28 Apr
I left Ngoma town early in the morning. The plan was to explore different parts of Lake Mugesera before returning to Kigali via Rwamagana. At some point, I took the wrong turn and found myself at Lake Sake.   

I am writing this piece from Bugesera Lake Hotel, nestled on the shore of Lake Mirayi. How did I end up here? After the discovery of Lake Sake, I changed my plans and decided to ride to Kigali via Bugesera instead of Rwamagana. 

On my way to Bugesera, I took several deviations and had stopovers at the viewpoints of lakes I had never seen before. As a matter of fact, I wasn't aware of their existence. The said water bodies include Kilimbi, Gaharwa, Rumira, Gashora and Birara. The Ngoma - Bugesera marshland area is embellished with a cluster of lakes connected to a network of rivers within the Nile drainage system.

Speaking of rivers, the meandering Akagera River forms the boundary line between Ngoma and Bugesera. It flows from the confluence of the Kanyaru River and the popular Nyabarongo River in Ntarama. The latter is the longest river in Rwanda and the primary source of domestic, commercial and industrial water supply in Kigali. 

The Akagera River empties into Lake Rweru at the border with Burundi. After merging with the Ruvubu River, it exits the lake as the Kagera River. The Kagera in turn, flows all the way to Lake Victoria.   

As mentioned above, I am writing this blog post from Bugesera Lake Hotel in Gashora Sector, six kilometers from a village known as Ramiro. It takes about an hour to drive to this lakeside sanctuary from Kigali. I expected to be the only visitor on a Wednesday morning, but that’s not the case. There are patrons sipping cold ones in the garden.

I am seated on the edge of a wooden terrace connected to the shore by a grass-thatched walkway. It feels like sitting on the deck of a floating vessel. Fifty meters from my table, a hippo is popping its nose out of the water. 

Not far away from the said hippo, an old man is paddling his small wooden canoe. I wave at him, and he returns the friendly gesture. "Aren’t you afraid of the hippo?" I shout at him. "No, I am not afraid." He responds calmly. During the ensuing exchange, he informs me that there are two other hippos underneath the surface of the lake. According to him, the two submerged monsters are closer to my deck than the one that is already freaking me out.