Gisenyi (Rubavu) is right on the border with the DRC It is one of Rwanda's loveliest spots and the closest this landlocked country has to a beach resort. It has some attractive stretches of sand 'beaches'. They are fringed with all manner of tropical vegetation along Lake Kivu's long shore.
Gisenyi is unsurprisingly a popular Rwanda safari holiday destination for wealthy Rwandans, expats and independent travelers alike. The town itself projects a languid air of some forgotten upcountry backwater, and that's part of its appeal. If you need some action, go on a boat tour. You can take a kayak excursion on majestic Lake Kivu or hit the Congo Nile Trail on foot or bicycle. The lake is one of the Great Lakes in the Albertine Rift Valley, it has a maximum depth of nearly 500m. Lake Kivu is one of the 20 deepest and most voluminous lakes in the world.
Where is Giseny (Rubavu)
Gisenyi town is a beautiful town in the northwestern province of Rwanda. It is found in the Rubavu district that is situated on the northern shore of the beautiful Lake Kivu. This is a destination for travelers looking for a beach resort or trip more to rest. Most of this town is comprised of beachy sand fronts and coral vegetation. Lake Kivu is one of Africa’s great lakes that is shared by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Lake Kivu is one of the lakes that have limnic eruptions where the carbon dioxide suddenly erupts from the surface and this is because of the lava that flowed into the lake from mount Nyiragongo on the last eruption of 2002. Lake Kivu is a wide and one of the deepest lakes in the world but accommodates several activities such as boat trips and fishing. Lake Kivu is also found in the Albertine region and empties into the Rusizi river further southwards to the Lake Tanganyika.
Gisenyi has 2 borders that cross to the republic of Congo that is the Grande barrier and the Petite barrier which is currently closed. This petite barrier is nothing like its name as one might think it is the smaller. This border is much bigger than the Grande barrier actually and had a higher number of people crossing when it was still open. Gisenyi is a much smaller town as compared to the neighboring city of Goma.
Gisenyi is a Place to Relax
Gisenyi is a great final destination for travelers to relax and unwind from the tour especially those who have had many or challenging hikes. You can stretch out at the beach shores with a view of the Virunga volcanoes and if you get a good spot you will be able to see all the five of them from one point. You can take a boat trip visiting different the different islands and also have an opportunity to interact with the locals. You may also engage in the local therapeutic massages at the Kigarama hot springs.
Make sure to check ask your driver guide to get you the best if you are interested. These hot springs are believed to be healing hot springs by the local community that stays around there. They usually visit these “magic waters” whenever they are not feeling well and have said to leave feeling healed thus the belief. The Kigarama hot springs are just 2 kilometers away from Brilawa Rwanda’s only brewery. This site is not only visited by the local community but also a common site now for tour activity. There are other hot springs in the region like the Gisenyi Hotspring, Kinigi Hot Springs, Bugarama Hot springs, Nyamyumba hot springs.
On your visit to the hot springs, you may also be educated about the formation of these tourist attractions and learn some history that the site may carry.
Gisenyi town has various hot spots with great accommodation facilities like Lake Kivu Serena hotel, Paradise Malahide, Palm beach resort, Asante Hotel, and Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel. Reach out to your operator to get you the ideal accommodation in your budget range and great views of the wonderful lake. Relax, explore as you have fun can all be achieved in Gisenyi town.
There are also other tour activities you may engage in like join in on the coffee experience, camping tour, night fishing that takes about 4 hours, also on the Gisenyi boat trip you may have an Island visit to fly bats and also visit the blue monkey that stays on napoleon island.
Things to Do in Gisenyi
Gisenyi is the best spot and below we list a number of activities that you can do while Gisenyi. Before taking you through the nitty gritty of what to do in Gisenyi, you need to know more about the Place. Located in the district of Rubavu, close to the DR.Congo border is the battling city of Gisenyi. Nestled along Lake Kivu offering the city excellent beach resorts. Gisenyi is also surrounded by a number of tea plantations and the Congo Nile trail offering a great number of activities. Hence the reasons as to why we opted to list the different activities that you can do in Gisenyi.
Kayaking on Lake Kivu
Whilst in Gisenyi you can opt to soak up in the peace and quiet of Lake Kivu through Kayaking. A days trip kayaking trip, will offer you a different view of Rwanda’s thousand hills. More so, it allow you to view the bustling fishing communities along the lake . More So, it will allow you vie excellent birdlife as the different birds fly above you as you Kayak. Professional guides are available to take you through this unique and adventurous opportunity. The Scenes and views are excruciating.
Visit Hot Springs
Located 7kms from Gisenyi city centre towards Kigali are the healing hot water springs of Nyamyumba. There is no scientific explanation of these hot springs yet. But given there location, close to an active volcanos, it is believe that this volcano is responsible for heating up these springs. Watch hot water ooze out of the ground and relax , or top to swim and unwind with a massage from the locals.
Congo Nile trail Trek
One of the best hiking trail in Rwanda , the Congo Nile Trail that runs 227 kms of breathing taking views extends all the way to Rusizi. Meandering through hills, banana and tea plantations. The trail can be explored on foot or on a bicycle taking you 8 to 5 days respectively. The Congo Nile trails, takes you through Nyungwe Forest national park the home of other primates in Rwanda. For more information about cycling the Congo Nile trail check out our cycling safaris page.
Visit the Local Fishing Villages
Lake Kivu is the major source of Fresh Fish for Rwanda and thus participating in fishing and learning more about how the locals survive would be a great experience for your to compare. Take a boat cruise and go visit a couple of fishing villages along the shores of Lake Kivu. Learn more about how the fisher men preserve the fish.
Trek primates in Gishwati- Mukura National Park
Gishwati-mukura is a newly gazetted national park close to Gisenyi that is home to a number of birds, plenty of primates to include ; chimpanzees and monkeys. You can go for nature walk or a primate walk in these two forests that is Gishwati and mukura from which the name of this new national park was derived.
Far but close is the Nyiragongo activate volcano which can be visited from Gisenyi. Gisenyi is close to D.R.Congo and also the Nyirangongo volcano. A two day hike can be organised to the top of the volcano, so you and have an up and close experience. Professionals are available to guide you up the volcano which is part of a chain of 8 volcanoes that connect, Uganda Rwanda and D.R.Congo. You need at least
Relax at the Beach
Lake Kivu doesn’t have the long white sand beaches, like in Mombasa however there is enough of beaches to your to chill and relax after your adventure Rwanda Holiday. Relax by the beach and appreciate mother nature at the end of your tour.
With the above information, you can now opt to spend at least 3 or more nights in Gisenyi. For now that’s all that we have for Gisenyi, however for each and every other day that comes, new activities are introduced. Thus watch the same for more of what to do in Gisenyi.
|Languages spoken||French, Kinyarwanda|
|Currency used||Rwanda Franc (RWF)|