In the west of Rwanda we had reached Lake Kivu, which has a lovely coast with green hills rising up from the deep lake, which keeps a dangerous secret in its depth.
The beautiful lake attracts people with money, who build houses, lodges and resorts, which are in such big contrast to the life of the inhabitants in this region.
With the Iliza Lodge, we had found a wonderful but small spot at the lake. Rwanda has not many options for campers like us, so we were happy we could squeeze in here. But then, the lodge filled up on the weekend, with party people arriving at 2am and partying with full blast in front of our camper until they collapsed for a couple of hours when the sun was already up. We were very happy when they finally left Sunday evening.
From our lodge, we took a boat trip to visit one of the many islands in the lake. At Napoleon’s island we hoped to see some fruit bats, but they were not there at this time of the year. Nevertheless, the hike to the top was breathtaking and the view too.
Lake Kivu is part of the Albertine Rift Valley and more than 400 metres deep. At its bottom the lake contains 65 cubic kilometres of methane as a result of lake water interaction with volcanic hot springs. This gas is used to produce energy for Rwanda, but also represents a big risk. Scientists predict, that sufficient volcanic activity at the lake’s bottom would heat water, force the methane out of the water, spark a methane explosion, and trigger a nearly simultaneous release of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide would then suffocate large numbers of people in the lake basin as the gases roll off the lake surface. 2 million people live around the lake.
We had spent a couple of days at this camp, exploring the surroundings, visiting the nearby Environmental Museum and going into town for some shopping. The night before we left, 4 drones cycled over the lake and us, doing a specific route and then returning to the nearby police station just to start again on a different route, again passing above us. We think it was just a training, but we felt somehow traced. The next morning, we finally continued along the lake to its northern end.