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Neglected Gems

Neglected Gems

The "Twin Lakes” moniker is usually used to refer to lakes Burera and Ruhondo. The two stunning creations are separated by a hill spanning the length of six soccer pitches, encompassing fifteen tiny islands. Seven of those gorgeous isles are inhibited.

Lakes are resources that stimulate nature-based tourism. As I always say, water bodies are endowed with an irresistible power of attraction. Responding to this magnetic charm, residents of Kigali visit Lake Kivu often. By doing so, they bypass the hidden gems of Burera and Ruhondo. The Twin Lakes are out of sight and seldom known.

Lake Burera’s altitude level surges 150 meters higher than her twin sister’s. From the slopes of the northern border, it looks like Burera is pouring it’s content into the latter.

"Lakes are resources that stimulate nature-based tourism. As I always say, water bodies are endowed with an irresistible power of attraction."

The identical lakes look abandoned. A cluster of activities seen around popular lakes is missing. There is little fanfare and the only sounds you are likely to hear are those produced by singing birds.

The upmarket Virunga Lodge is in the vicinity, mostly hosting loaded tourists attracted by the famous mountain gorillas. Other relatively cheaper lodges available around the lakes include Lake Ruhondo Beach Resort and the church-owned Foyers de Charité. Alternatively, visitors can opt to camp on Cyuza Island.

Different routes can lead you to the Twin Lakes. I boarded a Cyanika-bound bus from downtown Musanze and alighted at a village known as Agahunga k’Abarashi. From there, I had one of the bumpiest moto ride experiences ever.

I cruised around several islands found in Lake Ruhondo aboard a wooden motorized boat. Plans are underway to relocate inhabitants of those islands for conservation purposes.

Gervais Hafashimana, the owner of the boat I rented is passionately pursuing opportunities in tourism and fishing. I was impressed by his level of motivation and mastery of his craft. "The Twin Lakes will undoubtedly be popular tourist attractions in a near future. There is a lot of untapped potential here." He told me.

The two lakes are connected by a pipeline slanting 70 degrees on top of Ntaruka power plant. This is where falling water whirls the turbine which in turn, converts kinetic energy into electricity.

A visit to the islands will give you an opportunity to experience the day to day lives of the local people. Their lifestyle is an interesting story reserved for another post. Stay tuned!

The author is an adventurer on a mission to discover what Rwanda has to offer. Follow his awe-inspiring journey on Twitter @ExposureRwanda

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