My first-ever trip to Nyamunini Island was a boating experience. The second one was a kayaking expedition with a group of friends from Kigali. Yes, we used kayaks to sail to the island, covering eight kilometers (round trip) in the process.
While propelling kayaks to the French emperor’s chapeau, we bypassed Amahoro, Nyenyeri, Mukondwe, Shegesha and Mpangara islands. According to the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), there are 250 islands in Lake Kivu. However, 194 of them are on the Congolese side of the lake.
A kayak is a canoe-like light boat powered by a double-bladed paddle. Most kayaks have enclosed decks. From the look of things, the newly unveiled inflatable models are likely to dominate the market in the foreseeable future.
Kayaking and canoeing are similar excursions. In some cases, canoe and kayak are used interchangeably. Canoe paddlers use single-bladed paddles. Their vessels are usually open. Paddleboarding, on the other hand, is a hybrid product of kayaking and canoeing. You can paddleboard while sitting, kneeling or standing. The three interrelated leisure pursuits improve cardiovascular fitness and strengthen different parts of the body.
Kayaks were invented thousands of years ago by the Eskimos of the northern Arctic. Initially, they were used for transportation and shoreline hunting. Over the years, the engineless water crafts evolved in response to the leisure and fitness needs of modern societies.
Also known as Napoléon’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 picturesque islands.
When we made it to Nyamunini Island, we laced up our hiking boots and climbed the hill. Standing on the summit, we saw every island in the vicinity. We also had a clear view of Mpembe peninsula and the rolling hills embellishing the surface of the Kivu Belt.