The East Africa Footprint Handbook 4thedition had the following entry “A Meriden Umubano, Blvd de l’Umuganda, BP 874, T 82176/7/8 83362/3/4, French restaurant, swimming pool, tennis, shops, conference room and miniature golf”. “Hang on” I hear you exclaim “miniature golf!” Yes we have or at least had mini golf in the fair city of Kigali. This warranted some further exploration.
So, I approached the Novotel now the Umabano skilful navigating the obligatory security. I popped out on the veranda near the swimming pool. “Hi, do you have mini golf here?” I asked an employee. “No” came the swift and seemingly authoritative reply. “Oh” I said, slightly crest fallen. Luckily I have been in the situation before in Rwanda with too swift and confident reply so I asked if I could a look round. The employee didn’t seem to mind either way.
First I went north round the pool to the left and bumped into the tennis courts. Next I went south to the other end of the rear of the Umubano. From afar there looked like an area left to decay. As things came closer I could begin to make out concrete strips. I had found what’s left of the only miniature golf course in Kigali; finding 7 holes.
As a special surprise my wife and I returned for our anniversary. Yes she is a big miniature golf fan. We approached security at the hotel with a putter and a few golf balls. Nonchalantly, we placed the putter on the x-ray belt and walked through without comment. Once inside the hotel this time I knew where I was going and we proceeded straight the back turned right and went to tee off on the first hole. We played each hole in turn cleaning it up before teeing off. It was tight game with much drama until to the last.
Get down to the Umubano, get playing and hopefully they will be back the course to its former glory.