A visit to the land of a thousand hills is still the ultimate holiday/safari experience.
Rwanda Safari tours to one of Africa’s smallest continent means that Rwandese getaway is always going to a long complicated journey than a mini-day break.But then everything about Rwanda is larger than what you expect in life,right from its spectacular Geography, the thriving capital city(Kigali), National parks, beautiful mountain scenery, surprisingly diverse wildlife, to its extraordinary flora and fauna.Add sophisticated cities like Butare, Ruhengeri,Gisenyi and Kibuye, and the generality of Rwandese themselves and you have all the ingredients for the perfect trip.
Rwanda is one of the most popular travel destinations in Africa.Its known as amajor gorilla trekking, camping, roadtrip and hiking destination, but nomatter your travel style, there is something to draw you closer.The country is filled with natural beauty and iconic man-made wonders which will make you feel like you are in Africa, creating memorable experiences that can never be forgotten, but keeps you wanting to visit over and over again since every trip that you make, you will always find something new about this country to love.The country has plenty to occupy a longer holiday and certainly deserves further exploration. Use the extensive guide to help plan your trip and you will forever love the country as much as other tourists who have ever visited.
Rwanda today is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, in that it has more women in the parliament than any other country in the world which makes it one of the friendliest, safest countries on the continent.It inevitably conjures up images of the dreadful genocide of 1994 when millions of people perished and today the massive genocide is part of the country’s history after the past 24 years.Rwanda is an optimistic country that warmly welcomes its visitors and provides a truly memorable and inspiring holiday.
Getting in and around with Rwanda safari tours
Rwanda is arelatively stable East African country easily accessible by;Kenya, Uganda, Congo,Burundi and Kenya.It is relatively Easy, safe and simple to travel.It is aland locked country rich in Flora and Fauna and stunning natural beauty in its scenic rolling and breath taking green Savannah. The country hosts some rare species of animals like the silverback mountain gorillas as well as unique birds and insects in the tropical forest of Nyungwe.
Although Rwanda is Small, it can easily be accessed by either Air, or by road but not water since it is connected to major transport hubs as well as a few European countries.
Rwanda has possibly the best roads in East Africa. All of the major centers are connected with local and luxury bus services, Rwanda has no railways but there are many small airports dotted across the country making it easy to take a chartered flight between destinations. Your tour consultant or guide will organize your transport around Rwanda. So you will be able to choose between chartered flights and transfer in 4×4 vehicles between your destinations and lodges.
Rwanda shares land borders with Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Tanzania.A 4×4 Wheel drive is a better option for those interested who would wish to travel Rwanda on road.
In Uganda Ther are two main routes which includes; Kabale to Kigali via Katuna or Kisoro to Musanze Via Cyanika,whilst in Congo, there are also two major routes, both of which are on the shores of lake kivu. To the north,the crossing is between Gisenyi and Rubavu while to the south, it is between Cyangugu and Bukavu, Where as in Burundi,The main land border is at Huye(Butare) and Kayanza on the Kigali Bujumbura road between Rwanda and Burundi, not forgetting cross borders from Kigali all the way to Dar-es-salaam in Tanzania.
Rwanda has one international airport-Kigali international Airport, located at kanombe 10km east of Kigali city centre. The airport has different airlines such as;
Ethiopian Airlines; Has two daily flights to/from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and good connections to elsewhere in Africa.
Kenya Airways; Has three daily flights to/from Nairobi.
KLM; Has two daily flights to/from Amsterdam (one via Nairobi). KLM bookings are handled by Kenya Airways.
Qatar Airways; Daily flights to/from Doha.
Turkish Airline; Daily flights to/from Istanbul.
Brussels Airlines; Operates six flights a week to/from Brussels (with onward connections to many European cities). Baggage can be checked in here on the day of departure between 10am and 1pm – very convenient as flights to Brussels leave at night.
Rwanda Airlines; Rwanda’s national carrier flies to/from Accra (Ghana), Brussels (Belgium), Bujumbura (Burundi), Brazzaville (Congo), Cotonou (Benin), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Douala (Cameroon), Dubai (UAE), Entebbe (Uganda), Harare (Zimbabwe), Johannesburg (South Africa), Juba (South Sudan), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Lagos (Nigeria), Libreville (Gabon), London (UK), Lusaka (Zambia), Mombasa (Kenya), Mumbai (India) and Nairobi (Kenya). It has a good safety record.
Where to go.
Things vary significantly from region to region in terms of attitudes, geography, people and culture. Find out about what it is like to be an everyday resident in Rwanda, including how you would get around and what is there to do for fun.
Volcanoes National Park/Rwanda safari tours
Volcanoes National Park lies in the NorthWestern Rwanda and borders Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National park in Uganda.. The national park is known as a haven for the rare and endangered Mountain gorilla and golden monkeys. It is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga mountains, and spans 160 km2 covered in rainforest and bamboo. The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey.
The park was first gazetted in 1925, as a small area bounded by Karisimbi,Bisoke and Mikeno, intended to protect the gorillas from poachers. It was the very first National Park to be created in Africa. Subsequently, in 1929, the borders of the park were extended further into Rwanda and into the Belgian Congo, to form the Albert National Park.a huge area of 8090 km2, run by the Belgian colonial authorities who were in charge of both colonies In 1958, 700 hectares of the park were cleared for a human settlement.
After Congo gained independence in 1765, the park was split into two, and upon Rwandan independence in 1962 the new government agreed to maintain the park as a conservation and tourist area, despite the fact that the new republic was already suffering from overpopulation problems. The park was halved in area ,Between 1969 and 1973, 1,050 hectares of the park were cleared to grow pyrethrum.
The park later became the base for the American naturalist Dian Fossey to carry out her research into the gorillas. She arrived in 1967 and set up the Karisoke Research Centre between Karisimbi and Visoke. From then on ,she spent most of her time in the park, which is widely credited with saving the gorillas from extinction by bringing their plight to the attention of the international community. She was murdered by unknown assailants at her home in 1985, a crime often attributed to the poachers she had spent her life fighting against. Fossey’s life later was portrayed on the big screen in the film “Gorillas in the Mist”, named after her autobiography. She was buried in the park in a grave close to the research center, and a mongst the gorillas which was part of her life.
The Volcanoes National Park became a battlefield during the Rwanda Civil War, with the park headquarters being attacked in 1992. The research center was abandoned, and all tourist activities (including visiting the gorillas) were stopped. They did not resume again until 1999 when the area was deemed to be safe and under control. There has been occasional infiltration by Rwandan rebels from the Democratic Forces for the liberation of Rwanda in subsequent years, but these are always stopped quickly by the Rwandan army and there is thought to be no threat to tourism in the park.
The park is best known for the Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei). Other mammals include: golden monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kandti), black-fronted duiker (Cephalophus niger), buffalo (Syncerus caffer), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus). The bush buck population is estimated to be between 1760–7040 animals.There are also reported to be some elephants in the park, though these are now very rare. There are 178 recorded bird species, with at least 13 species and 16 subspecies endemic to the Virunga and Ruwenzori Mountains.
