Photo credit: Wilsen Tish
While touring Rulindo District, I had a coffee break at Rusiga Highland Resort. From the resort, I saw two neighboring hills that looked as different as day and night. It was raining on one and shining on the second one, despite the close proximity between them. It’s amazing how rain and sunshine can be separated by a hundred meters.
This reminded me of the day I had a stopover at Nyungwe’s Uwinka Overlook on my way to Rusizi. It was raining cats and dogs when I arrived. Before my coffee was delivered, the place was dry. A few minutes later, the cloud disappeared and the tropical sun took over. I used an umbrella and sun glasses in a span of fifteen minutes.
Back to Rusiga, after grabbing a cup of coffee, I was given a tour of the facility and learned one or two things about farming. The resort offers organic food grown in the premises. If you or your kids are pizza enthusiasts, there is a pizzeria too.
From one side of the extensive property, I saw Nyabarongo River. Nyabarongo is part of a network of water bodies that form the upper headwaters of the Nile. This river is the primary source of domestic, commercial and industrial water supply in Kigali and other parts of the country. The economic importance of Nyabarongo goes beyond water supply. The river is also utilized to generate hydro electric power.
The beginning of its course is the confluence of Mbirurume and Mwogo rivers in Karongi, near the Congo Nile Divide. Mbirurume flows from Nyungwe forest while Mwogo’s source is found outside the forest, somewhere in Nyamagabe.
When the two rivers merge to form Nyabarongo, the latter flows northwards for about eighty-five kilometers, forming the boundary line between the Western Province and the Southern Province. At some point, northern Rwanda’s elevated terrain forces the river to drift towards the southeast. Then it flows for approximately twelve kilometers before taking a more southern direction. This stretch borders the Northern Province and the Southern Province. Farther downstream, it separates the Southern Province from the City of Kigali. After bypassing the capital, the longest river in Rwanda serves as the boundary line between the City of Kigali and the Eastern Province.
Nyabarongo runs through our territory, history and folklore. It supports wildlife and dispenses water we desperately need for our own survival. In addition, it waters our crops and runs the turbines that generate electricity and power the economy. From its source to its mouth and beyond, Nyabarongo is the gift that never stops giving.
From the other side of the resort, I saw green hills stretching as far as Gakenke, Burera and Musanze. Green is the original color of planet earth. The view I was marveling at was an illustration of how things should be.
It had stopped raining on the hill mentioned above but the sky was still a little misty. The combination of white, orange and crimson rays took my breath away. The gleaming sky and lush vegetation beneath it created a sight to behold. I felt like nature was speaking to me in a language I am still learning.
On a good day, one can see Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo mountains in the Virunga Massif. The slopes of the volcanoes are home to the famous mountain gorillas, from which a substantial amount of dollars is milked.
Rusiga Highland Resort is ideal for those who like indulging in vigorous physical activities. The resort encompasses basketball and volleyball courts. Plans are underway to create hiking and cycling trails around the hill. It is also recommended for those who wish to escape to a serene sanctuary, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Here is the best part: It is located only twenty-five kilometers from Kigali. That’s quite an easy getaway. Isn’t it?
The author is an adventurer on a tour of all 30 districts of Rwanda. Follow his awe-inspiring expeditions on Twitter @GeoExposure.