26. QUIET BLUE LAKE KIVU
We didn't stop at Ruhengeri after returning there from our visit to the gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes (other than to buy buns, bananas and maracuja juice for lunch). Instead we turned onto the highway going southwest and drove the sixty or so kilometres to the city of Gisenyi, located on the northeast of Lake Kivu.
Lake Kivu, as seen in the map above, is a huge lake in relation to Rwanda. It creates almost its entire western border with the Congo (which used to be called Zaire, until recently changing back to its original name of Congo), and at its widest point is about a third of the width of Rwanda.
By the time we reached Gisenyi, having marvelled as usual at the villages and people we passed, it was late afternoon. We checked into the hotel that had been recommended to us for its cost, comfort and proximity to the lake:
I'm standing outside our hotel room which is immediately behind me and, after unpacking and bathing off the dust of the jungle and road, we set out for a walk. I'm wearing an African dress I had bought in Kigali. As we were walking along the lake I posed to have a photo taken and a young man walking by rushed to my side, saying he wanted to be in the picture too:
Continuing down the road we came to a lakeside park, and snapped a photo from the dock:
That's our vehicle seen in the far left of the photo. Our driver had followed us, in case we wanted a ride back, and it beginning to be dusk, we did. The next morning, while waiting for our rendezvous with the guide who would be taking us over the border to Goma in the Congo, we drove to the beach of a big modern hotel built not long ago, in hopes of attracting tourists to Gisenyi:
The photos above give a sense of the size of Lake Kivu. It has the feel of being an ocean - including waves lapping on the sandy shore. I walked into the water a few steps and it was warm - perfect for a long swim. But, instead, I relaxed in a chaise-lounge while Bob went for a walk up the beach. Note the top of the volcano in mid-center of the photo. That's in Goma, Congo, just around that bend.
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HARNESS LAKE KIVU POWER
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