Gisenyi Rwanda, The Beachside of Lake Kivu
Gisenyi is a lake city on the shore of Lake Kivu in Rwanda. It is about a 4-hour drive from the capital Kigali and is well connected by carpeted roads. Gisenyi is a border town and is connected with Goma DRC too. So, the culture here is like a blend of Rwandese and Congolese cultures. Gisenyi is a small and quiet town and you can find a sort of holiday feel to this place. It is a great place for those, who wanna get to know the Rwandese way of life.
How to Get to Gisenyi Rwanda?
Gisenyi is about a 4-hour drive from the capital Kigali. Although, the distance from Gisenyi to Kigali is just 154km. However, it is easily accessible by taxi or public transport. For this purpose, you have to take a bus or shared taxi from Nyabugogo bus stand Kigali. likewise, you can take a ticket from Virunga express. The ticket price will be 3000Rfr($3). Alternatively, you can take a shared taxi at an even less price. The winding roads were of wonderful quality as you can see the stunning views of green rolling hills on your way.
It is a border town so, anyone coming from Goma(DRC) side can also approach this city from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
How to Get Around Gisenyi Rwanda?
Although the city of Gisenyi can easily be explored on foot. However, for out-of-town resorts, you can take motorbikes or taxis too.
Which one is the Best Season to Visit Gisenyi Rwanda?
Although the best time to visit Gisenyi depends solely on visitors’ interest. However, for beach exploration, we can choose any month between June to September. Indeed, we can visit this beautiful lake city throughout the year.
Where to Stay in Gisenyi Rwanda?
Gisenyi is home to all sorts of accommodations like hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, guest houses, and B&B. It offers a combination of modern and traditional facilities and services. As per my research, I chose Inzu Lodge Gisenyi which seems great by its reviews. So, after my stay there I can fully recommend it. The INZU Lodge is providing ecological accommodations and a unique tourism experience beside the shoreline of Lake Kivu. Moreover, you can rent a boat to go to Kivu Lake or rent a bike to go on Congo the Nile Trail.
Top Things to Do in Gisenyi Rwanda
Lake Kivu, The center of Gisenyi
Lake Kivu is one of the Great African Lakes that lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It is part of the Albertine Rift. Lake Kivu provides its water to the great Ruzizi River that flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika. It has a surface area of 2,700 sq. km, with a maximum width of 48 km and a length of 89 km. It is a lifeline of Gisenyi town. On the Rwandese side, the lake forms many spectacular sandy beaches. Rubavu Public Beach is one of the most famous ones among others. some locals claim Lake Kivu now has bilharzia in it and we have to take Bilharzia pills before a dip into the lake.
Stroll down the Town of Gisenyi
I stayed at Inzu Lodges which was right on the bank of Lake Kivu. From my hostel, there was a vast view of the Peninsula-type hill of Nyamyumba Hot Springs. In addition, there we can spot a couple of nameless small islands from there. So, I decided to take a walk along the lake to the hot springs. It was a walk of about 4km that took a stroll of 40 minutes.
On the way to the Hot springs, I took the best shots of the sunset. There was a thin connecting path between the hot springs peninsula and the village. I want to go to the top of the hill. So, I hired a guide from the village a take a complete round the peninsula including its top.
Take a Boating tour to Lake Kivu
It is a recreational activity to take a short or long boat tide into lake Kivu. The rent is 10000 per boat that holds one to three tourists for an hour. Moreover, you can reach the small rocky island in Lake Kivu. On the way, you can spot many fishermen on their business.
Visit the Nyamyumba hot springs
At the end of my walk, I reached the Nyamyumba Hot Springs. I think the small village beside the Hot springs is also named Nyamyumba. There are several points of Hot Springs within the small Island. Generally, there are two sections. One at the right section after entering into the village is totally free and there was a rush of Local peoples. The other one which is a slight right after passing through the village is quite better than the previous one. Here you can take a bath, rinse yourself with hot sand or try to boil your egg.
I actually wasn’t interested in the hot springs due to time constraints while sunset at top of the adjacent hill. So, I took a couple of shots while hiking to the top.
Panoramic Hike to a Near By Hill top
Rwanda is known as the Land of Thousand Hills and there is no exception for Gisenyi. Other than the Great Congo Nile Trail, there are certainly short and long-distance trails through the city of Gisenyi. Rubavu Artificial Forest is one such activity here. My hostel people advise me to take a hike in Gisenyi. When I asked for a recommendation, he told me to mark any of the hilltops in your view and go for the hike for that specific point. So, on the morning of my 2nd in Gisenyi, I decided to take it a try to the backside hills of my lodge. So, I get some directions from the hostel and went out for my morning hike. After a few minutes, I reached the small settlement where I enquired the way and a little kid offered to go with me to the top.
We happily started our trek. The one guide team becomes a four-member guiding team in no time. The hike was not easy though the time was about 30 minutes to reach the top. We saw the best views of Gisenyi while our way up. From the top not only we can see the panorama shots of the Gisenyi but we can see the settlements of Goma which is the border town of the Democratic Republic of Congo. After spending half an hour at the top we came back to our hostel. Definitely, it was a must-do activity in Gisenyi.
Make a plan to Go on Congo Nile Trail
The Congo Nile Trail offers great adventure travel on the coast of Lake Kivu. Tourists can take a hiking or biking tour that extends all the way from the northern Rubavu (Gisenyi) district down to the southern Rusizi district. While this route passes through Rutsiro, Karongi, and Nyamasheke.The full length of the Congo Nile Trail is about 227 km (141 miles. Whereas, tourists do this activity in a span of a 10-day hike or a 5-day bike ride.
Where To Go after Visiting Gisenyi?
It has a pleasant stay in Gisenyi. It was a relaxed stay in front of Lake Kivu. Although I want to extend my time here in Gisenyi I have to leave for another beautiful town that was Kibuye. Luckily the Kiuoye was also on the shores of Lake Kivu and also located on the Congo Nile Trail.