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Patrolling the crest of Mount Kigali on a horse

Patrolling the crest of Mount Kigali on a horse

On one side of the hill, I slowed down and admired the splendid view of the city. On the other side, I was awestruck by the panorama of Nyabarongo River, Mount Shyorongi, Mount Jali and settlements spreading as far as Kamonyi.

I would have observed more but I was overwhelmed by the excitement of riding a horse for the first time in my life. It’s hard to observe distant geographical features when you are experiencing your first ever gallop-induced adrenaline rush.

In the beginning of my horse riding experiment, I practiced halting, walking and trotting. My trainer, a gentleman namely Vitalis, gets along with horses very well. He interacts with them in their own language. His passion for horse riding is undeniable. I have a feeling he talks about horses to strangers he sits next to in the bus.

After a short basic training session, I embarked on an exhilarating hack around the hill. When I got comfortable on the back of this powerful animal, capable of covering a good number of kilometers per hour, I went full throttle.

At some point, I wanted to stop and take pictures but instead of pulling the ropes, I kicked the horse. By doing so, I pressed the accelerator instead of stepping on the brake pedal. What followed made me speak Chinese in a desperate attempt to make the horse obey my instructions. Apparently, Vitalis hadn’t taught me the language horses understand.

Horse riding experiences on Mount Kigali are offered by Fazenda Sengha, a recreational facility established to promote equestrianism in Rwanda while creating an environmentally friendly social enterprise uniting friends and families interested in horsemanship and other outdoor activities.

Before I was introduced to horses, I hiked from Nyamirambo to the top of the mountain. It took me about 30 minutes to get there. As close as it is, this area has a rural atmosphere with scattered houses, farms and a small forest. It’s hard to believe one can walk to Kigali’s buzzing Nyamirambo suburb in a few minutes.

The upper Nyamirambo area is expanding rapidly towards the top, threatening to consume what should have been a reserved area. I understand the magnitude of the scramble for plots on which our houses are built but I am not a fan of the urbanization of Mount Kigali.

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