How to get there
Volacnoes National park is located in a small village called Musanze previously well-known as Ruhengeri, which is very accessible by public transport from Gisenyi or Kigali or from the airport. The drive to Volcanoes national park is 2 hrs and hence one can do gorilla tracking on the same day and drive back to Kigali after the trek. You will be required to arrive at the headquarters of Kinigi, at the park entrance, by 7:00 am, therefore, if you hope to trek gorillas for one day, you have to wake up very early for your journey so that you are on time. However, there isn’t any public transport from Musanze to the headquarters of the park at Kinigi.
What to do
The tours and activities highlighted are chosen based on the travel experiences,data from many tourists who visited volcanoes national park.Enjoy reading about the activities available in this place-It is a little mental vacation.
Even with their geographical location in the far reaches of the continent, Rwanda has maintained a strong tourism base, attracting visitors far and wide to explore these unforgettable attractions.These activties really make you feel like you are lifetimes away away from your routine. We’ve compiled a list of the top things to do in this region, and most of those will have you heading to the great outdoors.You’ll find all kinds of activities listed below,
Gorilla trekking-Rwanda safari tours
Your encounter with the Gorillas is far much inspiring than any other wildlife experience.The precious hour spent in their company-watching the group playing,sulking, teasing each other, eating etc is extraordinary, and gorilla trekking in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is among the best in Africa.
Volcanoes National Park is a home to about 15 habituated groups of mountain gorillas that are scattered all over the park.You will be expected to leave in the morning for your briefing at the park headquarters,after which in the groups of eight each will be taken by a guide and trackers can involve covering long distances, traversing through thick vegetation and the paths- if there are any that can be muddy from the latest rain. It may make it a bit more difficult and it is good to move along at a pace that is right for you, drink plenty of water along the way and use the assistance of a porter to carry your day pack and make your trek a bit easier. There is a gorilla group that is just right for you to visit and for you to enjoy that one hour in the presence of the gorillas.
The trekking experience will be highly rewarding after spending an hour in the presence of the gorilla group after the encounter.
Best time for trekking
Rwanda is a country blessed with two seasons with each season possessing two sub seasons.
The wet season has one short season which occurs in October and November whilst the long one takes on from mid-March to May, whereas the first dry season starts from December to February and the other happens from June to September, this means the climate remains cool all year round- a perfect weather for lengthy treks
Most tourists prefer the dry season because its perfect for trekking mountain gorillas as they are found in the temperature weathered regions with raised landscapes.This is because there are less rainfall and even sometimes no rains at all hence high demand for more gorilla permits.This means travelers have to make early bookings by making 30% payment in advance
The low season-wet season is suitable for budget travelers because the months of ,March,April,May,October and November receive heavy rain down pour sold at discounted rates.
Lodge costs in the low season are also more favorable than during high season, since the occupancy rate is low, they are set to attract budget travelers. To add to all the advantages offered on the low season, the few who trek are allocated to different gorilla families, which provide them with closer and more exclusive interactions with them.
Despite the advantages during this season, rains make trekking difficult, in that the grounds become slippery and muddy, together with the showers and droplets, making it uncomfortable or interesting experience for less experienced walkers.However,there has never been a whole day lost to the rain, this means that the sun shines shortly after the rain has fallen, enabling trekkers to continue with the activity.
The gorilla tracking permits
The current amount of gorilla permits is 1500 USD per permit.The government receives this money in order to support the conservationists and the support of the local families who now see gorilla tourism as a benefit and it has dramatically reduced poaching of gorillas in Rwanda especially Volcanoes National park.
What to wear
- A pair of long trousers and long-sleeveed- shirts, to proyect you from scratches,stinging insects
- Water proof boots with good attraction
- Ahat with awide brim
- A walking stick
- Gardening gloves
- Light Rain jacket
- A sweater for cold nights and early mornings
- Insect repellants
- Water proof Day pack to pack, your binoculars, cameras, your lunch and afew bottle of water
- An army swiss knife
- Light weight wool socks
Golden Monkey tracking.
Golden monkeys are a species of Old world monkeys found in the Virunga Volcanic mountains of Central Africa, including four national parks; Mgahinga in the south-Western Uganda; Volcanoes national park in the North-western Rwanda;Virunga and Kahuzi Biega in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
This species was previously thought to be a subspecies of the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis) and the two are similar overall, but the golden monkey has a golden-orange patch on the upper flanks and back.
Not much is known about the golden monkey’s behaviour. It lives in social groups of up to 30 individuals. Its diet consists mainly of bamboo, leaves and fruit, though it is also thought to eat insects.
Like the Mountain Gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, the Golden Monkeys are habituated, meaning that they are used to human beings and will not scamper off when approached by visitors.
Golden monkey tracking at volcanoes National pack is yet a nother heart warming highlight forun an adventure lover that takes a safari canopy and are unusual species listed among the world’s most endangered species.
There are two habituated groups of golden monkeys to be tracked by tourists each having 100 individuals, This striking activity is one of the most extraordinary and exceptional tourism activities that draws thousands of visitors from all corners of the world to Volcanoes National Park .leaving a total contentment in the hearts of the participants because they get an opportunity to trek and hike through this body refreshing mountain and meet face to face with these rare and endangered primates.
The golden monkey trek begins starts by reporting to the park headquarters at 7:00am for briefing,where you will meet friendly and proffessinal guides who will brief you on what to expect on your trip.You will then be driven to the trail head at the edge of the park which is about 15 minutes away. The ideal time for the trek starts at 8:00am.
The monkeys will easily be found as they live at the bottom of the volcano mountains in the bamboo forest, and by following clues of fresh leftovers from eaten bamboo shoot, the trackers are able to locate them in less than an hour. Visitors spend a maximum of one hour watching closely these incredibly beautiful monkeys as they skillfully pick bamboo shoots and make huge leaps from tree to tree which is enabled by their extra long tails that provide great balance.
Golden monkey permits
The golden monkey permits are at $100 per permit per individual and its better to make early bookings 3-6 months before the actual date through your travel agents or from the park headquarters because of the big number of tourists in the peak season.
What to wear
- The Hiking shoes
- A rain jacket
- Drinking water
- A camera with a flash
Volcanoes national park is rich in Bamboo, grassland, Afro-alpine and bushland vegetation with montane forest which favour the survival of different species of birds.For bird junkies, abirding safari in Volcanoes national park will definitely be a perfect choice of Adventure offering you the best African bird encounters.
Volcanoes National Park alone has approximately 300 bird species and the keen bird watchers can easily be able to see more than half of the birds which include; handsome francolin, the Rwenzori turaco, the Archer’s ground robin,the red-faced woodland warbler , the dusky crimson-wing, Rwenzori double collared sunbird, there is the collared apalis and the Rwenzori batis as well as the strange weaver, African Green Broadbill, Lagden’s Bush-shrike, and Kivu Ground Thrush and many others.
