When I unzipped my tent in the morning, I was awestruck by the view of Lake Muhazi and its backdrop of green rolling hills. I had slept until 9 o’clock. It was already sunny and hot outside but my tent is designed to keep the interior dim and perfectly insulated all the time.
Waking up late after a night of camping has become one of my bad habits. Under usual circumstances, the campfire, drinks and fascinating stories from fellow adventurers keep me awake until dawn. As a result, I end up waking up late.
This time round, I traveled solo and did my best to limit interactions with my hosts and members of the local community for obvious reasons. However, my bond with tea, nature and e-books was tighter than ever. Unlike my pre-Covid camping experiences, there was no partying in the jungle but I still went to bed, or rather slipped into my sleeping bag, very late.
After a morning bath, I grabbed some breakfast and jumped on a boat. As we sailed around, I couldn’t stop marveling at my campsite. It looked splendid. It was during this boating experience when I had flashbacks of my previous excursions on different parts of the same lake.
I had a recollection of a show staged by otters and birds a couple of years ago. On that memorable day, I saw ducks moving effortlessly on the gentle waves. It looked like they were being pushed by the wind. While admiring the seamlessly gliding ducks, I saw otters jumping out of the water and falling right back in. Some birds were dropping from the sky like landing planes and curving upwards before touching the water. I wondered if these aquatic creatures were doing that for fun.
This time round, I didn’t see any otters but I saw ducks and different species of birds, some of which I had never seen before. Have you ever seen a bird with an orange beak, black crown and green feathers? Just when I thought I had seen it all, I bumped into a colorful bird looking like a clown in a Halloween costume.
Before I left Jambo Beach, I crossed the road and checked out another campsite belonging to the same establishment. This side is on a hill elevating much higher than my lakeside spot. From my vantage point, I had a better view of the lake and its surrounding landscapes.
Camping at Jambo Beach felt like another day in paradise. I wouldn’t trade that experience with 5-star accommodation. Besides, a hotel room doesn’t create the environment I wanted to escape to.
The author is currently visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Kayonza is sponsored by Ikaze Rwanda Tours, Akagera Rhino Lodge, Jambo Beach, Ihema View Campsite, Imigongo Art Center and Silent Hill Hotel