Big Badda Boom in the middle of the night

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We were woken with a start to a MASSIVE BANG and a flash of light. We both sat up straight in bed – it’s 3:30 am in Rwanda and all i can hear is boiling water bubbling bubbling and water pouring everywhere. Our hot water system has exploded and is pouring boiling water all over the bathroom.  Amazingly the power is still on – guessing they don’t have safety switches here.


John opens the door to the bathroom and massive wall of steam pours out – it’s pretty busted. John wanders out in search of somebody to tell. There is steam pouring out of the room and now I can smell some sort of metallic gassy smell. I grab our passports and go outside for a bit into the fresh air. Water starts pouring out the front door, so I go back inside and pull everything off the floor for now.

Meanwhile, John has been playing charades with the french-speaking security guard trying to explain that our hot water system has gone bang and water is going everywhere. He comes back with the security guard and he sees the water pouring out the door and gets on the radio to somebody. It was a bit of a flash back to The Fifth Element as the guys looks at me, I say “BOOM” with some gesturing, he nods and says “big boom” and I nod, he nods back.

He runs off and quickly comes back with a key to the room next door and helps us grab most of our stuff and move there. We sit down on the bed and can still hear the hot water system gurgling next door. I wander towards our new bathroom and hit a puddle of water – coming in from our old room.

Outside we go and start charades again until someone else arrives who I think could be a manager who speaks English. He gets it straight away, grabs a few more staff who are starting to gather and they all grab our gear and we’re moved into a room in a different block. Meanwhile we can see sparks and the lights flickering on/off in our room, and someone has come over with a giant fire extinguisher to be safe. Some of our stuff is still in the bathroom and the guy wants to get it for us. We’re trying to explain our toothbrushes etc aren’t that important and it could be dangerous in there. They finally give up on the rest of our gear till light and wishes us a good sleep. 

It starts to rain, and rain heavy as we’re wide awake on top of our new beds. After slipping a bunch of times yesterday after it got wet I’m calling it – no hike for me. At some point we do go to sleep and our alarm goes off – I’m dead tired and it’s still wet outside. They guy who helped us move our gear knocks on our door and has retrieved what gear we had in our bathroom and apologies like 10 times. John goes out to tell our driver no hike for us. He’ll come back after lunch to take us back to Kigali.

It was actually nice to go back to sleep and have a bit of a sleep in after getting up pretty early (for us) every other day.

We have lunch and the owners come over apologise about our room. Now that I’ve had some sleep and it’s a few hours on, it’s actually kinda amusing. It’s not their fault at all, could have happened anywhere and nobody was hurt so all good. Every time I try and picture John trying to mime hot water system blown up I laugh to myself. The staff did handle it very well. I can picture if it was at home getting someone on the front desk who didn’t have the authority to move us or going to the other extreme and evacuating the building and leaving all our gear covered in fire extinguisher foam.


We start the 2 hour drive back and after going though hills and hills of fully cultivated land we catch sight of the city in the distance.


The terraced paddocks of crops are replaced with lots of housing.

We arrive at our room for the night at Step Town Motel. The view from the balcony next to us is quite nice (pic at top of post) and can see across much of the city.  We rest up here for the night as we’re getting up early for a 6am flight tomorrow morning back to Johannesburg, which means we have to be at the airport at 4am. Then a big drive down to Drakensburg to spend a few days hiking around the amphitheatre. Not sure what our internet coverage will be like down there so may be a bit quiet till we get home.