Distance: 232km (Cumulative: 17 535km)
Moving time: 6:27
Average speed: 36km/h
Road surface: 100% Tar
KCCEM - R60 p.p
Camping in front of room which we could use for hot shower and toilet
Caro had to go to the bar again after midnight to tell people to keep quiet. They turned the music down a bit, but some security guard kept on watching music videos and moving tables right through the night.
At breakfast, Konrad said he would like to join us to the forest and to Lake Kivu. We agreed and started to pack up leaving Caro’s baskets on the roof to have space for everything in the back.
We left the Backpackers by 11:23. We first stopped at Sawa City a supermarket which Konrad thought might be cheaper than Nakumatt. It was however almost more expensive, but we still bought some beers using the bottles we got at Lake Bunyoni as a deposit. And some other snacks.
We set off towards Butare again on perfect tar roads. Despite all the agriculture, the scenery was still amazing with the rolling hills, banana trees, and rice paddies.
We turned off at Nyanza to visit the King’s Palace Museum. The museum is located at the ‘palace’ that was built for the son of the King who was prepared to obey the wishes of the Europeans. Like only having one wife instead of 63 like his father. The palace which was definitely built as an insult was only two bedrooms next two 3 big ‘offices’ all in one long single story building that looks like some staff quarters.
When the king went on a trip to Europe and saw what palaces look like he demanded a bigger palace, which they started to build, but he died before he could move in. Next to this building, they build a replica of the old thatched palace which is actually much cooler.
Here the guide, however, gave us some disturbing information on the practices of the King. Like how the King would have sex with his main wife while the open plan room was full of guests, so the women guests (who are separated from the men) would have to sing and clap so that the male guests don’t hear the King having sex.
Outside the thatched palace there were also a milk house and a beer house. A 5-year-old girl (to make sure that she is a virgin) had to live her whole life in the milk house to look after the milk and weren’t allowed to leave ever unless the King died.
Guards who were castrated had to watch the entrance so that no one would come in or leave. For the beer house, a 5-year-old boy was chosen who were basically permanently drunk as he had to taste all the beer.
We then got to see the ceremonial cows which had the biggest horns we’ve ever seen. The cows and their calves are still treated really well and their the healthiest ones we’ve seen in Africa.
We continued to Butare where we just drove through as it was too late to visit the Ethnographic museum as well. We, however, did stop at Huye Coffee, which did have a tasting.
Just as we were about to start drinking the coffee the accountant came and said we should move our vehicle from the road as the president might be coming past and there are no parked vehicles allowed next to the road. We had to move the car 400m further where there was a side road.
We finished the coffee and bought a small coffee bag. The convoy had still not passed by the time we drove off. 30 minutes later the first black SUV passed us with lights flashing and waved us off the road. We pulled over and watched as 20 more black vehicles raced past us. Caro wanted to take a picture, but Konrad said we shouldn’t, so we didn’t.
After the last vehicle, we drove off again. A few kilometers further there was a police vehicle in the road who indicated that we should stop. We stopped and four policemen came up to us. One of them asked where we saw the convoy and whether we took pictures. We told them we didn’t, but they proceeded to look through all the photos on our cameras. They then asked for our names and phone numbers. Halfway through writing it down the policeman tore the paper into pieces, saying it is not necessary anymore.
Turns out despite telling us not to do so Konrad was actually recording the convoy from the backseat, but when he saw the police he immediately deleted the footage. We thought we were home free when a police motorcycle caught up with us and pulled us over again. It was the same guy who tore up the paper who got off the bike and told us he needed our names after all. They then also looked through the photos on our phones all the way passed Ethiopia to Zambia.
They didn’t ask for our passports or even where we were going so they didn’t seem too serious about it. We were off again in no time. We finally got to the KCCEM (The Kitabi College of Conservation and Environmental Management) Guesthouse just as it started to get dark. It is a conference facility with various houses consisting of different room configurations.
They usually don’t allow camping and the receptionist had to phone his boss for special permission. We only had to pay the price of a single room which they opened for us to use the toilet and shower. They initially told us we would have to park next to the tennis courts if we wanted to sleep in the roof top tent. This would then mean walking 500m to the room.
Just as we were still debating whether to use our ground tent as well one of the staff said we could drive over the gutter and over the small tree to drive to the back of the room and camp there. We had to drive over wooden planks and Caro didn’t even want to look. Konrad helped Hugo to navigate and we made it easy peasy without even leaving tracks.
Caro made her signature curry beans and rice dish again. The beans were local Rwandan beans sold in a bag and not a tin. It was much cheaper than the imported tins and still tasted good.
We went to bed early and had a quiet and peaceful nights rest.