Photo credit: Home Saint Jean
Rolling hills, stunning peninsulas and picturesque islands. The grandeur of green hills, jagged shoreline and the isles that look like floating gardens sum up the description of Karongi at a glance.
Karongi is peaceful. This sanctuary should be prescribed for whoever needs to reclaim his/her lost peace of mind. The destination is highly recommended for those who need a break from their stressful lives.
There is so much one can do while visiting Karongi. For starters, a tour of the islands arouses dreams of paradise. There are many tiny islands off the shore of Karongi and each one has an interesting story.
If you are an energetic adventurer, consider testing your legs and lungs cycling along the Karongi segment of the Congo Nile Trail. This is an off the beaten path used by hikers, runners and cyclists to discover the hidden gems of the Kivu Belt while pursuing their fitness goals. The trail is named after the watershed dividing the drainage systems of two iconic rivers; Congo and Nile.
Karongi offers coffee lovers a hands-on processing experience. Through this unique excursion, coffee enthusiasts are taught how to convert a crop into their favorite aromatic beverage. It is a great opportunity for them to savor what is likely the purest and freshest coffee they have ever sampled. In addition, this activity gives them a better understanding of the product’s supply chain.
A good number of men living in Karongi are fishermen. Tourists are welcome to experience the day to day life, or rather, the night to night life of a local fisherman. Most fishermen go to work late in the evening and return home in the morning. They work all night, every night.
Through a fishing experience, tourists join hands with fishermen to propel the boats to their respective work stations. As they do so, they also learn their hosts’ favorite motivational songs. Lake Kivu fishermen sing songs while paddling. Singing boosts their morale and enhances their teamwork.
Once they reach their fishing spots, they stretch the nets underneath their boats and set up lit lanterns. The light produced by the said lanterns attracts fish. These poor aquatic organisms always fall prey to the trick. The fishing experience comes with valuable life lessons on motivation, teamwork, communication, resilience and patience.
Furthermore, there are community-based and cultural excursions tailored to give tourists a glimpse of the host community’s way of life. These activities enable visitors to experience something new, develop new skills and expand their horizons.
In the museum of environment, knowledge-hungry tourists examine energy sources and the environmental impact of its extraction, among other things. The museum’s splendid rooftop garden has a collection of native plants used by our forefathers to cure different diseases.
While in Karongi, the sunset will undoubtedly attract your attention. During sunset, the lake turns indigo and the sky glows. Watching the sun dropping into the water is a spectacle you would want to witness one day.
Is Karongi the most beautiful part of Rwanda? I don’t know. What I know is that the beauty of the former Kibuye Prefecture will take your breath away.