After leaving the main road, our speed quickly diminished, as the driver had to seek the best path over the rutted unsealed track. The rainy season had done damage, but at the same time, being tossed around in the car also made it feel like we were getting somewhere remote. We passed through woods, valleys, and small villages, and it was only when we stopped to take in the views, that the guide/driver discovered that one of our tires was flat. In distance, we did not have to go far, but we just had to go slow, so slow, in fact, that small boys could easily run with the car whenever we were going uphill. The surprise was that we drove straight to the largest waterfall. A wall of water was coming down from the forest above, laying a veil of fine water over sharp rocks on which it splashed and sprayed.
Fortunately, from here, there were still tracks we could walk, and we hiked to all of the four waterfalls that, combined, are called the Chutes de la Karera. A rather steep but short climb took us to a stream rushing through a rocky channel, in which small waterfalls had formed; this water would eventually flow down to form the big waterfall we had just seen. On the way, we could see another waterfall in a distance, through an opening in the forest. We crossed the stream, and found ourselves right on top of the big falls, although they are so steep you can't really see much of it from above. We now took a different trail, and after a few minutes of hiking, arrived at the foot of a waterfall - the one we had seen from a distance.
No matter how many waterfalls I have seen, I still love their sound (or noise), and I could have stayed there for hours. However, the fourth waterfall was still waiting for us, and we descended to reach it. Smaller than the others, this one of the lowest, so it receives its water from the other waterfalls higher up. To our left, we had views over the valley into which the water was splashing on its way to Lake Tanganyika. We returned to the main waterfall, where I watched the water tumble over the edge, rushing down the black rocks and widening to the pool at the bottom. It had been a long drive from Bujumbura, but I was happy we had taken the trouble.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Chutes de la Karera (Burundi). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Chutes de la Karera. Read more about this site.