Birding begins in the morning with a briefing and then together with the well trained birding safari, you will enter the jungle to search for the different bird species that live in this forest.
Hiking Dian fossey tomb site
Hiking Dian Fossey’s grave site is one of the must do activities in the Volcanoes national Park in Rwanda.The hike aims at giving all tourists alearning experience about the hard work of the Dian Fossey, famous American primatologists and conservationist. Who dedicated her life to research about the mountain gorillas.She built aresearch camp in the valley between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke hence the name Karisoke.She was eventually killed because of the various conflicts with the negative forces who were against her works of protecting the mountain gorillas and their habitat and was later buried longside other gorillas at her center-Karisoke Research Centre.This is the very big reason as to why the survival of the mountain gorillas islargely credited to her.
The hike is an incredible experience physically, emotionally and intellectually, as it also provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the park.The trails goes through one of the most beautiful areas of the park with rare plant life, stunning views of the virungas, and the sightings of the numerous.It is also inspiring because you have so many chances of seeing the gorillas in addition to golden monkeys, views of the forest hogs, forest elephants and the Albertine rift endemic birds.
Just like other activities at Volcanoes National park, hike to the Dian Fossey tomb is also done in the morning hours where by the briefing is first dlone at the park head quarters, after which there will be a 30 minutes drive to tbe base of Bisoke-the starting point of the hike to the point, then you will climb up as you pass through an area that is common with gorillas an at 2967m, the Dian Fossey hike will breaf of from Mount Bisoke hiking Trail. You will hike towards Mount Karisimbi, going through a beautiful stretch of Hygenia Hypericum forested zone, at an altitude range of 2900 – 3000m.
The entire Dian Fossey tomb trek takes between 1 – 3 hours depending on your level of fitness. Proper hiking shoes are necessary as the paths is normally very muddy and slippery since it rains most of the times. Also much need is trousers and long-sleeved shirt to protect from stinging nettles and thorny plants.
It is highly recommended that you book your permits atleast 3-6 months in advance with a 30% payment.You can either buy from the tourism offices in Rwanda or from volcanoes National Pak
offices Headquarters or your tour operator can be able to make arrangements for you. But before you pay for your permit, keep in mind that you can’t change the dates. If for some reason the date you booked no longer works, you’ll have to pay full price again.
Hiking the Twin lakes
Take a walk to view Rwanda’s scenic lakes of Burera-Ruhondo and visit the view point.This afternoon cruise on Lake Ruhondo will preferably take a 3 hour hike to Rusumo falls as you follow your guide along amost scenic trail through abeautiful valley before encountering beautiful waterfalls where you will have achance to not only the natural wonders but also agood place for birding as you come across the Long-crested Eagle, African Marsh Harrier, Stonechat, Plain Martin, Cinnamon-breasted Bee-eater, White-tailed, Grey-throated Tit, Paradise Flycatchers, Pink-backed Pelican, Common Moorhen.
The trek is best done in the morning such that you explore lake Ruhondo that will last for about 1 and ½ hours long.
The ancient Musanze Volcanic Caves – millions of years old. When you enter the massive cave complex you think you stepping into a natural cathedral – the size alone is simply amazing.
Musanze caves are one of the many caves in or near Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The caves are not ancient but have provided a place of refuge for many including the storage of supplies and food by Rwandan Kings during times of war.
The silence of the caves that go deep into the earth are overwhelming – the only sounds you will here is that of your footsteps and drops of water hitting the ground.
If you look high above you will see hundreds of bats having above you, which become visible as you shine your light to the ceiling.
There is a well-constructed path that leads you to the other side of the cave and out into the daylight…an amazing experience.
Hiking Mount Karisimbi
Mount Karisimbi has the highest peak in the Virunga ranges with its summit at at 4705m.It is the highest point in Rwanda and also the fifth highest summit in Africa. It strides along the border between Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda on the western branch of the African Rift valley Climbing Mount Karisimbi is an incredible experience which does not require any mountaineering skills but only experienced and fit hikers to hike through the slippery slopes to reach the summit which is white capped as a result of hail and sleet which accumulate in the higher elevations from its frequent storms.
The name Karisimbi is derived from the word ‘amasimbi’ in Kinyarwanda which means “white shell”, referring to the white-capped summit which is often seen on top of this volcano. It is flanked by Mikeno to the north, Bisoke to the east and Nyiragongo to the west, on the other side of the Rift Valley.
Hiking Karisimbi simply takes two days.The hiker will start from the edge of Volcanoes national park ridge of the huge Caldera that extends at the Base ofn the actual cone of Mount Karisimbi, crossing the bthe first bamboo forests, then Hagenia Hyericum forests, which then continues through the the Caldera, across a bush of giant Lobelia and Senecio.
The other root starts from the foot of Mount Visoke, as it takes climbers across the saddle and finally up mount Karisimbi.
Climbing Mt Karisimbi is a strenuous but very rewarding and is normally done as a complement to gorilla trekking as all is done within Volcanoes National Park. The takes 6 hours and starts very early in the Morning and involves navigating through the Bisoke side before reaching the first stopping place at an altitude of 3,700 metres for overnight camping before finishing off the journey the next day.
A hike to Karisimbi’s summit is not an ordinary one, but also affords sights of several bird varieties, primates like monkeys and Gorillas since the volcano lies in the primates’ park of Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes national park). It is also known for its exotic plants in its four belts of vegetation, from the dense forest at its base to the barren volcanic core at the summit.
The hike up the summit is characterized of muddy trails especially during rainy season, though due to the altitude, it can rain at any time of the day.
Karisimbi is also close to the Karisoke research center where the grave of the re-known mountain gorilla conservationist and American zoologist; Dian Fossey lies. This means that one has a chance to visit the grave as well as trek the golden monkeys in addition to the Mountain gorillas.
Hiking Mount Muhabura
At 4127m above sealevel is the third highest mountain in the Virunga ranges which is also part of the Albertine Rift.Mount Muhabura also Known as Muhavura lies between Rwanda and Uganda, that is paertly in the Volcanoes Natona park in Rwanda and Mgahinga National park in Uganda.
The name, ‘Muhabra” means “The guide” from anative local language in Kisoro district- Kinyarwanda and can easily be seen from many part of Uganda Rwanda because of the slopes
Mount Muhabura is the second highest peak in volcanoes national park in the Virunga ranges.It straddles both Uganda and Rwanda and the hike can easily start from either sides of the border that is Uganda or Rwanda. The mountain has stunning views from the top.
If you are up for a swim in the crater lake you can swim from Rwanda to the Ugandans side – you can also walk around the crater lake.
Getting to requires an extra effort from the hikers because it is not easy although it only takes aday.Mount Muhabura – the Sentinel as it is called awaits you – you will love exploring the mountain and its various vegetation zones – especially the Afro-Montane one.
