Rubavu Destination

Welcome to Lake Kivu Gisenyi Gisenyi is a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu, in northwestern Rwanda’s Rubavu ...


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Welcome to Lake Kivu Gisenyi

Gisenyi is a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu, in northwestern Rwanda’s Rubavu district. Beach resorts line the lake’s sandy waterfront, and kayaks ply its clear waters.

From Gisenyi, the long-distance, lakeside Congo Nile Trail winds through hilly terrain, passing villages, waterfalls and tea and coffee plantations. East of town, Gishwati-Mukura National Park’s rainforests are home to chimpanzees and monkeys.

Also, Gisenyi (Rubavu), right on the border with the DRC, is one of Rwanda’s loveliest spots and the closest this landlocked country has to a beach resort.

With some attractive stretches of sand fringed with all manner of tropical vegetation along Lake Kivu gisenyi long shore, Gisenyi is unsurprisingly a popular destination for Rwandans, expats and independent travelers alike.

The town itself projects a languid air of some forgotten upcountry town, and that’s part of its appeal. If you need some action, go on a boat tour, take a kayak excursion on majestic Lake Kivu gisenyi or hit the Congo Nile Trail on foot or bicycle.

One of the Great Lakes in the Albertine Rift Valley, it has a maximum depth of nearly 500m and is one of the 20 deepest and most voluminous lakes in the world.

A waterfront town on the shores of Lake Kivu gisenyi, Rubavu is an hour away from the Volcanoes National Park, and makes a good stopover on the way to or from Nyungwe, or somewhere to relax after gorilla tracking.

Rubavu, as well as other spots along Lake Kivu gisenyi, has red sandy beaches, warm, clean water and an easygoing tropical character. It is a great place to unwind, soak up the tranquil vibe, watch the birds and enjoy various watersports.

Inland, old colonial buildings stand on palm-lined avenues, kept company by various banks, hotels and offices.

The city marks the beginning of the Congo Nile Trail, which extends 227km south to Rusizi. The trail can be enjoyed on foot or by mountain bike, with endless lake views, friendly hamlets, fishermen at work and women clothed in striking prints going about their daily lives.

With many tea and coffee plantations around Rubavu, as well as bird and primates to see in the new Gishwati-Mukura National Park, the area has something for everyone.


  • Swimming;

Swimming is a common activity which is carried on this lake since the lake allows the tourists to relax and chill out as they take a swim. There are no hippos, crocodiles no Bilharzia in this lake making it perfect for swimming. This is mainly because the temperatures of the water are favorable for the swimmers.

  • Relaxation and chilling out

Relaxation along the shores of Lake Kivu gisenyi is the perfect thing to do especially after having a gorilla trek in the volcanoes national park or a volcano hike as well as chimpanzee trekking.

Chilling out along the shores of Lake Kivu gisenyi makes a memorable end of your safari in Rwanda. Many holiday makers relax as they enjoy the tropical sun, read a book or view the beautiful scenery of the lake.

The lake is also surrounded by fishing boats, beautiful breeze of the lake as well as mountains. The lake provides the best scenic views ever while relaxing along its shores.

  • Water sports along Lake Kivu Gisenyi

Water sports is so common along Lake Kivu Gisenyi since there are many water activities that can be engaged in by the holiday makers.

Some of these include; water skiing, wind surfing, wind surfing, paddling and enjoying a motor boat on the lake. Fishing is also a common activity on Lake Kivu Gisenyi.

  • Hiking and Biking around Lake Kivu Gisenyi

Hiking and biking alongside the shores of Lake Kivu Gisenyi is perfect for many holiday makers. The hikes can be one to half day as well as nature walks.

Tourists can be able to venture out the new developed Nile Congo trails, village visits and cultural interactions hence getting an enticing experience. Climbing and biking of hills around is the lake is also a common activity.

  • Coffee tours around Lake Kivu Gisenyi

Rwanda has many coffee plantations and these can be enjoyed by the tourists one coffee tours by taking a boat cruise on the lake to Nyamirundi Island.

You can be able to learn the whole process of coffee making starting from stage one to the last stage. You even get chance to test the last product. This experience is so good for those interested in agro- tourism.

  • Orphanage visit –Gisenyi

The Imbabazi Orphanage is so common around Lake Kivu Gisenyi and it was started by Rosamond who lived in the Mugongo area. She started a flower garden which supplied flowers to the nearby hotels and guest houses.

This orphanage was started in 1994 in Gisenyi and it mainly works with children. It attracts many tourists who visit Lake Kivu Gisenyi as well as Rwanda.

  • Beach Visits

Many holiday makers have been attracted to the beautiful sandy beaches around Lake Kivu Gisenyi and these encourage relaxation due to the cool breeze and natural waves.

The beaches are surrounded by mountains that make it an outstanding sight and a perfect place to relax. Many gorilla trekkers relax along these beaches to cool off.


The Nyamyumba Hot Springs are located in Rubavu District and over the years, it has attracted quite a number of local and international tourists.

The number of tourists is limited by the fact that this place is still undeveloped therefore limited access as roads become impassable especially after it has rains.

There is also no shelter for the tourists to use for example if it rains poor neither is there a nice restarts to provide food provide.

There are also Gisenyi hot springs located in Gisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu Gisenyi on the eastern side just a few kilometers from the southern side of Gisenyi main town.

They are located very close to a local brewery which you can visit after visiting the hot spring. The water heats boils up to about 70 to 75°C.


The strip of sand beneath the main town is a justifiably popular place to take a dip. That said, some travellers imagining Caribbean sands are disappointed to discover the waters are grey-green and the sand coarse and yellowish.

There is, however, plenty of it and, after days on the road, Lake Kivu Gisenyi represents a welcome opportunity to throw down a beach towel or do as the locals do and spread a picnic blanket under one of the many shade trees.


During the rainy season, at the height of production, the Pfunda Tea Factory processes up to 90 tonnes of tea from the surrounding plantations daily.

Guided tours follow the tea production from arrival of the green leaf through to the withering, cutting, drying and sorting stages, before it is packaged for shipment to Mombasa (Kenya). The factory is about 9km from town on the road to Kigali and most easily reached by moto-taxi (about RFr1000).


The full Congo Nile Trail is a 227 km (141 mile) route stretching along the shore of Lake Kivu Gisenyi in western Rwanda, from Gisenyi / Rubavu in the north to Cyangugu in the south.

It was originally designed to be traveled as a roughly 10 day hike or a 5 day bike ride, though fewer people complete the full route these days because the southern half has been paved.

Since 2014 when the southern half, from Kibuye to Cyangugu, was paved, it’s more common to only travel the northern half. This can be done in 4-5 days of hiking or 2-3 days of biking.

For those still interested in traveling the entire route, it can certainly be done, but hiking the paved road would be considerably less interesting and pleasant than the dirt paths and roads in the northern half. On a bicycle I suppose the paved portion might be more appealing.