Not every day you get to see magnificent sceneries, spectacular views or have simple yet uniquely awesome holiday experiences especially not in the most unspoken sites. Before I go on, you probably already know that usually I would enjoy sharing this with friends on a weekend or during my “feierabend” hours somewhere at the usual hangout spots. But then, I realized I had to catch up with the rest of you who enjoy a good read. You will enjoy this one as well, that’s for sure, I hope.
Now, as I was saying, for most of us upon having thoughts of holiday destinations in Rwanda, areas like Kibuye, Gisenyi, Rusizi and the likes ring the loudest bells. And, it’s in these places that you will catch crowds flocking every now and then simply because there is not so much of options or they are used to business as usual. There are plenty of other cool places to visit in Rwanda; you just have to look away from the usual
Somewhere on the twin lakes, Burera and Ruhondo in Northern Rwanda lies several islands gently placed on the lakes. I recently found myself enjoying the stay at one of the islands with my girlfriend and it could not have gotten any better.
To get there, requires bit of patience as the mini-bus from Musanze town to Rugarama center (last bus terminal to the shore) will start a bunch of times before it completely sets off. And as if that’s not enough, the bus will have to make several stops anywhere and everywhere to have passengers on and off, sort of awakened my Kampala mini-bus experiences. In any case the bus ride will take you 30-40 minute to the shore terminal.
You will be happy to get off the bus squeeze for a more interesting adventure, the walk to the shore. Any dweller of the surrounding will lay conviction that it’s a 20 minutes’ walk but I would advise to buckle up for almost an hour of calisthenics down to the lake shore, less exhausting if you have less luggage. Upon reaching the shore you will indisputably start doing the math of your way back to the bus terminal because you will then have realized the downhill exhaustion which you will be comparing to the uphill on your way back. Ok, relax; you will make it somehow (if you believe so). For now you would want to optically treat yourself to the startling views that stretch to the horizons as you bend low to get on the 10 minutes canoe ride to the island.
Normally it takes me great valor to get on a canoe on a water body as I am a less than an average swimmer and a renown aqua phobic especially in this particular case where a few had to peddle and one of us constantly fetching the water from the leaking canoe back to the lake. Admittedly, I couldn’t afford unflinching but I was assured that nothing could go wrong. Still, I kept thinking about the dangerous aquatic animals, for a while
Soon enough the aqua-phobia was drifted away by the undeniable distraction of the breath-taking and unmatched splendors surrounding the lake. I turned my head uncontrollably from side to side to look at the stunning rolling hills and epic green mountainous sights engulfing the lake. By this time it was getting dark from grayish and I didn’t even notice but still it was marvelous.
The calm wind blowing and the noticeable silence during the peddle breaks obliged the pinnacle of the surrounding beauty. As we got closer to the island dock, more unmatched landscapes unfolded, highlight of which was the Muhabura volcanoe that loomed sublimely in space and above the rest. Before I knew it we were at the island shore and couldn’t stop staring as we walked to the island facilities.
The structural comfort and facility set up of the residing premises perhaps won’t meet your standards but your eyes and mind will be more than pleased and compel you to stay longer at mama la Pillotte (where visitors/tourists stay), Cyuza island. The place is very simple, beautiful, isolated and an ample relaxation type of spot. The island is really small with not more than 4 local dwelling families on it plus the mama la Pillote humble residing facility where we stayed. You can only camp there though and they will be happy to accommodate you in their ever standing tents; adjacent to the lake and access the kitchen as well. Just carry some food from Musanze town or centers neighboring the shore. There will be also someone arranged to cook for you should there be the need.
I can’t imagine forgetting the support crew at the island, 3 or 4 boys, one of them Sylus, will be there to help with stuff like clean up, arrange cooking, make a camp fire, offer a boat ride to the neighboring islands, give historical facts of the area etc. They are very nice and will simply make you feel at home. They will wake up very early to set things up and engage in hard work throughout the day here and there but they will still carry a smile and tend to you excellently when needed. Their hard day’s workload is washed off by evening grins and giggles from chats and jokes over a camp fire or heavy load of potatoes and vegetables for dinner. I looked on as I saw their face beaming in blessedness and peace.
Every evening we staged up at the terrace to gaze at the sunset until the darkness took over. In the fore ground is the evening glitters of the lake and in the middle ground are the shanty-like trees assembled at the shady and slanting hill helms curving a line across the landscapes and against the slightly dimming sky with cloud scatters in the far background. Imagine that.
The phone camera let me down though, didn’t do justice to the pictures as you may see. Our plan was to stay one night but ended up adding an extra night, we wished we could stay longer but adventure called elsewhere. If the weather allows, you will be able to do quite a bunch at the islands and have a great time. Well folks, I would like to continue with this but I would rather let the rest be seen than heard or read. Till next time.