Iby’Iwachu Cultural village
The Iby’Iwachu cultural village is established ,near Volcanoes nationl park in the Nyakigoma cell, Kinigi sector in Musanze district.it was created with the Intention to expose the local and traditional lifestyles, acivities, artfacts and also have an in depth encounter to participate in the communities daily activities and the activities are aimed at sharing the heritage of Rwandese with the Rwanda safaris under takers.
Iby’iwachu cultural village offers a range of activities that those who visit encounter on their safaris, which includes; the guided community walk which exposese you to the way of life of the community, visiting the replica of the kings house and the traditions attached it like the kings stories like where you will get an opportunity of being enthroned as king of the day, which would remain as an ultimate lifetime memory; eight different traditional dance stules with great musical instruments like the intore dances, umuduri, Ibyivugo, drumming,Iningiri,ikembe, Inanga, Amakondera,Ingoma and Agakenke; visiting alocal traditional leader,listening to the hilarious gorilla songs sangby the Kayuku, attending the banana brewing process, food preparation and dining with the locals, visit the Batwa people as they perform there ex-poaching tactics, and there unique pottery tactics.
The cullture has a well stated code of conduct designed to ensuere sustainable tourism development as it also offers accommodation to Rwandan safari takers, arranged in local grass thatched mud houses crafted in the ancient architecture of the king’s form with spacious kings houses which can handle over 200 occupants with acamp fire and every type of accommodation has along drop toilet, open fire heated bathing waterand abucket which is used for bathing. Fresh food is also availed to visitors who can also take part in the cooking encounter since it is noted that Rwandese have three meals aday that ie breakfast, lunch and dinner all togetheras afamily.
It is a 2 hours drive from Kigali city to musanze district and an additional minutes of of 20 from Musanze which can easily be accesed by both public and private means .The center tends to achieve its motives by through provision of livelihood base projects, conservation incentive and suppoeting the development of community enterprise.
Nyungwe National park
Nyungwe national Park is situated in the the southernWestwern Rwanda bordering Burundi, to the southe, Democratic Republic of Congo and Lake Kivu to the west, and its rainforest is is probably the best pteserved montane rainforest in the central Africa. Nyungwe forest national park is located in the water shed between the basin of the River Congo to the West and the Basin of the river Nile to the East.
Nyungwe forest national park is considered amonsgt the largest Afro-montane forest in East Africa and considered to be one of the most conserved in the entire highlands of central Africa and also the most important site of biodiversity in Africa.
The National park has awide diversity of animal species which makes it apriority for conservation in Africa.The park is also a home to various species of plants and animalsThe park contains 13 primate species (25% of Africa’s total), 275 bird species, 1068 plant species, 85 mammal species, 32 amphibian and 38 reptile species. Many of these animals are restricted-range species that are only found in the Albertine Rift Montane forest ecoregion in Africa.
The forest which is 3000m above sea-level spans an area of about 970 km2 of the rainforest bamboo, bamboo, grassland, swamps,and bogs making it aperfect interest for the presence of the chimpanzees and the number of endemic species found in the park is greater than in any other park and Angola Colobus (Colobus angolensis).
The park is a home to roughly 400 species of chimpanzees, as well as to one of East Africa’s last intact populations and boasts two wild chimp communities that welcome guests (one in Cyamdungo and other around Uwinka). Thus, it’s not surprising that chimpanzee tracking is a popular activity in Nyungwe as well-trained guides often lead visitors through the park’s forests. And while actually viewing chimpanzees is not guaranteed, you’ll enjoy learning about these creatures and their natural habitats from your guides. But you’ll probably have to get up around four a.m. to succeed in this very challenging activity as chimps are mostly likely to be seen early in the morning.
What to do in Nyungwe National park
Whether you are looking for adventure, nature, greater events and culture, Nyungwe is the perfect destination for all your questions an also ahome to many natural wonders.The park is also the largest tropical afro -montan and receives ver 200mm of rains each year and is a habitat to 2/3rds of all Rwanda;s water.The forest also feeds both the river congo Congo and the River Nile with water. Hiking or even biking the beautiful terrain, tracking the famous chimpanzees, experiencing the canopy walk, witnessing beautiful birds, relaxing by waterfalls are just a glimpse of activities that Nyungwe offers.
Nyungwe natonal pack offers awide range of tourist attractions which form afertile ground for most of tourist activities for the enjoyment of all the visitors
Visit nyungwe national park , The home of 13 species of primates and the common chimpanzees.Tracking the chimps is so much different from Mountain gorilla experience and are moving constantly around and at high speeds, leaping from tree to tree, and keeping up with them is also the main challenge and the biggest determinig factor of the amount of time spent with them.Above all, the chimpanzees are the famous ones and core wildlife attractions inthis national park. The section of Nyungwe Forest National were the chimpanzees are tracked also begins in Cyamudongo, a 4 and half hour drive from Kigali.
Trekking in the forest starts off from three reception centres which include Uwinka, Katabi, Gisakura, where the tourist meet the park rangers and the tourists are also expected to be at the Reception as eearly as4:00am, after which they will be driven to the starting point of the trek then to the forest.Since the chimps do not nest at the same place, the guides will then have to go ahead of the group to find the chimpanzees so that they communicate with the other rangers to direct the group towards the tracking point.The tourists are then allowed to spend an hour in the presence of the chimpanzees.This duration is such ahair rising and memorable moment and after which the tourists will trace their way back to the starting point.
What to wear
- Walking sticks
- Long sleeved shirts and apair of long trousers
- A day pack, carrying 2 litres of water, dry snacks,
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Ahat and sun glasses
Nyungwwe nestles the largest groups of colobus monkeys in Rwanda and Africa at large with more than 400 monkey species hence best spot for monkey trekking.Furthermore as you continue with your trek, be sure to encounter different monkey species with similar characteristics but can only be differentiated by their colors.
Monkey tracking is an awe-inspiring and unforgettable moment that the tracking junkies can never erase from their minds because they get to see various species which include;L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys,blue monkeys and Red tailed monkeys among others.Mokeys are lively and playful creatures that keeps you alert all the time by their continuous shouts,noise,movements and jumpas from one branch of the tree to another.
Like gorillas and chimpanzees, Monkey trekking also begins in the morning with briefing first at the park headquarters before entering the jungle; spend approximately 4-5 hours with one hour for direct viewing after which you will return to your staring point so as to continue with other safari schedules.
Nyungwe forest national park features the best canopy walk way in the whole of East Africa and the visitors get to enjoy the forest with a new perspective because of its third stature in Africa.The walk way stretches over 200 feet from the ground floor and 90m in lenghth.The visitors are able to explore the beauty of the ancient rain forest at avintage point.
There are several trails in the forest and each trail is named according to the type of trees found within the area such as the Igishigishigi trail whose name is derived from the many tree ferns found along the trail, Umuyove trail named because of the Mahogany trees along the trail.These trail in the forest are made with locally ground marked steps for easy movements.
The trail present impressive views of primates, birds, and butterflies thriving in the raised forest branches.The walk way traverses adeep valley presenting a scary but an adventurous moment that creates alifetime ultimate experience.
