Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rwanda, Nyanza and Butare

Street Pictures. Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.


Unlike in Uganda and Kenya, the motocycle and moped drivers wore helmets here. And the traffic red lights were accepted as well.

The salesmen of phone cards were rather obtrusive, although you say – thank you, no, - five minutes later, while passing the same spot, they make their offers again and again.



Petrol Station. The price of petrol and diesel was the same, 1025 Rwandan francs or 1.23 EUROs.


The next stop was in Nyanza, the capital of Rwanda in 1958 – 1962.


The ancient King`s Palace – now it is a museum. Actually it is a reconstruction, not the original. Getting in was from the left side, the footwear were to be left behind a white barrier, getting out was from the right side, and the visitor of the King had to leave backwards facing the King.

The King`s reception room, the King`s weapons – a spear and shield were beside the opening to the sleeping quarters.


Behind the house were two smaller huts.

Milk containers.


And there are beer containers in this house , as a King`s servant, who had first to taste all the beer served to the King, lived in it.

King ś Palace, built by the Belgians, now a museum.
Indoor shooting was again not permitted, it was said that if someone took pictures and showed them to others then these others would not visit this place in the future. That was the reason. This attitude was not a surprise. Anyway - Nyanza is a place worth visiting. Inside it gives a good overwiew of Rwandan history until independence. During genocide many exhibits were stolen but still nonetheless interesting and worth visiting place.

30 kilometres further southwards in the direction of Butare (now Huye). The inhabitants themselves still use the old name. There is also the National University of Rwanda in this town.


It was said that the best museum of East Africa - Ethnographic Museum ( or National Museum of Rwanda ) is in Butare. And so it really was.

Only the indoor shooting was prohibited here as well. The reasons were the same as before. At least the guide spoke decent English and there was a lot to look at. The guide service was included to the price of the ticket (6000 local money or 7,19 euros). So no pictures.

View from a from a distance. At least outside shooting was allowed.

Behind the house there was one more Kings Palace.

And behind it the auxiliary buildings.


The same handicraft was also inside, behind the glass, but here, outside , there was no shooting-prohibition there.




Travel Books – one of the sources of information was East Africa Lonely Planet, but somehow it was not sufficient, much more useful was Bradt Rwanda (3th edition), bought from the Tourist Information Centre ORTPN ( Office Rwandais du Tourisme et des Parcs Nationaux).

There was a good bookstore in Ikirezi – Librarie Ikirezi Kigali. At the shop the choice of maps was decent (Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Ethiopia and more), also some Lonely Planet books and Bradt Rwanda 4th edition (the last), and Bradt`s Mazambique and Botswana (didn`t buy them because both books were the last but one editions). And as to myself - I like that Bradt`s books include besides addresses also GPS coordinates. About overnight places or other sightseeings.

The road from Butare to the border of Rwanda – Burundi was decent. Not so many people. It means that having stopped the car it took some minutes before somebody calls „mzungu“, and runs to the car.

It took probably about 10 minutes on the Rwanda`s side of the border, or perhaps even less. My main concern was to observe which page of the passport will be stamped. The number of empty pages in the passport has declined and a stamp in the middle of the passport page is not a good idea. There are only 12 pages for visas in our dark red EU passports.

Again, it is positive , if necessary an additional passport will be issued, and an interesting situation could occur that while departing a country an old passport is the valid document and entering another country a new one is used.

The story about Burundi, the neighbour of Rwanda , will be in the next post.
Because it is a very different country. Out of five East African countries the four – Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are tourist destinations. And Burundi is the one that everyday- tourists do not visit.

There are only 4 pages about Burundi in East Africa Lonely Planet. And 28 pages about Rwanda.


Reggae – music , but looking at it now it seems that a poltergeist is in the picture.


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