After a fantastic time in Kigali , I decided to head west and take the road up to a town called Gisenyi so that I could spend some time exploring the lake and the surrounding mountains . It is only about a 160 kilometres from the city but takes around three hours , the road passes through valleys and mountains for the most part of the ride. It has to be one of the most scenic rides I have ever done it was absolutely amazing. Victoria and I leaning into these wonderful corners that throw you right , then left , then up and over the top just to be sent down into the valley before it all starts again , scootering at its best . One buzzes past villages , tea plantations , banana trees , the land so rich with life.
The area is very agriculturally rich with everything you can think of being planted or harvested , on one of the hillsides I spotted this clay brick open air factory for lack of a better description , it was incredible to watch from a distance as to how the bricks started life on the mud flats to end their journey constructing homes after spending sometime basking in the sun on the hillside. The beautiful homes and villages nestled into the mountains and hills sporting their Tuscan style roof tiles , clay brick walls all surrounded by this rich soil and dense greenery.
The ride west really is dreamlike you find yourself cocooned in this beautiful lush land that lulls one into a state of harmony with nature and rural life , I found myself slowing down and stopping more just to admire this place and way of life. I stopped off for breakfast at a roadside restaurant and as usual was made to feel right at home with the chef and owner coming out to introduce themselves , telling me about the area , the gorilla naming ceremony that was happening up the road , the restaurant and so I sat a guest , touched by the people of Rwanda enjoying my thermos and eggs.
The towns and villages I passed through all vibrant and filled with street live , yet so clean , neat and beautifully maintained , in a very simple proud way .
So the road took me into Gisenyi and onto the shores of Lake Kivu , I rode slowly through the town admiring its streets and ended up at the main beach , sitting in the shade observing holiday makers and locals alike enjoying this beautiful place.
So I followed the lakeshore road back out of town for the short ride to my destination Inzu lodge , perched on the hillside with magnificent views of the lake.
I spent the next couple of hours relaxing in the open air lounge , restaurant and bar area overlooking the lake reading , with the shores of the Congo on the distant horizon. As the sun started to set and the colours started to change the lake , came the beautiful sound of the fishermen singing as they sailed their boats out on to the lake for the evenings ritual .
The singing continues all the way out into the bay and as the sun disappears the singing dies down and all that is left are the shining lanterns on their boats as they settle down for the night .
Up early to enjoy the sunrise , that I unfortunately missed , I spent the morning reading and then in the afternoon set off to go and hike in the mountains , to explore village life high up in the more remote areas around Lake Kivu. Wow what a great way to spend the lazy afternoon hours. I hiked up from the lodge my aim the top , got totally lost and had to go off- piste to find the top , which I eventually did using what I think only the goats used.
As I made my way to the top I was astonished that people could actually farm at this gradient , I was finding it virtually impossible to even walk up right. The climb was well worth it as the views just picture perfect .
I spent sometime at the top before making my way down the path that would take me through mountain villages all the way back into town and finally the lodge for some well deserved ice cold water and some refreshing tea , it had been a testing four hours . The lower down I got so more and more children came out to walk along and soon enough the pied piper was heading for home .
The evening was spent enjoying Isambaza a local fish dish in a delicious rich sauce. The fish are tiny about the size of a french fry , fried to crispy perfection . I spent the rest of the evening in the gracious company of a family from France who’s roots span both continents , divided by the events earlier in Rwanda’s history and now re united to enjoy a country and family while cousins and generations born to both worlds meet for the first time . Just amazing .
Today it is back to Kigali , all roads lead to and from this hub, no matter where you are going or coming from Kigali the star holds the road to your next destination . I have not made any decisions around how long I will spend in the city before moving on to Uganda . Lets see what the day brings.
Until we meet again.