20 Km of Hiking Can Be Terrifying!

As we refresh our popular Congo Nile Trail page today (including latest advice), let’s accompany it with another little story … We recently talked about one-day cycling on the trail but one-day hiking is possible as well, as the adventure of Nuša and Marko will show.

The 200+ kilometre (250+ mile) route through villages, fields and groves is divided into daily doses of 16-22 km (10-14 mi). That may sound quite easy, but when you start to climb the mountainous parts, the thought of 20 km can be terrifying!

Marko and Nuša joined a pair of hikers in the town of Kibuye/Karongi right in the middle of the Trail, with the plan of making it to the Mugonero base camp. But once they overcame the third big hill, with the sun cooking and with the 16th kilometre under their feet, a group decision was quickly made: they would take a minibus to the stage finish.

They spent the night on the colourful campus of an agricultural school that used to be an orphanage (before Rwanda closed them all in 2010). They have classrooms, their own kitchen, gardens where they grow beautiful vegetables and fruits and also a special section where visitors are accommodated. The dinner was excellent, especially with the wonderful view.

The mooing of the cows from the neighboring hill led their guide Cesar to explain how village communication works. Even today people can still announce special events by calling from hill to hill, after first drumming to get everyone’s attention. Since the hills are very close together, human voices  carry the news.

Next morning Nuša and Marko returned to Kibuye by motorboat, allowing them to land on several of the islands that dot the city bay (see the featured image). The very last bit of their adventure — that began in Akagera National Park two weeks earlier — was going to Kigali by bus and visiting the Rwanda Art Museum … While Marko is a lover of everything to do with water, Nuša runs an art school!

photos by Marko Čurin and Nuša Lapajne