Day 165- Day 166: Leaving the Lake Kivu. Huge variety today, amazing riding, and a near disaster!

"Into Africa" More than a Motorcycle Adventure
Howard Fairbank
Mon 21 Oct 2013 05:38



02:27.58S 28:54.07E 


Having spent yesterday on a lake shore route, I decided that it would be more valuable to head inland and visit some of the historical sites to be found there. The goal was Kamembe at the very southern tip of Lake Kivu, but I’d go about 80km inland to Muanda, and then to Nyanga, then Butare, then through Nyungwe National Park to Kamembe….


This was a long, but very interesting day. One that I can thank my lucky stars that I made it to Kamembe. Just 2okm out of Kibuye, I was enjoying the switch backs and ups and downs of the Rift valley terrain. The roads were good, little traffic, and I wasn’t trying to speed just get into a good rhythm. I must have been thinking about something else, but I do remember registering that it looked like a patch of loose tar stone on the road was coming up. Just as I was approaching a corner too. I do also remember saying to myself, the road is in great condition and what I see must be just a rough patch, but not loose stone.  Well as I lent the bike into the corner, I entered this ‘funny’ surface area, and then suddenly I just felt the back well slide for underneath me, and whoopsie I thought I was a gonna. Fortunately my natural reaction was to straighten up, tap off and lucky for me there was a road leading straight off infront of me, and I chose to take it rather than start cornering again…. Hey, that had been lucky, because if I had gone down, I was going fast enough that bones would have almost certainly been broken! I was actually tremblning as I came to a stop. A few locals had seen it all happen, and were looking on amazed too….


The ride from there to Nyanga was uneventful, and while I didn’t visit the old Chief’s  Palace I did go to the new one, which is now a great art gallery. No photos were allowed!


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From there I went to Murumbi, and the best Genocide Memorial that I saw. Pretty gruesome though, with hundreds of bodies on view…. Limewashed weeks after they were found, and so still with lots of flesh, and some still had hair. Sobering stuff, but all presented in a healing way. (No pictures allowed inside. This one below the excavated mass grave where a lot of the bodies on display came from…..


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From there I left for the Nyungwe National Park, which was an extraordinary ride, getting up to 2900m in places, hardly a car around and just pristine equatorial Rain Forest. The mountains forming the great Cong / Nile divide.   I finally arrived in Kamembe just at sunset, and found this great new guest house right on the lake, so decided to stay there for two days.


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Good bird life, busy Kamembe, and the DRC just across the peninsular. Border crossing literally 1 km away.