06 January 2009
From Kigali we travelled to Gahini by the road along the northern shore of the lake. Although the road is at places in a bad condition it was a nice trip. We had booked the Seeds of Peace Guesthouse for the night. We got rooms in a recently constructed building with hardly furniture except beds and bed nets. Hot water and electricity were functioning. The servants were very inactive. That’s why we decided to take our dinner in the nearby Jambo Beach restaurant. Although the servants were a bit more energetic than in the guesthouse, we had to wait more than an hour before a not very good dinner was served. We had quite some language problems.
We can´t recommend the guesthouse and those who want to have food in the Jambo Beach restaurant are advised to pass their command beforehand.
Akagera National Park
07 January 2009
Having visited the park several times between 1981 and 1986 and no space left in our Toyota Prado turbo diesel (because with 6 adults we were already quite squeezed) we decided to go without a guide. The map at the entrance gate shows 2 interconnected circuits: Lakes and Mountains. No map was available to take with us in the car.
We entered the park at 10 a.m on the Lakes circuit and around 2 p.m. we were just north of Lake Hago where we took the Mountains circuit, expecting to reach the entrance gate around 5 p.m.. However little by little the road appeared to be in a very bad condition. Especially where it follows the western boarder of the park. We got stuck several times and had to make our way through the bush. Finally we reached point 24 (as shown on the map at the entrance gate) and joined the Lakes circuit, at Lake Birengero. The road between point 24 and point 5) is not included in the map in the Bradt Guide.
We arrived at the entrance gate at 9 p.m. and by that time all the guards had left. When we reported our experiences the following morning, the guards told us that they know that the Mountains circuit is in very bad condition along the western border. One would expect this information to be given to visitors before they enter the park, especially because there is largely sufficient staff around at the gate. Furthermore if the park has to attract more tourists, maintenance of all the roads inside the park should get the highest priority. In Kigali we found out that at the ORTPN office there was no map for visitors either.
12 January 2009
Madam Jamila Hamood has left Motel La Bella and moved to Jamila Beach Bungalows in Rubona. However upon arrival at her new site we learned that water and electricity supply are not yet well installed. This made us decide to stay in the nearby Paradis Malahide. We were very well received by the very energetic and service oriented personnel and enjoyed the traditional dancing and singing of a local intore group. Moreover the food was excellent and served in a very original way on wooden plates, wooden cutlery and locally made pottery.
Posted by Egbert Hoving