From the balcony, I marveled at Karambo Peninsula and the Congolese city of Bukavu. I was staying at the church-owned Centre Diocesain de Pastorale Inshuti. Rusizi people refer to this hotel as simply Pastorale.
After breakfast, I strolled around on foot and observed more than what this post can possibly highlight. For starters, I visited the port. A number of ships, bearing female names, had docked.
A group of young men were unloading crates and crates of beer from MV Francine. The consignment had been shipped from Rubavu. The same group of porters had just filled MV Nathalie with tons of cement. The latter was scheduled to set sail in about an hour.
On the other side of the port, ship builders were busy at work. After learning one or two things about naval engineering, I walked to the border post. There is a bridge connecting Rusizi and Bukavu. It is here where the source of Rusizi River is traced.
When volcanic eruptions formed the Virunga Massif millions of years ago, Lake Kivu’s northern outlet towards Lake Albert was blocked. As the level of its surface rose, a new outlet was created. The emergence of the volcanoes, on the northern part of the lake, reversed the flow of its outlet and formed Rusizi River in the process.
Rusizi River flows southwards all the way to Lake Tanganyika. It spans the distance of 117 kilometers. Its steepest gradient can be seen within the first forty kilometers of its course. Along the way, it forms part of the border between Rwanda and the DRC. Farther downstream, it borders Burundi and the DRC.
Volcanic action responsible for the formation of the Virunga chain of mountains erased one river from the surface of the earth and formed a new one. The turmoil got rid of Lake Kivu’s gateway to the Nile water catchment area and created a new connection to the Congo River drainage system.
After touring the border post and the river bank, I returned to Pastorale and had lunch on the hotel’s rooftop restaurant. From the restaurant, I saw Gihaya and Nkombo islands. That’s when the two islands were added to my bucket list.