Bats Overhead | Lake Kivu

More adventures during my parents’ three weeks in Rwanda in January and February last year….

Napoleon Island 

From our hotel in Kibuye, we arranged a boat trip for the five of us out to Napoleon Island. All I could find on travel sites and other blogs was limited information about visiting Amahoro (meaning peace) Island, also known as “one bar island,” and Napoleon Island home to a colony of fruit bats. Other than that, I didn’t know how or where to set up the boat ride or what the boat ride entailed. But as our first water weekend stop in Kibuye, we set it up for the morning of our second day and just hoped for a nice boat ride. We had no clue what an experience we would have when we got there.

Our hour boat ride was relaxingly tranquil as we were surrounded by the 16 islands making up Kibuye coated in fog. The islands and mountains seemed to go on into the obis on one side and the other was fog covered leaving it up to our own imaginations what was on the other side…the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kibuye Boat Tour 6_JPP

We watched a couple birds scurry away as our boat approached and passed one island, a birdwatcher’s paradise. The birds took off and flew around us as if they were putting on a show for us and our cameras.

When approaching Napoleon Island, we kept our eyes peeled for bats thinking we would surely see them. As we neared closer, we heard the chirping of the bats but couldn’t find any sight of them. That’s when our boat captain asked if he could go there.

What we didn’t know was that our boat captain had plans for us to hike up the steep island to get a close view of the bats. I recommend wearing sneakers or hiking boots if you plan to do the same. In flip flops, I could only make it about halfway up before I had to stop and wait for my husband and dad to make their way up the path to the top. As I sat watching birds and butterflies flurry around me, something caught my eye. As I turned around to look up, I was stunned at the cloud of bats circling overhead. My dad and husband had made it to the top with our boat captain who called all bats out of the tree tops.

Fruit Bats on Napoleon Island 2_JPP

I found out later from my husband that the bats were circling just overhead of him and my dad, just above the top of the tree they were standing under. I knew what an incredible experience it was for me halfway down the island’s peak but I couldn’t even imagine what the experience was like for them. If you make it out to Kibuye – and do not have a bat phobia – head over to Napoleon Island.

But this was not the only adventure we had during our day and a half stay in Kibuye….