Lake Kivu

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
1
35
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Trip End Aug 18, 2005


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Thursday, July 7, 2005

Day the Thirtieth - in which we blag Tanzanian visas and get lucky with ORTPN.

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Slept in! Stef seems much better, so maybe it really was that tick.
Breakfast was eaten - though neither of us were brave enough to try the pot of powdered something [parmesan?!] on the table - and then we went to find a bank. We found a forex which was better, since the rate was very good.

Also popped in to the ORTPN office [National Parks people, sort gorilla tracking] to enquire about permits. We were very lucky, since permits are limited. Only 8 people are allowed in each group, and there are only 4 groups. Apparently they are booked up all the way through to October. Fortunately a tour group had cancelled which opened up some places for the 10th - in 3 days time. Perfect. They only took Mastercard, so I had to owe Stef rather a large amount of money. We perused the Maraba coffee while we waited, and got chatting to two American ladies - Bonny and Donna - also getting permits. They went for the 10th too, so we arranged to meet them in Ruhengeri on the afternoon of the 9th so we could arrange a joint 4WD to take us to the start of the trek. The treks start in Kinigi, about 8km north of Ruhengeri, and you are recommended to sort a 4WD up there.

So yey! Gorillas!

This gives us a few days with which to go to Lake Kivu. We decided on Gisenyi rather than Kibuye since it's closer to Ruhengeri. Rwanda is small enough that everywhere is striking distance from anywhere, but still...

Only thing left to do in Kigali was get Tanzanian visas. This is the one border we aren't sure about, so to be on the safe side we are getting visas in advance. After packing we got motorcycle taxis to the Tanzanian Embassy. This was tricky as the address has changed, but we got there in the end.
Again we got lucky. Today is a national holiday in Tanzania, so the Embassy was shut. We were told this by a man at the gate. He suggested we come back tomorrow. We said that tomorrow we were heading to Kivu. He started to walk off, but we called him back to ask if they were open on Monday. Then he let us in, slightly to our confusion. We were sat down and told that they'd sort us out. Rock on. $60 each mind, but hey, at least we are spending a while in Tanzania. It took 2 hours, not bad considering we were told it takes 24 hours normally. Nice staff.

Found an internet café to update the parents, also got some Indian food and a jar of jam to make the omnipresent bread more interesting.

Then back to grab our bags and get a packed matutu to Gisenyi. Since we had set off late, we were soon travelling in the dark - not really recommended due to the volume of foot traffic on unlit roads. How they walk along hillside roads in the pitch black is beyond me. We arrived late, found a hotel - expensive again - and settled in with the geckos. I love geckos, but I think the one in the bathroom might actually be stuck to the cement...
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