Starting a friendship with a thermostat



// Nikon D7200 | -1,94093 : 30,06518 | alt. 1440m

Time to cross the border, we applied online for an evisa (3 days process) to Rwanda. Surprisingly here, the whole immigration process for both sides takes place in one building ! How convenient ! With Tanzanian and Rwandan customs sitting next to each others, this helps a bit 🙂
Tanzanian part is done in 2min, but they won’t stamp out your passport if you don’t have a visa for Rwanda (so you don’t get stuck in an infinite loop between 2 borders, which is no more than 10cm between 2 counters in this case !). Next part is Rwanda, and french is spoken here ! However, there is a small issue, we need a hard copy of our visa application. This is not mentioned on any document, and obviously, there is no printer in their office…. Someone came to us, and arranged to print copies straight from our phones to a local internet cafe nearby for free…. thanks bud ! Always keep copies of those precious documents on your phone when you cross a border !!
Vehicle part with a carnet is a piece of cake, but it didn’t go so well for Eiji. Rwanda must be the only country issuing a 30 days visa, and a 14 days importation permit for the vehicle….. absolute non sense ! No possibility to extend it, we’ll have to hit a border post in exactly 14 days to renew this permit. We’re not even sure to stay more than 2 weeks here, but you never know….. There is one more curiosity in Rwanda, they drive on the other side ! The exit makes a weird S to swap the left and right lanes, I’m now driving on the correct side of the road 😀

A few meters away from the border, my engine temperature alarm went off……. and I almost fried the engine on this short stretch to Kigali…… I’ve got a faulty thermostat acting since South Africa, and I had hope it could more or less do its job until Kenya, this was clearly too optimistic.

Lack of options, we ended up staying at the Step Town motel in Kigali. Nicely located on a hill with stunning view over the city, this place could be perfect, if only the manager wasn’t such a dick. We can camp on their car park for 10 000 rf, including toilets, breakfast, but no shower ! For that, you have to pay an extra 5000 rf (6eur extra for a shower, yup !). At least, they have wifi, which I always need to look up for mechanical advice.
Since other options are closed or running down, the Step Town motel is more or less the only option in Kigali for overlanders, this means there are all passing by. A few days ago I saw a post on the overland sphere from a certain Uwe, looking for mechanical advice in town, we had a quick chat and decided to meet at the Mamba club. This is one of the best place to hang out in town, with lot of locals coming for fun. We also met a few expats working here, and we made a big table to meet everyone. A very nice evening ! It is also possible to camp at Mamba, but they are closing tonight for renovation……
Back to my car, back to mechanical issues. I’m trying to diagnose the problem myself, but it seems a bit more complex than before. I tried the local Mitsubishi shop, but no one wanted to help.

Meanwhile, new overlanders came in, Rudi and Martina from Germany. They started from Mombasa and went north to Ethiopia before doing the Uganda-Rwanda detour to Tanzania. They quickly became friends and we spent a few evenings together, having beers, or delicious pizzas at Sole Luna in Kigali. It is worth mentioning you can find pretty much whatever you want in Kigali, including cassoulet with duck confit at La Galette, with cheese (and the good stuff !), first time in Africa we could find such delicacies !
Well, it’s all nice and fun, but my mr Fox is not running !!!!

Following Eiji’s advice, I went to Toyota to get my oil, and this where I met Yann.

We talked for 5min, he fixed my fan clutch (we bypassed the clutch system, so the fan is always running at full speed), and I got from him a new thermostat for my engine. Same shape, not exactly the same temperature rating, but hey, it works better than the current pizza box I put on the radiator !
It went so well with him I invited him for a beer at our hotel that night.
He came back one more night with his wife Jeanne, and after a couple of days at this hotel, they invited us to camp at their place. This was quality time and friendship building up over there….. we met a lot of very nice people during those few nights, including one playing UNO until sunrise…. that’s how much fun we had !

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