5 days in Rwanda: Kigali - Volcanoes National Park. Gorilla trekking and Bisoke Crater Lake
Written on: March 29, 2016
I visited in March 2016
The trip was great! Everything was very nice, all the people were helpful and friendly. Sam and Francis were great. I liked both hotels- the breakfast at the hotel in Kigali was really amazing. And the service at the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge was excellent. The car also worked out quite well. I had no problem finding Kigali airport and on the two days trekking I just drove to the main center and then caught rides with people with big safari cars to the start of the hikes (often it was only 1-3 people in a safari car that must seat at least 5-6 so was also more environmentally friendly to carpool).
Only bad thing that happened is I was stopped by traffic police not long after leaving Musanze on the way to Kigali. That road goes from 60 to 40 km/h very often, and the police stopped me literally about 2 meters after the 40 km/h sign saying I had been going too fast. He showed me the speed gun and indeed I was going more than 40, but thinking back, he must have targeted the car before the sign because he was already waving me down before I crossed the 40 sign. Anyway, long story short, he told me I had to pay 25,000 as a fine (around $33 US). He wanted to keep the yellow car registration card and said I had to take a ticket and go pay at a bank and then go to a police station, but I said I'm going straight to the airport. So he ended up taking all the rest of my money (22,000 francs) and giving me the yellow card back and let me go.
When I met Francis at the airport he told me the cop just pocketed my money. I think maybe that is a risk of driving yourself, it seemed like when Sam drove he didn't get stopped and he also told me some of the police are his friends. Maybe the Rwandan drivers don't get stopped as much, or don't get charged if they do, so don't know if it is worth mentioning to future clients who drive themselves. I am still happy with my choice to drive myself, only maybe I should have been more watchful about the police. It was no big deal, and better he just took the money than caused a bigger problem with an official ticket, but that was my only negative experience during a great weekend. And, like I said, otherwise it was a lovely drive, easy to manage even in Kigali following road signs, and the car was very nice and drove well.
Thanks so much for everything and a memorable trip! I still want to do the Nyiragongo hike, so maybe I will be in touch again.