Judy’s updates

Have recently returned from Rwanda. So impressed with the beauty of the countryside and what a change to have no litter.
We arranged our own travel but found the Rwanda tourist Office very slow to respond to emails regarding the gorilla trek permits.

Would challenge your info that recommends Mastercard. Did not find it accepted in the main towns we visited( unless just unlucky)
Kigali,Gisenyi,Rubona and Kibuye. Plus on a hotel bill a 25 dollar charge was expected for using a Visa card.

Whilst in Rubona we walked to find the “hot springs” (p.174) We befriended a young boy who wanted to practise his English and he took us through some very poor settlements to see them. I did get the impression that the locals were berating him for doing so.

The water is indeed extremely hot and steamy, but it is a very small area of lakeside and is interesting, but not stunning overall. One person was bathing in the water as we arrived.

We did go over into Goma for three days, but found it such a contrast that we did not find it easy or relaxing. Dirty and chaotic. In the forest area to the north of Lake Kivu, a villager had been killed by a chimpanzee,although I don’t know in what circumstance, so another danger of which to be aware.



7 thoughts on “Judy’s updates

  1. philipbriggs says:

    Thanks for this Judy,
    Just a note with ref to Mastercard, I am guessing you have an old edition, as Master card used to be more widely accepted than Visa but that is no longer the case and we do explain this on page 48 of the 4th edition – Visa is the better bet now, though neither are very widely accepted as compared to in the USA or Europe!

  2. Robin Crowell says:

    So did you find VISA was helpful to have? Was it taken? How useful are traveller’s checks there? Will be traveling there in July.
    How did you find people responding to bombings in Kigali?

    • philipbriggs says:

      Hi Robin, I do deal with these questions in the book, but in essence credit cards are of limited use and only really accepted at a few upmarket hotels (and then often at a charge) and facilities for drawing money are also very limited (just one bank in Kigali), as are opportunities to change TCs. For a short holiday, cash is your best bet. I’ve not been in Kigali nor had any feeback since the bombings.

  3. LIZ HOBBY says:

    Hi Judy,
    This is a country where about 500,000 to 800, 000 people were killed in horrific ways. Of course you know this. So don’t expect it to be normal. The majority of the population have had most of their family murdered so they are extremely traumatized and there are few , if any, mental health services. I am sorry to belabor this point, please excuse me. I think we should consider ourselves lucky to be able to travel at all, in this, as you said, extremely beautiful country. We took in all our cash and did not use travellers’ cheques.

  4. Judy says:

    A follow up to Philib Briggs re the Mastercard issue. It was newly taken out only one week before leaving, specifically because we had read your Guide.

    As for taking cash, we were away for almost three weeks and stayed in a variety of places – the wonderful Paradiso in Rubona being one.
    As we are retired we perhaps felt more vulnerable initially about carrying money.

    • philipbriggs says:

      Thanks for the follow-up Judy. Can you confirm whether you were using the 3rd edition (traditional dancer on cover) or 4th edition (gorilla on cover)? So far as I know, I changed all recommendations of MasterCard over Visa for the 4th edition, but if you used that edition, then I need to check for other obsolete references!

  5. Judy says:

    Yes Philip – it was the 3rd edition. Perhaps a pointer for me to always look up on the appropriate website before buying the “latest guide”

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