Friday, 20 September 2019

Kibuye Boat Ride

All rested and relaxed, we hired a car and I drove up to Kibuye for the start of our tour of Rwanda. We were on the road by mid-day and travelling the lovely route to Kibuye. We stopped off at Chutes Ndaba, which is a huge waterfall just before you reach the town. Local kids run up to play music on homemade instruments and tell the story, in extremely broken English, of the greedy honey collector who leaned too far over the edge and fell. I visited a couple of months back with Harris and Rose. He took this clip at the time.

I've always stayed at Bethany when I visit Kibuye, but it isn't the most luxurious guesthouse and this time I decided to try somewhere Harris suggested: Rwiza Village. He went with his folks and said it was really nice, so I decided to check them out - enticed by their residents' discount. 

Obviously, it's quite nerve racking taking your parents somewhere you've never been before and hoping the quality will be sufficient. I was made a little more nervous by the road to get there, which was pretty steep and uneven. We definitely needed a RAV4 to get there.

But the moment we pulled into the car park, I was smitten. The view across the lake was beautiful, and we arrived just in time for sunset. 

The rooms completely outstripped expectation. I had a little trouble trying to imagine them when Harris explained, and the website doesn't do them justice, but I'm so glad we stayed here. The apartments are small and compact, but with bathroom, warm shower and little private balconies looking right out across the water. It truly is idyllic.

(panoramic, click to enlarge)

That night we ventured down to the restaurant to order nibbles whilst waiting for my boyfriend to arrive for dinner. He'd been on secondment from Pfunda to a new tea garden about an hour from Kibuye, where he was responsible for installing the new processing machines and preparing everything for launch day. He was supposed to be back in Gisenyi, but work had delayed him, so he very bravely agreed to drive out to meet us at Rwiza. Things are very new with us. We've been friends for a couple of years, but it only became more than that a couple of months ago. I wouldn't ordinarily introduce my partner to my parents after just two months, but, circumstances being what they were, what the hay?

It turned out to be a really good night. Also bumped into friends from Kigali, Shema and Jeremy, who were there for a conference, so that took the pressure off a little. 

Me, Shema, Mum & Merrick

Parents and boyfriend got along swimmingly. He met the rest of the family - Lenny the Lion and Woodsey the Tiger, and didn't run away screaming. I take that as a good sign.

L-R: Woodsey, Lenny, Percy & Mum

The next morning, we had a leisurely breakfast and a very relaxed day enjoying the view of the lake and watching all the pretty birds.

View from the balcony.
View from the restaurant.
(panoramic, click to enlarge)
Breakfast of banana, tree tomatoes, passion fruit, pineapple and local oranges.

Mum and Merrick went for a little wander down to the water's edge and encountered a cow.

In the evening I did take them to Bethany just for tradition's sake, but the place has gone downhill a bit service-wise and the food wasn't so good. 

The next morning was a little less tranquil as there's a giant cattle market across the bay and Fridays are market day. We were woken extremely early by the sound of squealing animals, which went on all day. Mum said it reminded her of childhood, having grown up on a farm and attended many cattle markets. I was kind of glad to leave it behind, though.

We escaped on a boat around the islands. You can book one for FRW 15,000 per hour from reception and it arrived just as we finished breakfast.

We went out for a couple of hours to Amahoro (Peace) Island. Cue gratuitously large number of pictures of water...

(panoramic, click to enlarge)




Once on the island, you can go for a little walk around a circular path. We saw some beautiful flowers and made friends with the local giant millipedes.

Trying to disguise themselves as these seed pods, perhaps?
 Then it was all back aboard to head home to Rwiza and the road up to Gisenyi.

Coming back into Rwiza, we passed Rwanda's new KivuWatt power station. Kivu is one of the world's three exploding lakes. This extracts methane gas from the lake and turns it into energy. It provides a significant amount of the country's power, and hopefully helps to reduce the gas pressure in the lake.


These buoys indicate where the gas line is coming from the extraction point into the station.


As we came into port, our lovely captain took us on a short detour over to the cattle market. People come by boat from Congo to purchase all sorts of animals: pigs, goats, sheep, cows, chickens, etc. Then ferry them back across the border.

Then it was back to shore and up the hill for a nice cup of tea before our onward journey.


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