Perceived or not, thrill seeking involves an element of risk. When a thrilling experience turns on the testosterone switch, vision narrows, adrenaline kicks in and the heart rate shoots up.
While in Nyamasheke, I visited the serene Kumbya Retreat Center found in Kanjongo Sector. The facility is ideal for those who need to take a break from their stressful lives and reclaim their peace of mind. Thrill seekers are welcome too. Designers of this getaway sanctuary incorporated a couple of nail-biting activities into the establishment. One of them is a swing that forcefully propels participants 100-plus feet into the air, above the surface of the lake. What follows requires advanced diving skills and prayers.
There are times during my expeditions when I find myself questioning my decisions — wondering what have I put myself into? The "what have I put myself into" moment is a near panic reaction I have experienced quite often while indulging in nerve-racking activities.
I remember having that moment when I crossed the canopy for the first time. This happened when I thought the skywalk structure was about to turn upside down, 230 feet above the ground.
Elsewhere, I felt the impact of a sudden adrenaline rush when my canoe was shaken violently at the whitewater stage of Mukungwa River. I had a similar reaction when I realized that I had probably entered DR Congo illegally while swimming from Karambo Peninsula to Karamari Island. I can go on and on mentioning situations that freaked me out and triggered what I refer to as the "what have I put myself into?" moment.
My first ever zip line experience ignited that reaction. Initially, zipping sounded crazy but I had seen crazier things before. I had seen people jumping out of flying aircrafts in the name of adventure.
Before my first zip lining experience, my instructor performed a safety check and skyrocketed from platform to platform. I was nervous and almost changed my mind. My inner voice suggested it wasn’t a good idea but I ignored that voice, gathered courage and took a leap of faith.
It felt like flying. As speed increased, the zip wire I was hooked to became invisible, further enhancing my ’flying’ experience. At some point, I felt like a plane wreck falling from the sky, about to crash and explode. It was a combination of thrill and fear of self-inflicted disaster. The landing part was scarier but I had no problem whatsoever, thanks to useful landing tips from my qualified instructor.
At Kumbya Retreat Center, I entertained the idea of using the aforementioned swing to conduct the most terrifying diving experiment ever. I wanted to take another leap of faith but, this time around, my little faith failed me. I am a thrill seeker but this was next level stuff.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Nyamasheke is sponsored by Nyamasheke District, The Click Creations, Tec Global Ltd, Elimo Real Estate and Exposure.