OK, not this boat, per se, but a proper speedboat. Towering above the Gisenyi end of the lake is the active Nyiragongo Volcano, which actually lies in Congo, forever smoking and giving the ominous feel that it’s going to erupt at any point.
Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes and Rwanda’s equivalent of Lake Tahoe—a waterfront vacation spot—though much bigger. It covers a surface area of more than 1,000 square miles (versus Tahoe’s 190)!
Small towns and islands dotted the lake. We made a few stops, first to try some banana rum and other libations—and take copious amounts of photos of this charming Rwandan man. He was just too darn photogenic and already dressed for the occasion!
Fruit bats reign supreme in this area. There were, literally, thousands in the tree just outside of our hotel, and we cruised by a tiny islet where another clan of bats were causing quite the commotion. (We chose not to stop at this particular spot.)
The next place we offloaded was in a Congolese village, where the natives were ready for us, donning their most colorful frocks and busting some serious moves.
I’d be leading you on if I said we showed up and they just happened to be singing and dancing already. Well, actually, that is how it went—but they definitely knew we were coming. Visitors can pay money to come and observe such an act when traveling around the lake.
Even the little kids were getting in on the action, making me much more aware of my incoordination when it comes to dancing. I was perfectly fine sitting on the sidelines watching the spectacle and taking pictures of the other bystanders.
I’ve said this before, but I just can’t get over how the tiny little women haul around these cherub babies on their backs like so. Talk about needing a chiropractor later on in life!
But even more impressive were the young kids who toted around their not-that-much-younger siblings like it’s no big deal.
After an hour or so, we boarded the boat once again: It was time to go to the Congo. Or the border, rather. We actually did venture into the Republic of Congo, technically speaking, as the dividing line is somewhere in the middle of the lake.
But to reach it by land, you have to cross this footpath. None of us were so bold at the time. It took all the bravery I had to shoot some covert photos from the hip (I’m pretty sure my camera would have been confiscated had the border guards seen me). Oh well, next trip….