The Congo Nile Trail spans the distance of 227 kilometers in the Western Province of Rwanda. This product attracts energetic adventurers determined to discover the hidden gems of the Kivu Belt through the off-the-beaten-path.
The trail meanders along the shore of Lake Kivu from Rubavu to Rusizi through Rutsiro, Karongi and Nyamasheke. Today, let’s have a look at the Karongi segment of the passage.
For starters, Rugabano area is magical. Here, you will be astonished by the Congo Nile Divide. On a rainy day, you will see rainwater being dispensed to the drainage basins of two iconic rivers.
While rambling on this stretch, you can deviate to the source of Nyabarongo River. This is the merging point of the seldom known Mwogo and Mbirurume rivers flowing from the farthest source of the Nile.
At Gisovu Tea Estate, you will be awestruck by the beauty of the manicured hills of Gisovu. This grandeur of hills, coupled with the sprawling tea plantations, not to mention the view of Lake Kivu and Nyungwe forest will take your breath away.
After crossing the tea estate, you will have an opportunity to indulge in a coffee experience at Mubuga. On your way to Mubuga, spare a minute to pay tribute to Bisesero genocide resisters at the Bisesero Genocide Memorial.
In May 1994, as the Genocide against the Tutsi raged on, residents of the neighboring villages gathered on Bisesero hill and defended themselves against the bloodthirsty interahamwe militants.
Under the leadership of one Aminadabu Birara, men fought bravely while women and children took cover behind the hill. Unfortunately, the only weapons they had were stones and a few spears. The killers, on the other side, were armed with heavy artillery. At the end of the day, more than 40,000 Tutsis were brutally massacred.
Navigating the Congo Nile Trail is like reading a book — turning one page after another and one chapter after another. Trekkers need ten days to complete the entire track while cyclists can do so in five days. However, one can choose a specific stage instead of completing the entire trail.
The author is an adventurer on a tour of all 30 districts and 416 sectors of Rwanda. Follow his awe-inspiring journey on Twitter @GeoExposure.