Kayonza; A promising attraction

On the way to Kayonza town, you will feast your eyes on rural settlements, foot hill terrace farms, cattle paddocks, green valleys and swamps.
Midland Hotel in Kayonza
Midland Hotel in Kayonza

On the way to Kayonza town, you will feast your eyes on rural settlements, foot hill terrace farms, cattle paddocks, green valleys and swamps.

The town is situated in the Eastern province about 30 kilometres from Kigali. One noticeable thing about it is the fact that it stands on the junction that separates Rusumo (Tanzanian border) and Kagitumba (Ugandan border). A cow sculpture right at the junction centre is something you cannot miss.

The town has a relaxed atmosphere, and is mostly quiet, except for the occasional noise from minibuses and heavy duty cross-border trucks. The town is reasonably clean and filled with moto riders going about their business.

 “This town has undergone a quick transformation, a few years back it was filled with shanty buildings, pot holes and a poor drainage system that was choking with filth. But we are glad now that local authorities created an environment that attracted investors who have revamped the town,” says Kamari Gilbert, a resident.

Still on the main street is the neat but half empty taxi park, accommodating a number of minibus companies like Okapi, Atraco and Stella that ply upcountry routes. Cross border buses like Jaguar also make occasional stop overs.

 Just a stone throw away from the park is the Kayonza food market, an open air enclave surrounded by filthy water channels and a car washing bay. The majority of the people here are women seated on the ground under the direct sun, selling their merchandise. The items range from matooke, tomatoes, Irish potatoes, and other items.

“The working conditions here are obviously not desirable, but the authorities promised to improve them soon and we are hoping they will do,” notes Jacqueline Kwizera, a market vendor.

About six kilometres outside Kayonza town on the Eastern edge of Lake Muhazi, seats Gahini hospital, built in 1922 by Church Missionary Society ((CMS) Missionaries from Britain. It is one of the largest in the Eastern Province, with services like orthopedic surgery, HIV treatment, rehabilitation and maternity care.

Kayonza is also a strategic tourist town, 39km outside it stands the Akagera National Park, endowed with streams that emit beauty. The park is rich with a wide collection of wildlife like elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, lions, leopards, zebras, giraffes, gorillas and chimpanzees.

For those who wish to visit, Kayonza town does not lack recreation and accommodation centres. Savannah Motel, on the main street, the only low cost nook, goes for Rwf 10,000 and 15,000 a night. A plate of food goes for about Rwf 1500 to 2500, a bottle of soda being the cheapest goes for as low as Rwf 400.

The prices at Midland hotel, which is on the same street, go a little higher. The price for accommodation per night ranges from Rwf 10,000 to 30,000. A plate of food ranges from Rwf 2000-5000.A bottle of Inyange water goes for Rwf 500. Other not-so-cheap hotels are Eastland and Silent Hill Motels.

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