Colleen & I leave our Botswanan tour companions behind and grab a flight Maun – Jo burg. My direct flight from Jo burg to Rwanda had been canceled by the airline whilst I was in South Africa. My travel agent had been right on the ball and I was ‘painlessly’ rerouted through Uganda. I had checked with SA Airline about my flight before heading for Botswana so I was happy. Or so the theory goes! Unfortunately my plan of being able to accompany Colleen through the trials and tribulations of Jo burg airport was scuttled as my new flight was scheduled before hers. So she followed me to the check in counter for my flight.
Computer says no
It took nearly an hour to get my seat confirmed. The stress was building! I had a connecting flight in Uganda and on to my tour group in Rwanda. Given a boarding pass I ran thought the airport to the gate 24, listed on the pass. Wrong! Gate empty, display gate on the electronic board 5, other end of airport. More running but managed to get aboard after a hasty good by to Colleen.
The ticket issues was to follow me to Entebbe – Uganda and Kigali and return to Jo burg. Whilst paid and showed confirmed on my travel agents screen in Melbourne in Africa heavy negotiations and unraveling of airway screens took nearly an hour before each boarding.
The planned leisurely withdrawal of cash I needed for Rwanda on he way through Jo burg did not happen. So I subsequently arrived in Kigali with no cash. Needing US$50 to get a visa to leave the airport. No ATM’s in arrival area or any other part of the airport for that matter. The immigration officers graciously and unexpectedly allowed me to enter Rwanda but would need to return for my passport with US$50 cash. Now with no cash I get a taxi in an unsuccessful search of an ATM! Plan B: Take me to my hotel. Long negotiation with the skeptical hotel staff and they payed the taxi. Cut a long and stressful saga short. There are no ATM’s in Rwanda for foreign cards. The only bank in Kigali where I could get cash would not be open for 4 days because: closed for week end, monthly public service day and Genocide day. Tour operator trusted me to pay up US$650 for gorilla permits and I continued my travels through the trust and generosity of my fellow travelers, beginning with US$50 to get my passport. I will be forever grateful for their support.