It was a hot afternoon in Bujumbura, and I felt like exploring Saga beach. It proved a little more difficult than I imagined to find a moto-taxi; I met two girls who walked with me, but the driver they asked, wanted too much money, so I ended up taking the same mini-bus they were taking themselves, as they turned out to be going in the same direction. We reached Saga within ten minutes, and from the road, I reached the beach in a matter of minutes. To my surprise, it was totally empty, except for a bar on stilts just off the beach where a handful of people were having a drink. Saga beach is mostly used for weekends, ideally located at just a few kilometres from the city. I walked towards the west, towards the DR of Congo. The sun was shining mercilessly, and the clear weather allowed me to admire the high mountains on both sides of Lake Tanganyika. It is a narrow and long lake: the horizon to the south was just water. This is one of the deepest lakes in the world.
The wind was pushing waves ashore, and cooling me down at the same time. I walked a while, and noticed that where there were hotels, the beach was reasonably clean, but outside the hotel areas, trash had washed ashore. I found myself a spot on a clean stretch, lied down, and closed my eyes. With my eyes closed, it gave me the sensation that I was hearing the sea. I had drifted away, and was awakened by the voice of a guy asking for attention. I had wondered why no one was trying to sell me something, ask for money, or otherwise want my attention - but here he was. An seemingly endless monologue followed, about his 5 nationalities, about his friends, his smoking habits, and reggae - until, of course, he bluntly asked for money. My no turned the atmosphere around: he now tried to play my guilt. It was time to walk back, past the bar, because I was curious about the curved beach at the end, and wanted to have a look around the corner.
It was only when I was walking back, that I noticed that the sky in the north had turned black, it looked threatening, I could see lightning in the clouds - and it was all moving towards the lake, fast. But the sun was still burning in my neck, and I walked around the corner. More trash on the beach here, and high grass just a few metres from the shoreline. When I had rounded the corner, the city of Bujumbura, hitherto hidden by the cape, now appeared close. I wanted to be back in the city for sunset, and started walking back - also because the coastline ahead did not seem attractive. I had a quick swim in the lake, and while I was getting dry in the sun, drops started falling on my head. I turned around: the sky right above me was dark grey, but I could also see the sky already clearing behind it. A rainbow had been spanned in the sky, and I watched a little longer, until the downpour that had been in the air for a while, really came down. I took shelter under a roof, and within minutes, the rain had passed, and when I reached the main road again, the sun was already out again.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Saga Beach (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 Saga Beach. Read more about this site.