For anyone going to Rwanda for their first time to tour or even just visit, they need to know information about Rwanda so that it guides them while they tour. It is also good to go to a place that you have read about and are aware of the dos and don ts.
Cyanungu – Ruzizi
Cyanungu is one of the least frequented area along Lake Kivu by the tourists to Rwanda on any tour, one of the main reasons would also be its geographical location and the fact that there are few lodges and hotels to choose from along Lake Kivu. The new hotel to be established here is called Emeraude Kivu resort that is overlooking the Lake and is so refreshing. You can also add on Cyanungu which is along Lake Kivu after your visit and stay in Nyungwe Forest and it will take you a short drive time.
You can as well have a boat ride on the scenic Lake Kivu and then continue to the Island leaping to Gihaya and Nkombo Islands, the nature walks also involve some nice surrounding area that will look beautiful to you. Ruzizi River also passes out of Lake Kivu and has got many possibilities most especially if you love hiking. You can as well visit the hot springs and then take a warm dip and enjoy the local culture and get to know about Rwandans and their nice country. The choice is in your hands of where you would like to stay at any of their lodge as you enjoy the sun shine, also be human in the middle of the creation on this beautiful lake.
Enjoying the coffee adventure tour in Lake Kivu
You will also see some of Africa’s depraved coffee in the drop to cup coffee adventure along Lake Kivu in Rwanda. This tour is also a must do for those who love a good cup of morning tea. You will also follow the coffee creation process from the coffee plantations on the Island along the lake. You will enjoy a festive cup at the end of the safari with lunch.
Today it will be your day to taste some of Africa’s best Java Bourbon coffee along the shores of the lake and its some of the best Arabic beans in the world and these are also grown here and today you will have the journey that will take you from Crop to Cup and adventure the process that are included in the preparation of a cup of the best coffee in the world. People travel to Rwanda to view the mountain gorillas and others come to see some of the finest coffee that is only found in the land of a thousand hills and today’s journey, you will also see the real process of organic, natural brew from crop to cup.
The safari will start with a boat cruise from Gisenyi to Nyamirundi Island and you will get to enjoy the scenic wonders and also view the exact process from crop to cup. On the Nyamirundi Island, you will also visit the plantation of Rwanda Cooperative that is referred to as Igoboka that runs the Rwanda Families by creating a good life for them and a growing a full bodied coffee which is also sought after around the world. You will as well pick the coffee beans and after proceed to the washing station at Gashashi were the coffee beans are washed in 20 steps. After, you will be part of the roasting of this coffee on an open fire and the final stage will of tasting the coffee.
You will then have lunch in Gisenyi with Ingoboka coffee Cooperative representatives were you will be able to ask the questions about Rwanda’s coffee that people like so much around the world and also make lots of dollars. This crop to cup coffee adventure will be one of the highlights of the safari in Rwanda and get to enjoy the taste of one of Africa’s best coffee in Rwanda.
The Karogi –Kibuye
This is also a sleepy laid back town which is also another good place of Rwanda were you can relax and chill along the lake. Its scenery is so dramatic since it shows itself through the coves and bays that look like the watery fingers that are framed by the present color green of Rwanda. Kibuye is the most beautiful town were one can chill and relax in high comfort, you can as well take a swim in the lake and dive from a long walk or you can also dip your toes into the waters of the lake. This town is not so common to many of the visitors since most of them come for gorilla tracking, however, this is changing and time to come, Kibuye will have more and more visitors that come to enjoy the shores of Lake Kivu.
The choices of the lodges are between budgets and moderate which makes it so cheap and the lodges offer from basic to more complicated rooms for you to choose from. The food will be from Rwanda even though the international cuisines are also present. This Kibuye town is good to relax and chilling out , it’s also an area that is connected to the genocide of Rwanda and any one can visit two of Rwanda’s sacred places, which is the genocide memorial church and the Hill of residence memorial, this was also a place in the hills where some got a decision to take a last stand.
Lake Kivu found in Rwanda
This lake is also the largest of all the fresh lakes found in the valleys of Rwanda. The terraced, steep hills also lead down to the beautiful lake shores and the three resort towns. These include; Kibuye, Gisenyi and Cyangugu. These towns also offer a welcoming treat with the active hikes to find the gorillas and the chimps in the volcanoes and Nyungwe Forest National park.
The tourists here relax, swim and also take a boat cruise past the small lake side villages that will reward you a glance of the true rural life. The towns are also connected by a large roller coaster road which flip flops through the lush plain fields and the relic patches of the misty rain forest that offers the far reaching views over the glittering lake.
It’s situated among the histrionic mountains of the Rift valley and the volcanic virunga mountains to the north, the unfit shores of the Lake Kivu which forms lots of lets and peninsulas and the countless forest fringed waterfalls. This lake also sets in the rift valley that makes it one of the deepest lake in the world. The lake is 2650sqkm and is filled with fresh water that spans and the largest of all the lakes that dot the valleys of Rwanda. This lake also pours into Ruzizi River which flows south wards into Lake Tanganyika. The tourists can also view the local fishermen oaring through the waters in the traditional dugout canoes, and the brightly dressed women that decorate the villages, playing with the guitars and smoking from the wooden pipes. The lake is also a good place in between the gorilla safaris and the chimpanzee tracking in the national park.
