In our landlocked country, Karongi is perhaps the most popular beach retreat for families living elsewhere in Rwanda. It’s easy to see why, with its majestic vistas, tranquil atmosphere and easy access from Kigali.
Hillsides covered in pines and eucalyptus serve as a backdrop to the sparkling lake, with accommodation to suit most budgets. At dawn and dusk, the sound of local fisherman singing carries across the water as they paddle in unison.
This is a place where busy minds can completely switch off, occasionally glancing up from a good book to notice the birds or the changing colours on the lake as the sun drops over the far side.
For those keen to stay active, various hotels have kayaks to rent. Boats carry small groups out to Napoleon’s Island, home to a colony of fruit bats, or to dine at one of Amahoro Island’s restaurants.
For an authentic experience of Rwandan daily life, head off night fishing with the locals, or kayak out with them at sunset.
To the northwest of Karongi, the Mukura Forest is of particular interest to birdwatchers, with more than 150 recorded species, of which 17 are endemic to the Albertine Rift.
With an average altitude of 2,600m, Mukura is a true montane rainforest – a term used to describe forests in mountainous regions in the tropical belt. The area was granted National Park status in 2015.