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The Allure of Nyamunini Island

The Allure of Nyamunini Island

Also known as Napoleon’s hat, Nyamunini Island is a very steep hill. This cone-shaped elevation offers great hiking experiences and panoramic views of Lake Kivu and its gorgeous isles.

I used a kayak to sail to Nyamunini Island. A boat could have been faster and effortless but I needed time to bond with the lake. Kayaking to the French emperor’s chapeau was also a great way of exercising.

While propelling my kayak to Nyamunini, I bypassed Amahoro, Nyenyeri, Mukondwe, Shegesha and Mpangara islands. There is a cluster of tiny islands on this part of the lake and each one of them has something unique to offer.

Nyamunini Island’s greener pastures attract cows which swim all the way from lakeside farms. Upon arrival, I saw feasting cows and a few boys who seemed to be fetching firewood. I had a feeling whatever they were doing was illegal and the look on their faces made me even more suspicious.

I don’t remember how long it took me to sail to the island shaped like Napoleon Bonaparte’s favorite fedora. I lost track of time while navigating around one small island after another en route to my destination. I don’t remember how long it took me to hike to and fro the summit either. What I remember vividly is that I embarked on this journey about an hour after breakfast and returned to the beach shortly after sunset.

While on the island, I encountered healthy cows and boys whose activities call for further investigation. I wrecked havoc in the bats’ habitat and took selfies on the rocky apex elevated higher than any other piece of land in the vicinity.

Standing on the summit, I saw every island in the area. I also had a clear view of Mpembe peninsula and the rolling hills gracing Karongi’s jagged shoreline. From my vantage point, some islets looked like little dots on the verge of being erased by the tide.

The boys mentioned earlier left the island before I did. As they paddled away in an old wooden canoe, I was relieved by their departure because the thought of someone stealing my kayak was scary.

On my way back to the mainland, the waves were a little bit more turbulent. My kayak was gliding on a bumpy surface of water. When the wind threatened to sweep me to Congo, I remembered to apply the right techniques as opposed to fighting back.

It was getting late but the lake was getting busier. Night shift fishermen were steering their fishing vessels towards their work stations. I was there in pursuit of leisure but these hardworking men were reporting for duty.

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

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