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Rwanda: Africa for beginners

When you tell people that you are starting your travels in Rwanda, some can be apprehensive. We'd read only positive things about Rwanda and heard that it was very safe so we weren't worried. After arriving in Kigali and settling in with only a few hiccups we felt very safe and welcome. The people were friendly and always smiling (even if we did get a few stares), the hostels were informative and comfortable (mostly), the showers were hot (usually) and the buses got you to your destinations (relatively) on time.

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However it was on our journey to Tanzania when things started to run a bit less smoothly. At 6am on the minibus to the Rwanda/Tanzania border we realised we were short on money and that ATMs may soon be few and far between. As we were sitting on the back row of the bus with 20 people and various forms of luggage between us and the door, Dave thought the best solution would be to jump out the window and sprint to the closest ATM at every bus stop. This was great entertainment for everyone watching and was met with cheers and applause, but we still had no money. We managed to scrounge together some money to change, but not enough to get us all the way to Mwanza, our final destination.

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Compared to the nice, new border office that we left in Rwanda, the Tanzanian police greeted us from a tin shack. Then we had to jump in the back of a shared taxi to get to the nearest town. In Tanzania, you can fit not only 4 people in the back but also 4 people in the front... this meant 2 people sitting in the drivers seat! Noone apart from us and Lucy, our new English friend, thought this was strange or at all illegal. The roads are of a different quality in Tanzania too, we bounced down dirt tracks whilst overtaking cows and cars and drove over potholes that my Micra would never get out of.

We found out we couldn't make it to Mwanza in one day so had to find a hotel: there was no shower, no lights and barely a toilet. But it cost us $6 for 3 people... silve lining.
Since then, everything has gone a lot more smoothly despite: Dave fearing to go to sleep as he was sitting next to two chickens on the bus, having to help a taxi driver jump start his car (whilst looking for ATMs), regular power cuts and cold showers!

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Posted by silve_lining 08:06

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