Our ancestors did a lot of walking and enjoyed sound health. Then came the industrial age and its ensuing evolution. Automobiles were invented and jobs that make us sit down all day were created. This new lifestyle led to the emergence of a plethora of diseases.
Influenced by widespread awareness, urban Rwandans are embracing walking once again. They are also turning to jogging and cycling in a bid to combat diseases caused by unhealthy lifestyles. In Kigali, car-free days’ activities attract numerous participants.
Some of us exercise while exploring remarkable attractions all over the land of 1,000 Hills. One stone can kill two birds.
From the plains of downtown Rubavu to the evergreen fields of Kamembe, the Congo Nile Trail attracts energetic hikers and cyclists determined to discover the hidden gems of the Kivu Belt through an off the beaten path.
The day I set foot on the Congo Nile Trail, I trekked up and down the rolling hills of Rubavu and Rutsiro. I rambled from Inzu Lodge, in the outskirts of Gisenyi, to a small lakeside village known as Cyimbiri. From there, I boarded a boat and sailed to Bugarura island. My experience on the island was memorable but the journey to Bugarura was as intriguing, if not more intriguing than the destination itself.
This long, vigorous walk in the countryside was food to my soul. The sensation of pursuing a scenic footpath on the shore of the lake I am obsessed with was worth every step I took.
The Congo Nile Trail captivates like-minded adventurers who appreciate the thrill of en route enchantment. Like me, they find the journey as delightful, if not more delightful than the destination itself.
The trail spans from Rubavu to Rusizi via Rutsiro, Karongi and Nyamasheke. Hikers need about 10 days to complete the entire 227 km passage. 5-day cycling tours and custom-made kayaking packages are also available. In most cases, tourists don’t cover the entire trail. Instead, they choose sections that suit their availability and preferences.
I saw signposts throughout the stretch I covered and I have been informed that the rest of the trail is marked. One doesn’t necessarily need a guide to indulge in this expedition. Besides, in this age of advanced technology, different applications and GPS navigation functions are available at our fingertips. Some of them work offline. They don’t require any data plan.
Walking or cycling through the continental divide separating the drainage basins of Africa’s most iconic rivers should be on your bucket list. When you embark on this journey, you will witness beauty every step of the way. In addition, you will catch a glimpse of life in rural Rwanda while burning some calories and most likely, avoid trips to the hospital.