The two hour guided walk tour starts and ends at the national park headquarters at Uwinka Visitors centre as the visitors’ walk via the Igishigishi trail in a steep slope deep into the forest and back to the starting point.However, the walk way can also be done via the long trails of Imbaraga the Umuyove.
Visitors are recomended to carry walking sticks, enough drinking water, rain coat,walking boots and cameras.
Nyungwe national park, the most important biodiversity conservation in Rwanda as described by the birdlife international,sheltres 310 bird species whereby 27 are endemic to the Albertine rift.Bird watching offers an opportunity of exploring a range of birds which includes; Rockefellers sunbird, Chapin’s flycatcher, Great blue Turaco, red collared mountain babbler, Rera grauer’s rush warbler, Rwenzori Turaco, white tailed flycatcher, Rwenzori batis, barred long tailed cuckoo, Rwenzori nigh jar, Rwenzori hill babler, yellow eyed black flycatcher, Congo bay owlet, mountain sooty boubu, and the Neumann’s warbler among others.Birding activity at Nyungwe national park can be arranged on either ways as required by the visitors, that is;short bird walk or a whole days experience, and experienced guide are always a vailable to help in spotting as well as explaining their unique characters.
Forest walks and hiking trails.
Nyungwe National park is blessed with amazingly diverse landscape which makes it a perfect destination for avid hikers.The park boasts a network of hiking trails that represents the most scenic way of traversing the forest.Therefore whether the visitors are experienced or inexperienced, the trails are a must for travelers seeking a challenging but enjoyable experience.
There are over 130 kilometers of hiking trails found in Nyungwe National park that can make safari under takers in Rwanda spend 3 hours to one week hiking through the ancient Afro montane forest.
Nyungwe national park is also ideal for out door adventure making it aparadise and aparadise indeed because with over 13 primate species,birds, tropical trees, butterfies, orchids, and plants that the hikers are able to encounter as they partake on the hiking trails throughout the Park.
The magnificient Nyungwe National park has arrange of trails that have been set up to implore Rwanda safari undertakers to try the challenge such as;
This is the most prominent trail from Uwinka reception area of the park since it includes the canopy forest walkway. This featured attraction in Nyungwe national park is a must do for the visitors to the park. The trail is about 2.4km and also 1 and ½ hours to complete including the canopy walk. While on this trail the visitors will be up on the tree tops viewing primates, birds, and butterflies in their habitat simply making it an amazing hike.
This is also one of the most famous hikes in the park which is relatively short, but filled with stunning views of the waterfalls and orchids along with many other wild flowers for the hike partakers to enjoy.
Umuyove also means “Mahogany” and many of these trees line the trail which makes it amore enjoyable hike since most hikers encounter primates and birds which adds an extra touch to this hike although the trail is 5.5 kilometers in length and takes about 3 and ½ hours to complete.
This trail’s name “Imbaraga” means “strength” and it describes how hiking the trail is difficult yet it’s worth rewarding. The trail takes on from Uwinka reception center with alength of 10km and it takes over 6 hours to be completed. The trail takes in four waterfalls and the visitors have a chance to see some chimpanzee
This trail is moderate and quite remote spanning alength of 5.2 kilometers and takes about 3 and ½ hours to be completed as it passes through open heath like shrubs and vegetation.The trail also has a lot of wildflowers along it, non forest birds along the way as well as 360 degrees view of the park not forgetting lake kivu at a distance and the stunning views of Virunga volcanoes that seem to tower over Rwanda.
This trail makes the hikers loop a round two highest peaks of Nyungwe presenting impressive views of Lake Kivu. The views are also worthwhile the hike and is highly rewarding although it si moderately difficult.
Irebero means “view point” with alength of 3.4km with very good scenic views and hiking takes only 3 hours to complete..the trail also shows a stunning view from ahigh altitude so you will be able to gaze onto Rwanda’s borders.
This trail takes you through much vegetation zones including the kitabi tea plantation.Although the trail is short, with alength of 4.7km, it ony takes 3 hours to complete, however it can be extended to 8 hours due to the tea plantation, but the trail is considered to be moderate in regards to difficulty.
Along the trail, you will most often see L’Hoest, Silver and Colobus Monkeys – at times you just might see Mangabey Monkeys and even Chimpanzees.You may also carry packed lunch and eat at the picnic site which offers some views of the forest.
This trail measures 7km long taking about 6 hours to complete since it tends to be steep and slippery at times.The trail tends to go up to the highest of the park-Bigugu which is 2950 meters in elevation and requires the hikers to be quite fit to complete it though it is worth the effort.
The trail is excellent for birders where by one can be able to spot the Red-collared mountain Babbler and the fantastic wildflowers including the orchids and the giant lobelias.
Umugote trail derived its name from the syzygium tree that is commonly found along the trail, measuring 3.6km long and can be completed in only 3 hours. The difficulty of this trail is moderate in nature and the hike rises up the side of the mountain as you enjoy the stunning views of the pristine part of the forest as you also go through the valley and see the forest’s rich biodiversity as well as the mountain of Burundi on a clear day.
This trail measures 9km long and takes 5 hours to complete since it is just fairly difficult to hike.The trail takes in some stunning vistas for the hikers to view along the way as it takes in the chimpanzees of Nyungwe Forest yet the chimpanzees are the main reason as to why visitors visit Nyungwe National park which makes it worth undertaking.The scenery along the hike is also fantastic.
Congo-Nile Divide trail
This trail involves amulti day hike that is awe-inspiring and memorable experience . It is the longest hiking trail in Nyungwe forest with length of 42km taking 3 to 4 days along the ridge within the forest that seperates the river basins which flows into the Nile and on the other side, it flows into the river basin of congo.
This trail is meant for the experienced and fit hikers because it includes camping in the forest as you make the 42km trek through the ridge of the forest.
NB.This trail should not be confused with the famous Congo-Nile trail tat runs alongside Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda.
Karamba birding trail
This hike is the easiest trail one can ever have because it spans 4km and much of its area is relatively flat and in an open area of the forest.This is an area where gold mining was done and later became aquarry for road building materials as well as an army camp.
This trail is one of the the least muddy trails within Nyungwe forest and you will be able to sport some of the giant tree ferns, Orchids not forgetting the Dent’s Monkey’s that are so rare to find.
Isumo water fall
This is the most prominent trail spanning 10.6km in length and is moderately difficult taking 4 hours to complete. The trail passes through a tea plantation, through the the patches of the forest where you can view many species of monkeys and on the way to the way to the waterfalls, you will be able to move through the tree ferns that are quite impressive to look at as well as Ruwenzori Turaco bird.This is one of the trails that is considered to be one of the exciting trails of Nyungwe forest.
Kamiranzovu Marsh trail.
Water enthusiasts will love this trail it features the park’s largest wetland, an acient swamp and brilliant waterfalls, because the trail is inside the Caldera like depression and and it is alarge swamp which forms avital watershed within the park.
