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Escaping to Lake Ruhondo

Escaping to Lake Ruhondo

I left Kigali at 10 a.m. and made it to Musanze two hours later. After grabbing something to eat at Crema Café, I proceeded to Ntaruka hydropower plant in Burera District. From there, I charted a boat to My Hill Ecolodge on the Musanze side of the shore. While at My Hill, I spent some time soaking up the view of the lake, its islands and the surrounding hills.

I was hoping to take photos of the volcanoes but it was foggy up there. A thick cloud-like obstruction covered the mountains. The only consolation was Mount Muhabura’s visible summit soaring higher than the thick blanket, more than 13,000 feet above sea level. Muhabura is the second tallest volcano in Rwanda behind Karisimbi.

On the other side, I saw Mount Mbwe. As imposing as it is, I knew nothing about it. This is when I made a decision to add Mbwe hike to my bucket list. When this hike happens, you will be the first to know.

Before I left the area, I hiked the hill found between lakes Ruhondo and Burera. The ’Twin Lakes’ moniker is often used to refer to the two water bodies. While standing there, I had a clear view of both lakes. On a good day, one can see all the five volcanoes but this wasn’t a good day. I had traveled all the way from Kigali to see the volcanoes but they were nowhere to be seen.

Lake Burera is higher altitude wise. A drone shot of the two lakes will give you an impression that Burera pours its content into Ruhondo. Turns out, the former indeed feeds her twin sister via a straw, the pipeline set up to drive the hydropower plant’s turbine. Apart from this inclined pipeline, nothing else connects the two lakes physically.

The twin lakes area is a hiker’s paradise. Visitors can also indulge in boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding. Many refer to the two lakes as the hidden gems but the popularity of these attractions is on a promising trajectory.

Gervais Hafashimana, the owner of My Hill Ecolodge, sees a lot of potential in tourism despite all the uncertainties in the wake of the pandemic. "It’s just a matter of time before this area becomes a tourism hotspot." He says confidently.

The author is currently visiting all 30 districts and 416 sectors of Rwanda. His tour of Musanze is sponsored by The Peakspot Lodge, My Hill Ecolodge, Crema Cafe, Volcanoes Residence, Migano Hotel, Ndaza Escape, Exposure and Beyond the Gorillas Experiences (BGE).

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