Day 163 – 164: Volcanoes NP to Lake Kivu

|, Rwanda, Trip Report|Day 163 – 164: Volcanoes NP to Lake Kivu

24 July 2017

Day 163 – 164: Volcanoes NP to Lake Kivu

Distance: 69km (Cumulative: 17 149km)
Moving time: 2:24
Average speed: 29km/h
Road surface: 85% Tar, 15% Gravel

Accommodation: Camping
Discover Rwanda Gisenyi - R130 p.p

Close to lake beach, breakfast included.

We got up around 09:00 and had coffee in the car park between the two vehicles. We sat and chatted further with Helen and Jens until basically 12:00. Around 10:00 Caro and Sekar made egg fried rice for breakfast and Helen cut a sweet pineapple for brunch dessert. They have to back in Germany by the end of October the same time we have to be back in South Africa. The way to Germany is, however, a tad longer so they would need to go much faster than us.

We then started to pack up and had a hard time saying good bye. We really enjoyed their company and hope to meet again in Germany or elsewhere.

We hit the road shortly after 13:00 and saw a sign for caves. We decided to follow the signs while Caro googled it and found some amazing looking pictures. The signs led us down a narrow and bumpy gravel road to a sign that said “Welcome to Musanze Caves”, but there was nothing. No ticket office no visible caves or pathway or anything. Just the road we were on and some trees. We turned back to the last sign and saw it showed 600m, the welcome sign was after only 200m so we drove another 400m down the road, but there was still nothing. Google Maps, Open Street Maps, and T4A all had different locations for the caves none of which were near our current location where the road signs led us. We continued down the small road for almost 5km before reaching a hotel called Musanze Caves Hotel. We thought they might know where the caves are, but unsurprisingly despite cave tours being on their list of activities, they couldn’t explain to us where it was or where we should buy the ticket (perhaps just language barrier).

We thus just went on to the main road and then to Gisenyi. From some Google searches it seems that one cannot just pitch up at the caves as the ticket needs to be bought at an RDP office and then a guide probably joins you to the caves.

The road was again rather full of people, but this time with people actually working. Men and Women working together, building roads and picking up trash and sweeping sidewalks. It was rather cloudy and misty so it felt like dusk the whole time even the street lights were on at 15:00 in the afternoon.


The road is a perfect tar road all the way to Gisenyi over several passes, we climbed 760m and descended 1608m in total. We were driving behind a heavily loaded bicycle for several kilometers as the guy was doing 70+km/h down the hills. We were only going 40-50 so he would outrun us and then we would catch up with him again on the straights. Het had a special rubber sandal on which he scraped on the ground around corners to stabilise himself.

We arrived in Gisenyi at 16:30 and went to the Discover Rwanda Backpackers. A staff member held onto the side of the vehicle and directed us to the campsite behind the main building. The grass is very dry and dead and the property is between two busy roads.

Getting out of the vehicle we noticed a rather flat looking tire, but not yet completely deflated. We just left it and went to the restaurant to order beers and food.

The Two Monkeys tried their luck again by ordering a fillet steak, but it was very tough and dried out and cold by the time it arrived.

When Hugo went to check on the car the wheel had deflated all the way. Daniel came to help and they tried to take the wheel off, but the one nut was so tight the wheel spanner started to bend, but the nut didn’t budge. They left the wheel for a while until Hugo remembered they had the original spanner somewhere which had a narrow enough back for our tarpaulin pole to fit over. One of the staff members actually grabbed onto the roof rack and stood on the end of the pole. Finally, the nut came loose.

We inflated the tire again to try and find the hole as there was nothing obvious that punctured the tire. After inflating it and then inspecting it some more we noticed a cut that let out air if you pressed it a certain way.

We asked the staff if there was a garage somewhere that could fix it, but they wouldn’t give us a straight answer. They just said they’ll call someone. Someone eventually arrived from a garage within walking distance so we rolled the wheel there. They actually had the machine to take the tire off the rim and everything, but for the patch, he cut out a piece of inner tube. We didn’t agree on a price beforehand so when we left he wanted 15000 RWF (more than R200, compared to the R20 from Kampala!). He didn’t speak a word of English, but after founding a translator (sort of) we got him to accept 7000 RWF.

Back at the campsite we put the wheel on and set up the tent before going to the restaurant to work a bit on the blog.

The next morning we had breakfast in the restaurant (included in the price). We could choose how we wanted our eggs and opted for the Spanish Omelette. We also got a small fruit plate and there was filter coffee available.

After breakfast we went for a walk on the beach. First we stopped at the tree covered in bats that were making a big racket and then we walked a kilometre or two on the beach.

The water was crystal clear and the beach mostly clean except for one spot where there were some plastic bottles.

Later Hugo and Caro did some work at the restaurant while D&S explored Gisenyi. The buildings we saw from the beach turned out to actually be buildings in Goma in the DRC which borders Gisenyi.

We ordered a cheese burger for lunch and basically worked until dinner time. We went to bed early.

2019-07-29T10:51:24+02:00 February 11th, 2017|Categories: Africa, South Africa, Trip Report|

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