23 May 2005
Kibuye, sparkling-blue jewel, juts out into the Rwandan waters of eastern Lake Kivu. Old stomping grounds of the most demanding of international travelers, drawn by its ideal elevation and perfect setting, the great lake today reaffirms its calling by developing its reputation as a water-skiing pilgrimage site.
Tearing circles around the Congolese island Idjwi, the fine mist of the boat's wake and a cool breeze combine with the equatorial sun to deeply relax the water-skier. Rounding the southern tip of Idjwi, the world's eighth largest lake-island, one fancies oneself in some primeval natural paradise as one passes into Rwandan territorial waters.
The Caribbean simply cannot touch the appeal of Lake Kivu. Skiing enthusiasts, like other travelers, especially appreciate Rwanda's pure African hospitality and total lack of crime, which only contribute to the achievement of complete mental tranquility. Like the rest of Black Africa, personalities are extremely colourful, and it is a true joy to meet new people.
If the secret about Kibuye is out, the lake nevertheless has thus far escaped the tourist explosion to come. Thus, skiers still have the chance to slice through calm waters. Even from the highest hill, one can frequently only see a single speedboat, and the pirogues do not create the kind of wake that causes worries for skiers. No wonder then that a constant stream of refugees arrives here every day, fleeing the choppy waters of Europe's over-crowded lakes.
So when the day's water play is finished, and the skiing enthusiast finds himself in a restaurant or nightclub for some mellow socialization, he does not suffocate in a horde of tourists. Yet it quickly becomes apparent that if Rwandans work diligently and in unity to construct their nation by day, at night this provincial capital of 50,000 souls still knows how to have fun.
But Kivu offers other paths to nocturnal felicity. Rwanda's islands provide unrivalled peace for those who prefer to drop anchor and set up camp. Tents should not be left behind when touring Lake Kivu!