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  • "jhcolclough" started this thread

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Tuesday, September 15th 2015, 1:07pm

Rwanda

Africa Trip June 2015- 7 Countries, 3 Months, 18 800km – Rwanda 30 June – 6 July 2015

Leaving Rusumo border (see previous post on Tanzania) at about 8pm we decided to head to Kigali as we had to get the Fortuner into a garage first thing in the morning. The drive through was easy with minimal traffic and good roads.

Rwanda is an amazing country, most densely populated in Africa, hardly a bit of litter, no plastic bags sold or allowed into the country and every bit of land is cultivated. Every last Saturday of the month the whole country has to stop for a few hours and clean up their area. Rwanda is a mass of mountains and valleys so lives up to its title “The Switzerland of Africa”. Everyone is busy.

We arrived at TR Companion at about 1am and were let in through the large metal gates to see our camp site – a 40 degree sloped drive way with another roof top tent vehicle already there (http://wearthefoxhat.us/exploding-lakes/) – excellent blog with info on Rwanda.

There is camping but only for small tents on a few spaces of lawn but we were finished and collapsed into rtt in driveway. In Rwanda there is minimal camping and most times you end up on the front lawn or in the parking lot of a lodge/residence.

With an early morning start, dropped Fortuner off at Toyota and took a motorbike taxi back into town. Laws are strict and a helmet is law. It was an experience but great fun. Re supplying at Nakumatt Supermarket was easy but expensive. We then caught a taxi to the airport to collect our sons, Shaun (22) and Mike (20). Relaxed for the rest of the day and R 9 600 odd later collected Fortuner with new drive shaft and stabiliser (Tanzanian roads).

Next day saw the 2 boys, each over 6ft 3in, squeeze into the back of the Fortuner which only had a ¾ seat as the seat behind the front passenger has been removed to make way for the fridge. A must see in Kigali is the Genocide Museum – please read the above blog as Scott describe it well. It was emotional, amazing and an eye opener – need to send all our politicians to see this. We could have spent a day there but had to push on to get to Nyungwe Forest National Park camp site( $30 per tent) before dark. The roads are good but people all over the place and the bicycles crazy – loaded beyond belief and everywhere. Even saw some wooden bikes with wooden wheels screaming down a hill loaded with fire wood and slip slops for breaks. Reached Nyungwe (Uwinka) with plenty of time only to find grease leaking from new boot on drive shaft and breaks spongy. Following allot of swearing, shouting etc, a black plastic bag with cable ties was attached (drove with this to Lilongwe, Malawi). The boys put up their tent on a wooden platform and we had the RTT in the parking lot. It was cold but a fire was made for us and hot water in buckets for a shower. We did the canopy walk ($60) and the Igishigishigi Trail ($40). Expensive but stunning scenery/jungle.

The canopy walk was scary at 90m above the forest and who knows how high above the valley floor but worth the adrenalin rush. There are allot of walks/hikes in the area but we moved on the next day to Lake Kivue and Kibuye. Briefly saw a chimpanzee next to road as we left the campsite area. Stunning drive along the lake, road good tar until last 50km which is under construction – would not do this in the wet season.

Booked into Home Saint Jean as no camping in the area . Stunning lodge on the cliffs overlooking the Lake. We got the last rooms as they were renovating. The restaurant was great but avoid the local fish as bony and have the Tilapia. Went top sleep that night to the sounds for the fishermen singing as they leave the harbour – they paddle 3 canoes tied together so the singing in the dark helps them keep in time and avoid capsizing. As the brakes were suspect we avoided the 4*4 road to Gisenyi and took the tar road from Gitarama to Cyaymbuye Village – stunning route. Unfortunately just before Mukamira Village we were stopped for speeding. What a nightmare – took my drivers licence and TIP doc and told us we had to pay the fine at the national bank. Great - 25km down road to bank but Saturday and holiday so closed. Went back but traffic police had gone off duty so off to local police station. They cannot help or take the money for fine due to possible corruption. Eventually a local bought airtime for his phone and Robyn got hold of the Commissioner of Police in Kigali who also would not let us pay the money to the police but organised for us to be let off – had to sign affidavits etc but then where are documents. The officer was called eventually and she pulled our docs out of here pocket – scary as what could have happened if we had to stay till banks opened a few days later (holidays). We later met some Dr’s who advised this was normal, they had come back a week later to collect licence.