There are also the well-organized boat trips that offer the guests a good way of adventuring the area of the lake and its surrounding including the rural life that lives in the villages at the lake edges.
After gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking and the many game driving tours in Akagera National park, the lake also offers the best place for resting and healing. Those that love sun bathing, swimming and water sports, Rwanda Rivera town of Gisenyi is the best place to enjoy this. If you like privacy for both mental and physical relaxation, we recommend Kibuye Guest House that is located in the south of the lake. And in case you look the speed boats, canoe sailing, picnics, mountain walks, Kibuye town will offer you all these facilities to your well gratification. There are also the lovey villas that are found along the tree lined shores, there are also the white beaches and the lake being crystal clear. In Rwanda this is the place that needs the longest stay possible.
This is also the most beautiful inland sea which is restricted by the steep, green terraced hills along the border of Congo to the three towns of Gisenyi, Cyangugu and Kibuye that stand on the coastal and is also connected by the wild coaster road that hand springs through the lush plain field and the patches of the misty rain forest that gives the sweeping views of the blue water. It’s also one of the best road journeys in Africa and you will also have a charter boat service on the lake that connects the 3 towns.
Gisenyi is also the most developed of these resorts and is situated few hour’s drive from Volcanoes National park and is also set on the sandy beach that is also lined with the palms and the colonial era hotels which emits an atmosphere of the tropical idleness. At Kibuye in the southern side, Rwanda safari tourist activities are also positioned on the modern lake shores guest house that overlooks the pine that is covered hills deceptively transplanted from the Alps. Cyangugu is also near Nyungwe forest whose passive tourist development is compensated for by the stirring setting of the curving inlets that wind into the narrow valleys
The lake is also known to be the largest fresh water body that sparkle in the valleys of Rwanda. The lakes of Ruhondo and Burera that are close to gorilla trekking center of Ruhengeri are often neglected and have got deep blue waters and are ringed by the steep hills and tall waterfalls, with the Virunga volcanoes that gives a fantastic back drop.
In the far place from the main resort, Rwanda’s lakes also give guests a rewarding glimpse into the ancient African life style. In this area, the fishermen layer the water with in the dugout canoe unchanged in design for the centuries as the colorful dressed ladies smoke the traditional wooden pipes and the minstrel playing sweetly on the stringed guitars. The bird life here is so fantastic with flotillas of pelicans that sail the heavily across the open water crowned cranes that groom their golden crests in the near surrounding swamps and the Jewel like the malachite kingfisher hawk.
Activities carried out on Lake Kivu
In order to discover the three main vibrant resort towns, and following the many water sports activities they have to give, and boating to the many island that are found on this lake are also many activities that are present in the area. At the far from the main resort, Rwanda’s lakes also give the guests a rewarding glimpse into the ancient African life styles as the men go about their fishing and the women that dot the air with the played sound of the traditional guitar. The bird species found here also include; the crowned cranes, pelicans, the malachite kingfishers and many more. For sun bathing, water sports activities and Rwanda in Rivera town and Gisenyi also gives the speed boats, canoes, picnics and the mountain walks.
About Rubavu –Gisenyi
Gisenyi is the most toured area in Rwanda along Lake kivu and has got been known to be Rwandan Riviera and has the most palm studded sandy beaches to be enjoyed. Gisenyi gives good setting in Rwanda for relaxation and chilling out for a few days during your tour time in Rwanda. You will also find Gisenyi town the most stimulating place, you will enjoy its active markets that are so busy each and every time in the 45th largest town of Rwanda. You will also have the colonial inheritance of Belgian homes and the streets are creased with the palms and you relaxing and scenic Lake Kivu.
Gisenyi can also be called Rwanda’s resort town though you will find it so peaceful and so relaxing unlike what you would meet along the Indian Ocean where you would be bombarded by those that try to see you something of one kind and another. The lodges curl and the choices are also increasing each year and most of the lodges have their own restaurants. There are also few activities you can also do as you also relax on the beach including wind surfing and swimming, boat ride and many more. This means that Gisenyi is a place to enjoy and relax as well as chill out in Rwanda.
When to visit Lake Kivu
Rwanda is also a high elevation level and the lowest lying areas that are estimated at 900m above sea level. The mountainous land scape is in the gorilla trekking areas and it means that the altitude can reach at 3000m. The height which is also mixed with Rwanda’s closeness to the equator allows the country to adventure a tropical climate with the temperature that remains constant throughout the year. The average temperatures are also at mid to low 20s degrees Celsius.
The rainfall also describes the seasons in Rwanda and there is a long rainy season which lasts from March until May and during this time, the rain is too heavy and persistent. June to September also brings the long dry season, which brings some cloud cover and might also come with rare light showers. The shorts rains also follow in October and November before a short dry spell that also returns from December to February.
