We departed Mwanza just after 5:30pm on Friday. Destination Rwanda! Our first stop was to be Shinyanga just three hours down the road but enough to shave off our journey to allow a realistic arrival at the border
As we travelled south we saw flashes of lightning indications of the oncoming storm.
As night fell so did the rain but the road to Shinyanga was fine other than the extensive use of speed bumps and the insistence of most Tanzanian drivers to keep their lights on full beam. There were many Kamikaze frogs leaping out in front of us on the roads as we travelled.
We finally pitched up in Shinyanga at 9pm and looked for the recommended hotel- not as easy in the dark. Eventually we found the Diamond Fields Hotel. Initial perceptions were good, the rooms were clean and the food menu was extensive.
For three of us the food promise fulfilled expectations but the fourth meal, a cheeseburger was missing the vital ingredient- the burger. There followed a long discussion in Kiswahili about what actually constitutes a Cheeseburger, our waitresses and chefs adamant that the constituents should resemble a hot cheese roll. After over ten minutes of arguing and resorting to google images we eventually got a burger! At midnight!
We resolved we would leave at 6pm forgoing the breakfast! Although our rooms were comfortable enough sleep was a little disturbed by the sound of the adjacent nightclub, alternating with the cacophony of croaks of the locals frog chorus and finally the local Imam who sounded like we was praying right outside our door for the morning call to prayer!
Our morning journey went well – the roads were good and we made excellent progress.
It was as we were nearing the border that the roads began to crumble. Speed slowed as we needed to negotiate significant pot-holes. The number of lorries (especially Petrol Tankers) did nothing to speed us on our way.
The cars taking vicarious routes along the broken road.
There were vain attempts to repair them with earth being used to infill the pot-holes.
We reached the border late afternoon and waited for the officials to process our visa applications.
The other side of the line there were changes. Rwanda is a much cleaner place, a ban on plastic bags contributing to a lack of litter. The roads are much better too as we climb through the hills to Kigali, passing rice paddies and other farms.
At 6pm we reached Kigali and our accommodation -Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel.
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When I first arrived in Tanzania, in 1984, my job was to handle all the insurances for the project that employed me. Most reported incidents were minor vehicle collisions, and your image of vehicled negotiation potholes brought to mind one incident that had the insurance company’s claims people scratching their heads. The brief description of the accident? ‘Collided with rear of oncoming vehicle’!
The rest of your images, especially the last ten, left me with a strange feeling that I can only describe as homesickness, even though I spent only two of my (so far) 66 years in the country.
Keith Channing A-Zing from http://keithkreates.com
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