Introduction to Rubavu-Gisenyi
Rubavu-Gisenyi, often referred to as the Rwandan Riviera, is a captivating and vibrant region nestled along the shores of Lake Kivu, one of Rwanda’s natural gems. This picturesque area, known for its pristine palm-studded sandy beaches, is a top destination for travelers seeking relaxation and natural beauty. Gisenyi, in particular, stands as the most visited area in Rwanda along Lake Kivu, offering a serene setting to unwind and rejuvenate during your Rwandan safari.
Gisenyi boasts a unique blend of attractions that cater to various interests. On one hand, you’ll encounter bustling markets, infusing life into the 45th largest town in Rwanda. On the other hand, the colonial legacy of Belgian homes lines the streets, creating a charming backdrop. Most notably, Gisenyi offers breathtaking views of Lake Kivu, making it an ideal destination for leisurely pursuits.
While Gisenyi is often likened to Rwanda’s resort town, it provides an atmosphere of tranquility and relaxation unlike the bustling beachfronts of the Indian Ocean, where vendors relentlessly promote various wares. Here, the tranquility allows visitors to fully unwind and immerse themselves in the natural beauty and serenity of Lake Kivu.
Accommodation options are plentiful in Gisenyi, with an increasing array of choices each year. Most lodges provide their own dining facilities, and there are also numerous standalone restaurants to explore, ensuring a diverse culinary experience.
Gisenyi offers an array of activities and attractions, making it an ideal destination for leisure and adventure:
Lake Kivu provides a perfect setting for a sundowner cruise, allowing visitors to explore the lake’s stunning vistas. During these boat rides, you can visit charming fishing villages, observe various bird species, and soak in the breathtaking landscapes that surround the lake.
Swimming is a popular activity on Lake Kivu due to its safe and inviting waters. Unlike some African lakes that host hippos, crocodiles, or Bilharzia, Lake Kivu is free from such concerns, making it a fantastic destination for swimmers. The water temperatures are generally pleasant, enhancing the swimming experience.
The shores of Lake Kivu provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation, especially after engaging in activities like gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park or volcano hikes. Relaxing by Lake Kivu offers a memorable conclusion to your Rwandan safari. Many vacationers unwind by basking in the tropical sun, reading a book, or simply savoring the beauty of the lake’s scenery. The presence of fishing boats, the gentle breeze from the lake, and the backdrop of mountains contribute to the tranquil ambiance.
Lake Kivu is a hub for water sports enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities to enjoy. Visitors can partake in water skiing, windsurfing, paddling, and even take exhilarating motorboat rides on the lake. Fishing is also a common pastime, allowing guests to experience the joys of angling in these pristine waters.
Exploring the trails along the shores of Lake Kivu through hiking and biking is a popular activity. These hikes vary from short nature walks to half-day adventures, providing opportunities to discover the newly developed Nile Congo trails, visit local villages, and engage in cultural interactions. Climbing the hills surrounding the lake is also a rewarding experience for those seeking more active pursuits.
Rwanda is renowned for its coffee plantations, and tourists can partake in coffee tours by taking a boat cruise to Nyamirundi Island on Lake Kivu. Here, you can immerse yourself in the coffee-making process, from the initial stages to the final product, even getting a taste of the freshly brewed coffee. This agro-tourism experience is perfect for those interested in the art of coffee production.
The Imbabazi Orphanage, located in Gisenyi, is a notable attraction around Lake Kivu. Founded by Rosamond Carr, who resided in the Mugongo area, the orphanage primarily focuses on children. Its establishment dates back to 1994, and it has since become a significant draw for tourists exploring Lake Kivu and Rwanda. The orphanage provides a heartwarming experience for visitors interested in supporting charitable initiatives while enjoying the natural beauty of the region.
Rubavu-Gisenyi, with its captivating landscapes and diverse activities, promises an unforgettable journey through Rwanda’s natural wonders and cultural treasures. Whether you seek relaxation by the beach, adventurous water sports, cultural encounters, or simply a peaceful retreat, this region along Lake Kivu offers it all.