Saturday, January 24, 2015

Road Trip Burundi

Where do ex-pats in Burundi go on Vacation?  Rwanda. Where do ex-pats go to vacation when their visa renewal process takes over 2 months and they don’t have their passports back in time to go to Rwanda? That’s what we had to figure out.
With our Rwandan vacation cancelled we scrambled for a new plan. Greg, since first looking at the huge map of Burundi we have on the wall in our house, has wondered if we could follow the road that passes through Kibuye south towards Tanzenia and then go west towards Lake Tanganyka then follow another road north along the lake all the way to Bujumbura.  This Burundi Road trip became our new plan, exploring the yet unexplored (by anyone we know) parts of Burundi.  It wasn’t until the day before we left that we fully committed to the route. We were unsure if the roads would be paved, and even paved roads in Burundi are painfully pitted with potholes. The road south and west actually ended up being one of the better roads I’ve been on in this country.  There were potholes, but not many, there were not many cars coming at high speed from the opposite direction, the roads were less windy than the drive north with far fewer cliff dropoffs. There were not many people walking or riding bikes along the side of the road (which always scares me). It was beautiful open countryside of Burundi. 
After a 4 hour drive south and west we stopped in Nyanza Lac where we spent two nights at the East African Hotel. 

Glad Greg splurged for the $30/ night room with a view.

Fish drying

The Burton Speke Monument  - for the first Europeans to search the great lakes of Africa for The Source of the Nile 

We then traveled the straighter but much worse road north along the lake all the way up to Bujumbura. 
We spent 5 nights in Buja at the home of some gracious missionaries who allowed their home to be used by us while they were out of the country.  We had a great time exploring Buja, shopping, and eating foods much different than our normal Kibuye menu allows.  We spent Ella’s birthday swimming at a nearby hotel and even found a Thai restaurant for her traditional birthday dinner (we actually couldn’t find the Thai restuarant so we called the number we had and the man that answered offered to meet us and lead us to the restaurant. He ended up being the owner and the restaurant was quite nice.)


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