The trail is 6km long and also takes 3 hours to be completed and you will be able to encounter Orchids, especially during the rainy season. The trail is also rich with botanical making it good for swamp associated birds like the Grauer’s rush warbler
Source of the river Nile trail
This trail takes about 1 ½ hours to be completed and it does not require much effort to hike.
The source of Nile is found in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and is refered to as the Rwanda source of the Nile that was discovered by the rise to the Nile adventure in 2006 where they determined that the head waters of the Rukarara River was the source of the Nile in Nyungwe Forest. Many Ugandans also don’t agree about this source of the Nile.
Genocide Memorial sites
The 1994 bloody moment in Rwanda characterized by mass killing of hundreds of thousands of natives left Rwanda’s population very low due to the massive loss and the genocide was documented worldwide ,and many across the globe sympathized and prayed for Rwanda yet only the people of Rwanda understand how tragic and scary the period was.
The Genocide memorial site built around Kigali today remind the people of Rwanda and the visitors about the tragic history about the civil war between the Tutsi and the Hutu that lasted for about 100 days, from the month of April to July, leading to the loss of lives of about one million people.
Rwanda later rose from the ashes of hatred and destruction and has over the last decades been slowly but steadily rebuilt and anumber of Genocide memorial centres have cropped up among which include;
Kigali Memorial center
Kigali Memorial memorial center is asecred centre for both the locals and the foreigners, that gives a new perspective on life and things that happens, It is one of the biggest sites that reminds us that Goodwill always overcomes evil-bringing in the concept of reconciliation and forgiveness.It is a resting place for more than 250000 victims of the genocide against Hutus and Tutsi as well as honouring the peoplen who were killed through Education and building.
While in the site, an experienced guide- usually a genocide survivor to walk you through; the children’s section, the gardens with the childen, burial site which is covered over with concrete, the names of those who were killed written on the wall,among others,all these lead to amoving and and meaningful experience.
Murambi Genocide Memorial site
This center is established on the main building of Murambi, aschool that has been left vacated since the genocide since in 1994 to preserve over eight hundred corpses in the school’s classrooms and were left untouched, but after the war, mass graves were discovered around the city and adecision was made that amonament was to be created so as the victims would be laid to rest with respect.
It is believed that 27,000 people were slaughtered from this school and many corpses are still preserved and are not allowed to be distracted, with the fast growing tourism industry in Rwanda the school was renovated and now currently used for exhibition and the tourists who visit the place get free information.There are also well preserved burial rooms where many corpses are being displayed and the people who will take you around the site and tell you the gtouching story with so much sadness are the war survivors.
Nyamata church genocide memorial site
This site situated is located in Bugesera district in Rwanda, about 35km from Kigali town. The church is still in place as a memento for the 1994 genocide where about 10000 people were killed as a result of seeking for refuge since it was a church during the time of the war. Untill now the bullet holes on the roof and the blood spatters on the alter still exist which act as reminders of the dark times and senselessness of hate in Rwanda.
Gisenyi genocide memorial site
Gisenyi genocide memorial site is situated in the peripheris of Gisenyi and its one of the sites that was first recognized as the first recognized site that was established by the help of the Ibuka.The ministry of Youths, sports and culture also contributed greatly and about 12000 remains of people who were killed are kept here.On the other hand, the bodies that were buried in this place were brought from Nyundo and the nearby neighbourhoodof corniche.The grave site of Madame Carr-an American who operated an orphanage called Imbabazi is also discovered around the site.
Gisozi memorial site
This site is located in Gasabo district near Kigali city and becomes atourism center where 300000 victims were buried in 2004 although in 2000,both the Tutsi and the hutu victims were buried.the center has adisplay house, acemetry, photo gallery and a library and is hyet planning to provide more history about Rwanda to the entire world.
Nyanza memorial site
There was a school called ETO, it was governed by the UN who had to provide security to the Rwandese before the genocide, but, as soon as the war started, they returned to their country and the individuals who had come for refuge were murdered in called blood since there wasn’t any assistance from the UN. Majority were the Tutsi and just afew hutus.Each year on the 11th April, is celebrated to commemorate the death of these victims.
Nyarubuye memorial site
This site was considered to be aconvent and aschool where about 20000 people were slaughtered and buried.majority of the Tutsis were killed as they tried to escape to Tanzania and the remains were stored in the convent for rememberance, however in 2003, the the choll was renovated and started operating again with students.
Bisesero memorial site
The site is located in Karongi district at the foot hills of Kibuye region of Western Uganda.It is clearly believed that about 30000 people were slaughtered in this area.They were handed over by the French soldires because of their bravery and resistances they displayed.It was appoint for the Tutsis as they arranged to resist the massacre, but because of their weak weapons, they were later killed by the Hutus.The site is also made up of 9 small structures which represents the communities that originally formed Kibuye. However, currently the site is called the “hills of Resistance showed by the people of Bisesero against the enemies.
Ntarama memorial site
It’s located approximately 30km from Kigali town in Bugesera and it takes an hours drive from Kigali City to the site. About 5000 who came to seek for refuge and thinking it was the only safe place got killed in the church during the war, where the largest number of victims to be killed were the children and the women.Ever since , the church has not been cleared and now it is an exhibition for tourists.
A Kagera national park
Akagera national park is one of the oldest located in the North East of Rwanda along the Tanzanian border.The park was established in 1934 to protect the animals and vegetatin in three ecoregions, that is savannah, mountain and swamp.the park is named for the kagera river which flows along its eastern boundaries feeding into several lakes the largest being Lake Ihema The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over a third of the park, and is the largest protected wetland in Eastern-Central Africa.
Due to land shortages, in 1997, the western boundary was regazetted and much of the land allocated as farms to returning refugees. The park was reduced in size from over 2,500 square kilometres (250,000 ha) to its current size. Although much of the best savannah grazing land is now outside the park boundaries, what remains of Akagera is some of the most diverse and scenic landscape in Africa.
The Akagera management company was launched in 2010 as the joint management body for Akagera National Park after theRwanda development Board (RDB) and the African Parks Network invaded into a 20-year renewable accord for the joint management of Akagera.
Over the next 5 years a $ 10 million expenditure was carried out in the national park area, with financial aid from the Howard Buffett Foundation. The focus was to expand the security of the national park and to revive locally extinct species and the Security measures that were taken include: the construction of a western boundary fence which measures 120.0 kilometres (74.6 miles), deploying an air surveillance helicopter, training of an expert rhino tracking and protection team and a canine anti-poaching unit.
The Lions from south Africa were introduced and released in the park in July 2015, making them the first lions in Rwanda for 15 years. AndBeyond donated five lionesses from Phinda private game Reserve and Tembe Elephant reseve in Kwazulu-Natal donated two male lions, in an effort that was described by African Parks as “a ground-breaking conservation effort for both the park and the country” as part of a project pointed at reversing the local extinction of the species in Akagera National Park. The original Eastern Afrrican lions, which were nevertheless closely related to Southern African Lions disappeared in the years following the 1994 genocide in the country. Rwandans who had fled the aggression, before returning and settling in the park, killed the lions in order to protect their livestock.
