Friday, July 27, 2012

Mwanza and heading out of Tanzania

After nearly six weeks in Tanzania we made it to our final stop, Mwanza.

Mwanza is located on Lake Victoria and I would have loved to have spent a few days there, however due to time constraints resulting from holding permits for the Gorillas in Rwanda, we could only spend two nights there and most of our time was spent running errands!

On the way to Mwanza from Serengeti: I loved this sign! 
And the bridge the sign refers to. They're not kidding!
 We stayed at Tunza Lodge, about 8km from the main town but totally worth it if you have your own transport. Set on its own private beach we had a lovely view of the lake and the bar/ restaurant (despite the ordinary food) was a great place to sit and relax and enjoy the company of the South African group we met in Arusha a few days earlier. Tunza Lodge was more reasonably priced than many of the other lodges in town too (we paid $60pn) and allows camping on request.

Our "beach side" chalet
And the view from our chalet at sunset......
....not too shabby :-)

Mwanza was lovely. It was much bigger than I’d expected and a tad hectic, but the surrounding hills and view out onto the lake gave it a very nice feel.

Hectic Mwanza traffic
The view at lunch
Mountains on the lake
Anyway, after our two nights there we made the decision to make a mad dash for the Rwandan border, with the aim of arriving in Kigali in one day. We could not find a good place to stop between Mwanza and the border and thought it best to knock it off as quickly as possible.

And so we had a very early rise, departing Tunza Lodge at 5:15am with the aim of making the first ferry across Lake Victoria at 6:30am. The Kikongo ferry is only around 20km out of town and we made it easily. It was a very cheap ferry ride too; around 7,000TSH for us and the car.

Arriving for the early morning ferry 
And the ferry ride begins...
....and Mike waiting for it to end
The end in sight!
A 30 minute trip to the other side and we were back on the road, most of which was tar (minus 50km of gravel) and quite good.

We arrived at the border at lunchtime, very happy with ourselves but also a bit sad to leave Tanzania. Despite having a few hiccups and a hectic last few weeks, Tanzania was a great place to visit and had so much to do! As we got stamped out I made a quick visit to the customs toilet block and decided that there was one thing I wouldn’t miss about Tanzania: The squat toilets J

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