As we are always using other peoples blogs to plan our route (some are more helpful than others), I decided to write down some hopefully helpful experiences from our trip:
- Kigali to Rusumo (Tansanian Boarder):
We decided not to do this strech on the main route, but on smaller roads, leaving Kigali to the South via Nyamata. The main road via Kayonza might be faster and is fully nicely tarmaced but there are supposed to be loads of giant trucks, as this is the main route from Rwanda to Tansania. Taking the route south of Kigali you also pass by two of the main genocide memorial churches, which are quite interesting to look at. For swimming, only the first lakes coming from Kigali are suitable, Lake Sake, which we chose for swimming is quite dirty. The road passing through the lakes strech is really nice and scenic and even has some flat streches- id definately recommend it!
The road is tarmac until Ramiro, from where you turn left onto mostly very good dirtroads (we didn’t have any rain, so this might change depending on the weather). From Kibungo there is good tarmac again, but some bigger trucks-but theres always enough space to hide from them. Best downhill stretch ever right after Kibungo!
-Campinng; is only a chilled option in guesthouse grounds, but then, at least in rural areas, the prices for guesthouses are so low, that its not really worth camping. Camping is a problem, because security measure are so strict, that the local leader always needs to be informed about your peesence, meet you and agree to your stay.. They provided police protection for us, not because its so dangerous, but just because they really don’t want anything to happen in their area-> especially sensible during genocide memorial time (april to July)
-Nyamata, place with major genocide memorial church(can be reached in a couple of hours from Kigali)
-Sake; Right before Sake coming from the west, behind Rukumo church, christian Guesthouse for 5000 (negotiable if for one or two people).
-kibungo- we decided to go past Kibungo, which was a mistake. It was to far to make it to Nyakarambe (Kirehe in some maps), so we had to find accomodation with a family. For hotels either stay in Kibungo or have a lot of energy (many big hills!) and time to make it to Nyakarambe.
-Nyakarambe, nice guesthouse with lots of space- theres a sign right at the entrance of Nyakarambe. The other lodges are the same price, but a lot less space
-Amazing cheese for 3500rwf in Gisenyi and Kigali, worth stocking up on..
-Genocide memorial week start on April 7th every year, strange time to cYcle through at this time due to ongoing processions and shops being closed