Rwanda again reintroduced around 20 Eastern Black Rhinoceroses from south Africa in May 2017 after an absence of ten years. Since then, More than 36,000 tourists visited the park in 2016 ,but, dueto the reintroduction of black rhinos and African lions, the national park is now home to all of Africa’s “big five”: the lion,leopard,elephant,Rhino,and Buffalos
Akagera national park is just a 2 hours drive from Kigali and can be visited on a long day trip if you are on a tight schedule. Akagera can easily be combined with other parks such as Volcanoes and Nyungwe to provide the ultimate safri elements as it is ahome to manylarge plains, game species as well as species confined to the papyrus swamps such as sitatunga and the sougt after shoebill stork.Notable plains game include elephant, buffalo, topi, zebra, waterbuck, roan antelope and eland. Other antelope are duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck and impala. Of the primates, olive baboons, vervets and the secretive blue monkey are seen during the day, with bushbabies often seen on night drives.
A kagera national park isn extensive and uncrowded and an extraordinary place to encounter the savanah ecosystem and view awide range of wild life.
Getting to Akagera National Park takes only 1 and 2 ½ hours to travel from Kibungo/Rwamagana and Kigali respectively.The Entrance gate is just 5000m from Akagera Game lodge linked by dirt road connection ranging 27km from the major surface road of Kabarondo, approximately 15km northside ,of Kibungo of Kibungo.The traveler can use the public means to get to the park or a 4×4 wheel drive.Minibus taxis travel from Kigali to Kayoza and Kibungo regularly,and arrive at the junction and use either amotobike or ataxi to connect you to the park.
Most part of the road is quite road. Although the roads are alittle bumpy sports along the way, they can’t stop you from finishing your trip.
To be able to enjoy your safari in Rwanda with minimal stress,your travel documaents should be ready, that is; your passport, visa( to be obtained upon arrival at the airport except for visitors coming from Germany, Sweden, DRC, Maurutius, South Africa, Hong kong, Uhganda, Kenya and Tanzania who dono avisa but avalid Passport).With all thlis at hand, you can then enjoy your safari in Rwanda with no worries.
The best time to visit
A kagera national park’s wilderness is so fascinating that you can visit it at any time of the year.Every season provides an opportunity to view the park in the new light.
Just like the other parts of Rwanda, Akagera national park has two dry seasons and two wet seasons. That is; the long dry season runs from June to September, while the short one lasts from Mid-december to mid-February. Otherwise, the dry season is always the best season for visiting/touring the reserve to spot the incredible wildlife the park sustains. The vegetation undergrowth is sparse and since animals and birds confine on the water body to drink, they become easy to spot.
However, The park is also blessed with two rainy seasons that is; the long rains which lasts from mid-February to the month of May and the short rains are experienced betweenoctober to mid-December. A kagera National park is stunningly beautiful in the Wet season because the rains bring new vegetation to the park and, while the lush new growth is amazing to view. Wildlife spotting may take more time and patience.the wet seasons are perfect for spending time besides the lake.
So the best time to visit Akagera National Park is during the dry season, its best recommend you to avoid the wet months of March, April and December as most of the routes in the park are impassable.
What to do
Akagera National park’s picturesque provide ahuge variety of habitat for wildlife and on any given day a gamedrive will reveal, Akagera tresssures.Each game drive holds new suprises as nature reveals its treasures in the form of scenic wonders ,wildlife such as; Elephants, Buffaloes, Antelopes such Topi or Elands, Burchell Zebras, Maasai Giraffes, Savannah Birds, Monkeys, Leopards, Civets, Hyenas, Lions, Serval Cats, Rhinos, and so much more.The guided nature walks including bird walks also takes place at the park and for longer game drives, you can as well carry packed lunch from the lodge with water.
While on the game drive ,you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who knows every information about flora and Fauna in the park and one should stay within the vehicle unless the park guide sees it as safe to get out and take alook
Nocturnal-night game drive.
Akagera national park is among the few parks in East Africa famous for the night game drives.These game drives are most exciting as you venture out the spotlights to see the creatures of the night at the park. The drive is quite different from that of the day because you have an opportunity to see the predators on the prowl looking for dinner as well as a few lions,Leopards, Bush babies, civets and hyenas during the night.
The drive is quite slow during the nocturnal drive so as not to miss wildlife, and it always takes 2 hour in length giving you a different perspective of Akagera National Park at night.
Guided Nature walks
Enjoy the nature walk that will take you through the different forest paths during which you will come close to various fauna, tree species, anumber of medicinal plants,birds and afew primates of this park.It is very educational and exciting expeience.
This park is a tourist trap for avid birders, in that those who visit are always impressed by what they find, especially variety of bird species which is in abundance, ranging from water to forest and savannah as well as migratory birds-.Many of them endemic to the park’s rare species are extremely rare and are for example the threatened papyrus gonolek,(found in papyrus plants), the localized red-faced barbets, the flycatcher, and one can pretty be sure to spot the elusive shoebill stork while birding in the park, hence making it a birders paradise
Boat riding trips
The boat riding trips are so amazing and exciting because its another way of exploring Rwanda’s beauty.These trips are always conducted on lake Ihema which has one of the biggest numbers of hippos in Rwanda together with several crocodiles as well as elephants at the shores of the lake drinking water and also cooling off in the shallow water, and various water birds in addition.
You really have an added pleasure of enjoying afishing trip during which you may either catch a Tilapia or cat fish at the shores of lake shakani.This activity is worth exciting and enjoyable on your safari.While fishing,you will hear the beautiful voices of the water birds singing by the lake shores, and hippos vigorously snoring.You may also by chance participate on the ongoing tournament if your trip coincides with the tournament. The good news at Akagera National Park is that you get to keep your fish if you have confidence in your angling skill,and finally the catch belongs to you.
Lake kivu is one of the destinations in Rwanda that is most visited by travelers on their safaris.The lake is considered to one of the African Great lakes, situated at the border between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo and is in the Albertine Rift, which is the great East African Rift Valley.
Lake kivu is Rwanda’s only largest lake, and also regarded as the sixth largest lake in Africa, having an outlet of River Rusizi, which flows southwards, empting into Tanganyika.It measures 90km long and 50km wide with an irregular shape that is precisely diificult to measure its surface area, but it has been estimated to cover atotal surface area of 2700km2.
The world’s tenth-largest Island on a lake-Idjwi, lies in Lake Kivu, within the boundaries of Virunga National Park. Settlements on the lake’s shore include Bukavu, Kabare,Kalehe,sake, and Goma in Congo, and Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu in Rwanda.
The ultimate experience of driving between the towns and the lovely option for a slower route between volcanoes national Park and Nyungwe National Park. The road gently curves back as it covers through hills and Mountains besides the lake from Gisenyi all the way to Cyangugu with Kibuye almost at its center point and every corner produces another striking view, where by the Eucalyptus trees line the road where as every inch of the hills are terraced with Bananas.
