One of the best things we did in Rwanda during our Rwanda Adventure was to go canoeing on the Mukungwa River just outside Musanze with Kingfisher Journeys.
When we booked our trip to Rwanda, practically everyone who didn’t say “Is it Safe?” asked “Is there anything for the kids to do?”
Kingfisher Journeys (run by Brit, Steve Venton) is proud to be the first operator in Rwanda to provide professionally guided kayaking and canoeing journeys on the lakes and rivers of Rwanda. Initially we had decided to do some Paddleboarding in Lake Kivu with Kingfisher but a chaotic first week in Rwanda and our arrival at the beautiful and relaxing Inzu Lodge meant we changed our plans and settled on relaxing and then canoeing in Musanze a couple of days later instead.
Canoeing for kids in Musazne is very new for Kingfisher Journeys. With the business only commencing in 2015, Steve didn’t want to run with the business before they could ‘paddle’ so to speak. They wanted to iron out any difficulties they may have on the river with consenting adults who are quite frankly big enough to look after themselves. 2 years on though and those niggles that they discovered have been ironed out and they are ready to take kids out on the canoes.
We met Steve (and as it turns out his Mother who was visiting for the week) at a restaurant on the outskirts of Musanze so we could follow them down to the river for our half day adventure in the lush countryside. A far cry from our trek to the gorillas the day before. We put on extra sunscreen, donned our hats and put on the lifejackets that are provided.
It was interesting to see the canoes being lifted down into the river as there are no purpose built landings on this river!
Our eldest went in a canoe with Sabine (the usual guide for canoeing in this area) Matt & I took the twins in our canoe and Steve and his Mother joined our morning on the river in their canoe. After a safety briefing (basically listen to what we tell you do, do it and you’ll be fine) we set off meandering down the river.
The canoe trip could in reality have been called a bird watching trip too. There was an abundance of birds making their nests down the river and we were treated to background and little facts about them all as we got used to the paddling and directing the canoe. What struck us first about the trip was the silence and the peacefulness of being down on the river and being able to soak up everything that was going on around slowly and without the usual traffic noise you grow used to.
Noise and excitement did arrive but that was when we were spotted by local kids in the fields. Shouts of ‘Muzungo’ followed us as the kids tried their best to run alongside the river and keep pace.
By half way into the trip I was a little wet due to the twin enthusiastic rowing but nowhere near as wet as Matt would get. About half way through the trip you reach some very small rapids, but the canoes were stopped just before this and the kids were asked to get out. Thankfully I got out with them and walked to the other side of the bridge as Matt managed, much to the amusement of the locals, to tip the boat on the way through! Eve who hadn’t want to abandon Daddy in the boat was also very grateful for the insistence that the kids got out.
A couple of slightly tricky bit, including getting the canoe and the kids over a large log in the river came after this, but mainly the route was calm peaceful and fun. 3 hours (ish) after we started we arrived at the end of the trip slightly damp but happy and having had a great mornings fun.
For the twins it was the best day of the trip!
Even better, Kingfisher Journeys take photos for you so you don’t need to risk loosing your camera.
Photo Credit to Kingfisher Journeys
Price:$40 (Discounts for Groups $30pp, Residents: $28, Citizens, Students & Volunteers: $24)
Kids were free.
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