01 Jul
Benches and trash bins are placed along the way

There are two main trails slashing through the lush, steep hill. Nyamweru and Rutagara trails ascend to 1,781 meters (5,843 feet) and 1,791 meters (5,876 feet) above sea level respectively. Each trail spans the distance of almost two kilometers. Their level of difficulty is moderate.

Although the trails are clearly marked, I sought the services of a local aspiring tour guide. 15-year-old Ken Nkurunziza knows both trails like the back of his hand. For the record, he climbs the hill every day on his way to school.

Halfway through the hike, we sat on the bench and drank some water. From our vantage point, we had a good view of Mount Kigali and a new settlement known as Norvège. It was at this point when I added Norvège to my bucket list. When that visit happens, you will be the first to know.

View of Norvège from the hill

I couldn’t stop marveling at the confluence of Nyabarongo and Nyabugogo rivers. When I ventured into travel writing, I picked up interest in rivers, lakes, mountains, craters, falls and other geographical features. Expect to read more about these magical creations as the ongoing tour progresses.

In Gicumbi, I will have a brief stopover at the source of Nyabugogo River. Tracing the source of Mwogo River is likely to be on the agenda during my sojourn in Nyamagabe. In Karongi, my tentative plan is to explore the merging point of Mbirurume and Mwogo rivers — the beginning of Nyabarongo’s extensive course.

Back to the bench, I soaked up the beauty of the grandeur of hills rolling all the way to the Southern Province. From my vantage point, vehicles traversing the highway looked like little toys. That was a sight to behold.

The confluence of Nyabugogo and Nyabarongo rivers

In the beginning of the hike, we rambled along Rutagara Trail. After our first break, Ken suggested that we take a detour and make the final push to the top of the hill through Nyamweru Trail. Following his lead, I navigated a creepy path curving toward Nyamweru Forest.

Our second break took place in the forest. Again, we sat on the bench and gulped some water. This time, the view was obstructed by tall trees. We were completely swallowed by the jungle, but that’s the beauty of it.

The two breaks were quite long. As a result, it took us more than an hour to reach the end of the trails. Before I parted ways with Ken, I asked him if there was anything else he would like to show me in the area. "If you had a whole day, I would show you baboons on the other side of the forest." he told me. It seems like I have unfinished business with this professional tour guide in the making.