After another quick spin around the home of the Big Five, I returned to downtown Kayonza for a couple of meetings. From there, I headed to Ngoma town and spent a night at the church-owned Centre Saint Joseph.
Before I left Akagera, I posted a story about the spectacular sunrise that ushered in that terrific Tuesday. When I unzipped my tent, I gazed at a tender morning sun amid a fusion of beautiful songs from the choir of Akagera birds. This happened at Ihema View Campsite where I spent the night before visiting Ngoma.
After the sunrise spectacle in a birding paradise, I laced them up and jogged outside the park. This year’s Kigali International Peace Marathon was around the corner. I needed to be ready.
I love vigorous outdoor activities. I also needed to explore areas surrounding the park. In this case, running is a stone that hits two birds. Besides, this routine rewards me with money-can’t-buy health benefits. I have two doctors: My legs.
I ran past Akagera Rhino Lodge. The sight of those uniquely designed cottages rekindled memories created there in late March this year. Beyond Rhino Lodge, I was in a completely new territory. I had never gone past this point before.
As the warm-up took effect, I accelerated a little bit and shifted gears. Farther ahead, I saw a signpost written Ngwino urebe ubwiza bw’Umurenge wa Ndego (Come and see the beauty of Ndego Sector).
I ran all the way to the end of the tarmac. While doing so, a couple of taxi-moto riders, ferrying their passengers, overtook me. They had switched off the engines of their bikes in a bid to save gas. These stingy bodaboda riders were taking advantage of the steep slope, rolling seamlessly without burning fuel.
Villagers were busy harvesting sorghum. Others were catering to different crops. Cassava, sunflower and a wide range of fruits are grown there. I also saw a few trucks carrying stones and sand. Trucks shipping construction materials are always a good sign. Building is synonymous to growth and development.
Running back to the top of the hill was the toughest physical challenge I have faced this year. At some point, I started doubting my readiness to participate in the marathon.
The other side of the signpost mentioned above is written, "Garuka urebe ubwiza bw’Umurenge wa Ndego." (Come back and see the beauty of Ndego Sector.) I will definitely return to Ndego.
When I made it to my camp’s entrance, I felt like I had a lot left in the tank. Guess what? I decided to pursue another hill. This time, I toiled my way along the park’s southern fence.
I ended up on a hill popularly known as Qatar. The word on the street is that the entire hill has been bought by the King of Qatar who intends to invest a fortune. I stepped on top of the hill hoping my trespassing habits wouldn’t put me in trouble.
The only thing I saw on Qatar hill is a huge water storage tank. I spoke to the caretaker of the facility who introduced himself as Nsabimana Jean Pierre. JP confirmed the rumors I had gathered from the community before. "It’s true. This land has been bought by the King of Qatar." He told me. According to this unauthorized spokesman, His Highness intends to build a luxury resort and an airstrip.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Kayonza is sponsored by Ikaze Rwanda Tours & Travel, Imigongo Art Center, Silent Hill Hotel, Jambo Beach, Ihema View Campsite and Akagera Rhino Lodge.