A few km’s later we turned left towards Volcanos National Park and Kinigi Guest House. Arrived to a great welcome from fellow South Africans Alan & Denise (Africa Through Our Eyes blog) and camped in the drive way and shared a chalet bathroom. Not a great place but right next door to National parks office.

7am we joined 80 other travellers (mainly overseas) for the briefing and were split up into groups of 8. Volcanoes has 10 troops of gorillas and each day they allow 8 people per troup to visit for 1 hour only. We were assigned to a family of 18 with 2 silver backs. From the reserve entrance we drove about 20km with our vehicle and guide to start of trek. We hiked for about 1 ½ hours initially through vertical farm lands to the reserve entrance wall and then another 1 ½ hrs through thick mud and nettles to meet up with the troop – wow what a special day. Sat in the stinging nettles for an hour and watched the group move around us feeding and grooming as if we were not there. At times had to sit down, shows respect, to allow them to brush past us. Too soon we had to leave them but even though expensive, $750 each, it was money well spent and going to an organised cause. Rwanda has just had a naming ceremony for 25 baby gorillas.

Leaving early next morning for Kigali we arrived 2 hrs later at Toyota to find it closed – public holiday. As the brakes were still good but spongy we decided to head on as we had a 3 day drive through Tanzania to Ruaha National Park.
jhcolclough has attached the following images:
  • TR Companion - driveway RTT camping.JPG
  • Kigali residential area.JPG
  • Genocide Memorial Wall - still  being built.JPG
  • Nyungwe camping deck.JPG
  • Canopy Tour.JPG
  • Typical Farming lands.JPG
  • Fishermen Sining as they paddle.JPG
  • LAke Kivue - Home Saint Jean.JPG
  • Big Silver Back.JPG
  • Gorilla close up .JPG

ziggy10

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Tuesday, September 15th 2015, 1:29pm

Wow this is truly informative. Blows away my preconceived fears of darkest Africa. Great pics, FT too deserves a mention. She has been brilliant, what a car. :)

  • "jhcolclough" started this thread

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Date of registration: Oct 21st 2013

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Tuesday, September 15th 2015, 2:32pm

Hi Ziggy - Robyn and I were travelling alone most of the trip and never once felt threatened or major nervous. Had some hassles with one road block in Pemba but stuck to our guns and did not pay the bribe. One just has to get up and go.

ziggy10

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Tuesday, September 15th 2015, 6:29pm

I guess so. Will you follow a different route on your way home?

RRR

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Tuesday, September 15th 2015, 8:12pm

i have also spend alot of time in rwanda for business and this is one of thr best places that i have been to apart from rsa.
09 FT 3.0 D4D 4x4

Good people don't go to heaven, BELIEVERS do!

ziggy10

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Tuesday, September 15th 2015, 8:20pm

You guys must keep reporting like this. The Rwanda I know is the place where so many were killed. Remember Hotel Rwanda the movie?. This very mind opening. Thanks.

  • "jhcolclough" started this thread

Posts: 60

Date of registration: Oct 21st 2013

Location: Hout Bay, Cape Town

Occupation: Retired

Car: Fortuner 3.0D-4D sold after 11,5 yrs 11 countries and 322 000km. 2018 Fortuner 2.8 GD6 Auto 4*4

Level: 26 [?]

Experience: 114,939

Next Level: 125,609

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Tuesday, September 15th 2015, 9:19pm

Ziggy10 - Yes came back via Tanzania - Ruaha Reserve, Lake Malwai, NNorthern Mozambique and back into SA at Pafuri. Hope to get info up in over next few days.

Coetzee

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Wednesday, September 16th 2015, 7:45am

Very nice,look like a great trip to do one day when I am big

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