04 Jul

From downtown Nyamata, I twisted the throttle towards the border with Burundi. When I made it to Ramiro, about three kilometers before the border post, I took a left turn and headed to the Gashora bridge. The bridge is under construction, but one can easily cross it on a bike.

Also under construction is the road connecting Bugesera and Ngoma. The last time I used the route, it looked like one of those off-road trails I like navigating during my frequent adventure rides.

Despite the proximity between Bugesera and Ngoma, travel between the two neighboring districts is challenging. From Bugesera, travelers are forced to drive through Kicukiro, Gasabo, Rwamagana and Kayonza. The good news is that this is about to change. Upon its completion, the new road will ease transportation and stimulate trade. In addition, it will help to decongest the Ngoma - Kayonza - Kigali highway.

The Bugesera - Ngoma road is under construction

From the bridge, I proceeded to Akagera River. Earlier today, I mentioned that the said river flows from the confluence of Nyabarongo and Akanyaru rivers and empties into Lake Rweru. Before crossing the river, I deviated from the road and patrolled its bank on the Bugesera side.

I spent a few minutes gazing at the extensive wetland that has been transformed into a rice plantation. A water collection plant is built on the edge of the plantation. The facility absorbs excess water from the field and returns it to the river.

Farther upstream, a similar piece of engineering craftsmanship diverts some water to the plantation. Once in a while, the river bank bursts. When this happens, the spill threatens to damage crops, especially during the rainy season. Too much of everything is harmful. Here, I witnessed an innovative scheme designed to maintain the required irrigation levels and conserve the environment.

Akagera River

My next stop was a small village known as Rubona. Initially, my plan was to travel to Bugesera from Rwamagana through this settlement. That didn’t happen because I realized I needed to pick up more books in Kigali after the Rwamagana donation.

In partnership with different stakeholders, I am donating books to community libraries around the country. The said books highlight my experiences as a tourist in the destinations I am covering. So far, I have been distributing The Akagera Expedition, Memories and Six Hours in Accra. More titles will be sent my way from RichTech Printing House in a couple of weeks.

At Rubona, I bought fresh fruits from the market and kept going. My next break took place on the shore of Lake Sake. Despite its breathtaking beauty, Sake is not as popular as Kivu and Muhazi. Obviously, it’s not easy to access this hidden gem due to the aforementioned logistical challenges. Again, this is about to change.

Lake Sake

The Bugesera - Ngoma road is quite scenic. Apart from immersing myself in nature, I encountered members of the local communities and captured their spirits. This was a great opportunity to experience life in rural Rwanda.

From time to time, I was slowed down by construction work. Once stalled by the coronavirus pandemic, this project seems to be picking up steam. The next time I swing by, my experience will be completely different.

I am writing this from East Gate Hotel in Ngoma District. When I am done with this administrative area, I will proceed to Kirehe. Stay with me throughout the duration of this journey of exploration across all thirty districts of Rwanda. The best is yet to come.

Once stalled due to the pandemic, this project is picking up steam