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Touring Lake Kivu Aboard Iliza Houseboat

Touring Lake Kivu Aboard Iliza Houseboat

When I made a decision to tour Lake Kivu aboard Iliza Houseboat, I invited a group of friends. Good things are meant to be shared and this experience is no exception.

From our vantage point, on the deck of this luxury vessel, we enjoyed an unobstructed 360° view of Lake Kivu and its surrounding landscapes. We were awestruck by the view of the gentle waves and the picturesque isles, not to mention Karongi’s jagged edge shoreline.

We set sail in the afternoon and cruised around those islands I always write about. While bypassing Amahoro Island, which happens to be my favorite picnic site, we saw a wooden motorized boat dropping a group of domestic tourists.

Amahoro means peace and the atmosphere on the island is peaceful. It is a sanctuary attracting those who seek to reclaim their lost peace of mind. Dr. Diana Perdue, founder of Rimwe Education Resources and an avid traveler, described Amahoro Island as a little slice of heaven on earth. According to her, it arouses dreams of paradise.

I took a close look at Monkey Island hoping to see my foes-turned-friends. I am talking about the little monkeys who once stole my lunch. After the lunch-stealing incident, I held a grudge against them for a while. Later on, I realized that the primates I was beefing with were also victims of theft and I was the culprit. The guavas I picked the day I invaded their territory belong to them. This realization led to a conflict resolution plan. At the end of the day, we reconciled over a meal.

I would have loved to drop by the island named after its inhabitants and share some bananas with them but time wasn’t on our side. We proceeded toward Nyamunini Island or Napoleon’s hat as referred to by many. Nyamunini is a very steep hill. This cone-shaped elevation offers great hiking experiences and panoramic views of the lake. On a good day, hikers can see the volcanoes soaring to the clouds along the northwestern border.

As we cruised from one island to another, we saw a team of fishermen paddling their engineless boats to their fishing spot. The fishermen in question were propelling three boats in unison while singing motivational songs. Singing boosts their morale and enhances their teamwork.

We left the fishermen alone and drifted farther offshore. As Iliza was steered toward the interior of the lake, the sunset stole the show. During sunset, turquoise water turns indigo and the sky glows. Watching the sun dropping behind the rolling hills, on the other side of the lake, is a spectacle you would want to witness one day.

The party thrown on Iliza’s deck continued after sunset. On our way back to the dock, we saw the fishermen mentioned above doing what they do best — waiting patiently for their trap to catch fish. They had stretched their nets underneath the three boats and set up lit lanterns. Bright light from the said lanterns attracts fish which blindly fall prey to the trick.

It was getting late and the rooftop area was getting chilly. We climbed down the stairs and sat in the dining room which also doubles as the fourth bedroom. We had dinner composed of fresh fish from the lake and organic supplies from the neighboring farms. Yes, there are bedrooms and a dining room inside Iliza Houseboat. Obviously, there is a kitchen and a bathroom too. Iliza is a house. A pretty lavish one.

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