Lake kivu features three main towns which are 3-4 km away from each other;
The city features a resort on the shores of lake kivu, with several hotels and three sandy beaches. The area is also known for water sports. The northern shore of the lake on which Goma and Gisenyi lie is a flat plain featuring lava formations from the eruptions of nearby Mount Nyiragongo.
Gisenyi is a small town with its center lying by the foothills at the northeast corner of the lake, and also a home to Bralirwa compared to its neighbour- Goma.
Gisenyi has two borders with Goma, the “Petite Barrière” and the “Grand Barrière”. These names are a little misleading because the Petite Barrière is physically larger and features much higher traffic volume . On the Gisenyi side, a large customs and immigration office was built with a large capacity, not yet matched by the Congolese facilities. Similarly, the road to the Petite Barrière is paved on the Rwandan side, but not on the Congolese side. The Grande Barrière is paved on both sides and receives more of the heavy truck traffic. It is also a diplomatic border.
Gisenyi, now called Rubavu is famous for its water sports and especially the Tropical beaches, that easily tempts visitors to spend more days at the beach front accommodation, hustling market places,forgotten colonial buildings and the tree lined streets,all adding to the town’s attraction.
What to do in Gisenyi
There is a pleasant public beach on Gisenyi’s lakeshore but it can get quite busy, particularly at weekends. Some hotels have private beaches and water sport options.
The Magnificient conversation of a majestic mansion that now hosts a superb café that is wistfully run by agroup of expert friends must not be missed. The delicious sandwiches, yummy pastries and frondy salads are supplemented by fish tacos, frittatas and excellent, ethically produced local coffee.
Gisenyi Public Beach
After the days trip, lake kivu welcomes you with an opportuinity to throw down abeach towel,or spred apicnic blanket under one of the many shade trees.The strip of sand beneath the main town is justifiably popular place to take adip.
Bistro and Restaurant
There is a small selection of well executed dishes, including beef or tilapia(Nile perch) fillet, burgers with chips, brochettes, and pizzas.You can also take an opportuinity to get stuck into the list of well chosen French tipples, available by the glass since wine features strongly.
New Tam-Tam Bikini
We can approve for the great beachfront location.The beach hut is a very famous spot for a beer and gets charmingly brassy on the weekends when the drinking crew rolls in from Kigali and Congo.You can also accompany your beachsider beer with a plate of brochettes and chips.
Pfunda Tea Estate
During the rainy season, at the level 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.
Kibuye is a city situated on the shore of lake kivu in Western Rwanda.The surrounding area offers some stunning views of the lake. Kibuye is also a major stop on the Congo-Nile Trail, which is a popular route for hiking or bicycling that extends from Gisenyi to Kamembe.Kibuye is probably the prettiest of Lake kivu’s town.It’s averdant, tropical spot surrounded by hills covered in eucalyptus and pine.You may catch thousands of yellow-billed kites flying over Lake kivu on their annual migration if you are visiting in August.Most of Kibuye’s hotels are in beautiful locations overlooking the Lake and facing the sunset.
What to do
Take an hour boat ride around Lake Kivu for 15,000 RWF. Go swimming at the very small beach at the Moriah Hotel or across the street from Golf Eden Rock Hotel.
It is also possible to visit Kibuye’s genocide memorial church, with brightly coloured stained-glass windows, in aquiet location on ahill above Lake kivu.Despite atragic history,its aplace for peaceful contemplation.
Cyangugu (formerly Shangugu) is a city and capital of the Rusizi District in Western province,in Rwanda. The city lies at the southern end of Lake Kivu, and is contiguous with Bukavu, Democratic republic of Congo, but separated from it by the Ruzizi River. Two bridges and a dam cross the river frontier.
It is also a hustling lakeside city with enormous tourism potentials, and ahome to a city of over four thousand people-( apredominantly Muslim and Christian population) and can be accessed by 6 hour drive or thirty minutes plane flight from Kigali.
The Congo Nile Trail starts from as well which makes it a fast growing holiday destination in Rwanda,thanks to its tourist-friendly environment and the resources.Besides, there are also some recreation activities such as;Swimming, boat cruising,mountain hiking, shoping and so much more.
The safety of the city is of utmost importance to the authorities,that is why 98% of the roads are well paved and strict safety measures are put in place and the transportation in the city is well organized as well as the safety of the visitors and the residents is also guaranteed all day long. Although many of the locals rarely speak or understand English, but with Swahili, French, and Kinyarwanda being the main languages of communication, you can also find English-speaking citizens to communicate with
The settlement has two main areas: Cyangugu itself is the low-density district on the lake shore, while Kamembe, the higher density Industrial and Transport centre is further inland and to the north. Kamembe Airport serves the city with flights 11 times a week to kigali.
The city lies near Nyungwe Forest, a popular tourist destination, being one of the last remaining forest areas of Rwanda and home to chimpanzees and many other species of primate.
What to do
Cyangugu has anumber of exciting things to be done.From Historical sites to cultural attractions, exploring the exhaustive list of all other local attractions, discovering new places to and unique things to do near Cyangugu, therefore you don’t have to miss these amazing sites which include the;
Central market;- which is the biggest market in Risizi district whereby all your needs are sold such as; stationery, art and crafts, household utensils, electronics, foot wears, furniture, banking services among others. The main building has three floors and as a tourist, you can be able to get good deals by negotiating with the vendors.
Congo–Nile Trail;-Consists of the main trail as well as a sub-trail, and the bookings are always arranged for hiking and biking expedition which always lasts for as long as 10 days. The 10 day hiking journey is an all inclusive striking walk from the northern lake kivu shores to the southern part through the famous Congo- Nile divide watershed that is worthy for a wide range for fitness levels. The picturesque is geographically amazing and ever changing- village on top of hills, river, lakes, waterfalls, reefs and sandy beaches. The experiences are diverse – hiking, community interaction, historical tales and a magnificent scenic walk along the sandy Lake Kivu shores. Some however prefer to experience the Trail by a combined hiking, cycling, boat ride or 4×4 drive experience. Gisenyi, Rubavu district, is often the starting point of the Congo Nile trail but you can as well start from Cyangugu. The trail leads you through the five districts in the Western Province linked by the trail. The incredible Congo Nile journey also takes you to a number of different amazing tourism traps like the roadside coffee and tea plantations with endless views, waterfalls and watersheds.
Getting in and around
There are regular buses and minibuses to Butare and Kigali in Rwanda. The town is right on the boarder with Bukavu and DRC. There is also a road south to Bugarama and from there to either DRC or Burundi. This is less frequented than the route east to Butare but it should be possible to arrange transport.
Taxi-moto (motorbike Taxis) are the main form of transport within Cyangugu (and between Cyangugu and Kamembe).But you can also use a 4×4 wheel drive which is much better and confortable for adventure junkies.