Lake Kivu

When traveling, you will visit many different places, and a lot of different accommodations. Most accommodations are nice, with good service and decent rooms. Often, we stay at places with beautiful views. We don't always mention where we stay. All places have positive and less positive aspects, but we appreciate all accommodations where we stay. However, sometimes we encounter places that are just too good not to mention and sometimes we arrive at places where we agree to stay just one night. At lake Kivu, we encountered both ends of that spectrum.

In Lake Bunyonyi, we stayed at Byoona Amagara, a lovely place with a beautiful view of the lake from our own geodome and many plants to host beautiful birds. At lake Kivu, in Gisenyi, we found its Rwandan counterpart at Inzu lodge. A lovely lodge on the hills next to lake Kivu. We slept in a tent with view of the lake and in front of our tent were many flowers and many birds. The food was great and we decided to stay an extra night. 

We chose to use our time at Inzu Lodge to take a walk along the lake through the village. It was a nice walk similar to the one we did in Sipi, Uganda. We got a good glimpse of life in the village. We also met some very lovely people. A Belgian lady and a German lady who both joined us on the hike (or we joined them ;)). Another guy we met, was a Dutchman called Niek. We usually don't mention the names of people we meet, for their privacy. Niek, however, would become a special guy in our Rwanda journey. At the lodge, we had a nice chat with him about Rwanda (he is traveling in the country alone), the Netherlands and other countries we have visited. The next day, we were set to go to Kibuye, another town at lake Kivu. Niek knows a place where he has stayed before when hiking the Congo-Nile trail and is heading back there. We have set our eyes on a campsite on the lakeshore. 

The next day we have breakfast, greet each other, and leave for Kibuye. It is a lovely, yet very curvy ride along the coast of lake Kivu - as you can see on Google maps. Rain came pouring down so heavily, we could not see much on certain parts. Luckily, the speed limit in most of Rwanda is 60 km/h anyway so we take it easy. Once we arrive at the (very small and abandoned) campsite, we are a little hesitant. The attendant tells us we can camp for about the same amount of money that we paid at Inzu Lodge. The restaurant is full of building equipment and trash, and there is no place to spend some nice time outside our tent. So we are a little disappointed by the downgrade. They have rooms which are even more expensive, but they do not offer that much extra. So we leave and decide to try our luck somewhere else. 

The next place is a bit similar. The room is nice, but the surroundings are not very inspiring. On top of that, it is now also raining. There is no restaurant, so we have to go to another place to eat. We decide to try out the place Niek had mentioned to have lunch, and if this would be no better, we go back to the second option. When we arrive at our third location, we are greeted with a loud 'Hoihoi!'. With his famous Niek-greeting, we see Niek arrive at the same time as we do on the back of a motorbike. 

Apparently, our luck has run out a little. There are no rooms available that night. The problem is, we have to cover 4 nights. We have an activity booked 4 nights from this one and between Kibuye and that place, are no other spaces to stay that appeal to us. This is the main reason we decided not to use the first two options. They would be more than fine for a night, but we did not see ourselves spend 4 nights in either place. Unfortunately, the same goes for this place. 

As there were no rooms available, we came up with the option to set up our tent just outside the gate. There is a place for camping on the grounds of the lodge, but we cannot get there with our car. When we mentioned to them the option that we would camp just outside the gates, they tried to charge us around €20. When we said that this would be a bit much for a spot OUTSIDE the lodge ground and outside the gate, they did agree with us. We agreed to pay about €10 for the guard to keep us safe. Of course, we never saw the guard at night, but we did feel kind of safe. With a big car and rooftop tent, we were kind of an attraction. People passing by would stop, stare at us for quite a while and shout at us. Not the ideal situation, but for one night we should be fine. 

Between lunch and dinner, we chatted with Niek again. He is kind of in the same situation. He is looking for people to join to share the costs of the (rather expensive) activities Rwanda has to offer. On your own, it is quite expensive. We had made the choice to leave Inzu, to explore more of the Kivu short, but the place we ended up was rather depressing. It did not help that it was still raining and gray. A bit disappointed and with no idea how to spend the next 4 days and where, we were already accepting the fact that we would spent a few days waiting here. Traveling is amazing and it gets us to some of the most amazing places, meeting wonderful people and having the best experiences we have ever had, but it also means a lot of uncertainty. Where to go next? Where will we end up? What if something happens to us? How do we keep safe everywhere we go and on the road? There are good (amazing days) and there are bad days. But all days require some flexibility and fortunately, Africans tend to be flexible as well...

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