, very European, modern, with shops (strangely) and good roads, place names in French,whilst English and French is spoken. ( Our frainglais to be precise seems to be used by all.
We are staying in the rather bizarrely named “One love” camp. This is run by The Japanese, raising funds to help the disabled victims of the Genocide, a strange place,but a very worthwhile cause.
Just met a Swiss guy called BJ who was intending to travel down through East Africa, but he was arrested and imprisoned on the Libian/Eygptian border for a week as he had a remote controlled helicopter with a camera fitted for animal photography, which they took exception to. He was deported, theyv’e still got his car, which he’s now written off, he flew to Kenya, bought a small dog of a Suzuki jeep and has spent the past three weeks rebuilding various parts of it whilst trying to head south. Just waved him off ,heading for the Tanzanian border,at 5:00pm (it gets dark at 6:00) a jouney which took us several hours and given that he can only get up hills in reverse and he’s got some beauties on the way, I think it’s going to be fun, fun, fun!! Good Luck BJ.
We liked Kigali alot, I had the best Apricot muffin I’ve ever tasted and Michael a freshly baked baguette filled with such delights as cheese and ham, washed down with the nicest coffee we’ve had in some time (I wish we could stay longer, but Mr anti-shopping center, feels we must press on.)
Any form of plastic bags have been banned here, which goes some way to explaining why it’s the cleanest,tidiest African city wev’e been to, no rubbish whatsoever, which is new to us. Apparently bare-feet are not acceptable either and you only just get away with flip-flops.
Had rear springs fitted to the Landy, a small workshop, that shared it’s courtyard with a very loud and vocal church, much ranting, raving and singing kept us entertained for the morning.
Decided to visit The Genocide Memorial, but sadly it was only open to VIP’s when we arrived. Over one million people were killed in a week or so and a more unlikely candidate for this sort of behaviour is hard to imagine, as everyone seems so nice, horrific and not that long ago.
The whole Capital is so strange with excellent tar roads (for the most part) plenty of new cars, buildings, banks etc and all the people we met, extremely helpful and friendly, a model African city, despite it’s recent past thats dictatorship for you………anyone remember the guy with the funny moustache in Germany ? wonder what happens now?