Rwanda has also got only degrees south of the equator, though its altitude also means that the temperatures are rarely extreme in the 70s F/22 C during day time and over 60s F/16-21 at Night. You can also see the frost in the high mountains. The months of January, July, September are also known to be dry seasons. During the rainy seasons, heavy rain pours and these also occur on a daily basis and after the showers, the rest of the day might be sunny. It’s also known to rain any time with in volcanoes National park and the area also receives 90% of the rainfall that falls on the country.
Birding in Nyungwe National park
The national park is also found in the albertine Rift valley eco region and it’s so famous for its vegetation cover and it’s also home to many different bird species as compared to other national park. This park is also home to over 310 bird species though due to the fact that the forest is so dense, it can also be so hard to view the birds and most of them like to stay on top at the canopy more than inside of the park. If you are on any birding safari, your guide will also help you to identify the many different birds that you will view during the walk in the forest and also along the many different spots that they might know where the birds are normally seen. At the canopy you will have a clear view of the canopy and a chance to view many birds at the top of the trees. There are also many other sites including Karamba area which is near Gisakura , the Kamiranzovu swamp and the Gisakura tea estate and many more.
You will also expect to have high quality time and see the birds and many other wildlife, tree species and many other attractions that make the tour so much interesting. Birding has also became a great tourist activity that has yielded many monkeys and some other safaris were you can even fly to a particular destination to view many species and the gorillas. A birding tour also needs the tourist to spend many days in the country and this also means that you will spend more on your safari.
There are also 310 species that have been recorded in Nyungwe that reflects a large habitant diversity and the altitudinal range. These also include the 25 species of the albertine Rift mountains endemic bird Area which also occurs in Rwanda, these also include the Chappin’s fly catcher and ppocketfeller’s sun bird. There are also 11 of 23 species of the Guinea Congo Forest biome and also 71 of the 74 species of these biome of the afro tropical highlands that happen in Rwanda and have been recorded at this site. Nyungwe forest is also the most vital forest for the conservation of motane birds with in the region.
About the canopy walk in Nyungwe
Nyungwe Forest National park is also one of the reasons why Rwanda has become the most top tourist destination in the world. This is a place for relaxation and an adventure and insight into Rwanda’s single beauty. The forest is also the largest protected mountain forest in Africa and covers an area between 1600 – 2000 sq meters and it’s a five hour drive into the middle of Rwanda, this long drive also gives the guests a chance to drink in the countries most varied scenery and the imposing land scape as you also move to the main attraction. And a you get to the park, you will also prepare to join on one of the best adventures that you will ever remember; the canopy walk.
More so, the fantastic scenery large, the centuries old trees and the thick forest and this tropical forest also gives shelter to a 200m canopy walk way that will offer you an exhilaration that can be compared by anything else.
Getting to this canopy is also about 2 hours from the starting point at Uwinka visitor center. This forest is on a mountain and the hike I slippery due to the mere fact that the ground on which the visitors trek is wet and moist. Seeing the canopy on arrival, especially for those that fear the height, this could also be described as the endless walk to super hell.
The bridge that is joined between the huge tree one on the feel of the fresh air and 60m above the forest floor. Apart from the freshness with in the air and the wonderful aerial view of these tress, you will also enjoy the sights of the beautiful birds that fly across as you get to enjoy the walk. The canopy walk is the most preferred activity for the park tourists and it’s one of those you would like to try before you leave earth. It was also opened in 2010 and it’s the only one of its kind in East Africa and the third on the African continent. This 90m long canopy walk way also gives an exclusive face to face meetings with the butterflies, birds and the monkeys.
There are also the hard wood trees that occupy the upper canopy a the lower part that is filled with the large election of the purple orchids and the lush flora and the fauna that curl better with in the higher altitudes. Apart from this canopy walk, this park also offers the trails into the different parts of the forest for the climbers and the walkers. All the guided walks will start from the central Uwinka reception center, the western entrance and the eastern Kitabi entrance.
Though the view might be good from above, this same attraction is also good from the forest floor. There is also a network of the ten mud trails that takes you deep into the heart of this forest. An you will also reward yourself after the 10km hike with a tour to Nyungwe’Isuno water falls that are so beautiful. It might also be small in size, but the calm water fall will strike the breeze to which one is also welcomed and feel one of life’s greatest pleasures.
The national park of Rwanda from 50m with in the air on the canopy walk and be able to access the imposing insights into the largest and oldest afro montane forest in East Africa. The walk way is about 200m an hangs across a steep valley that is dotted with the thick forest and the walk also gives the breathtaking views across the misty forest and the sightings at the eye level of the variety of wildlife that lives in this canopy.
This walk also takes to 2 hours and it starts and ends in Nyungwe National park headquarters, the Uwinka tourist reception center. The walk is along the forest trail under the thick canopies for a chance of seeing the ground level nature before taking on the canopy walk way to get to the top level of this forest. The sightings here include; L’Hoest monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white, red tailed monkeys, and the birds. The minimum age for the walk is 6 years and the kids are supposed to be accompanied by the adults. The cost for this activity is $60 per person to be paid to the reception center. This activity is also present throughout the year. Always remember to carry a rain coat since the chances of rain fall are also high. The hiking shoes are also important an both these can be rented from the reception center. The walking sticks are also provided free of charge and this hike is so easy and take only 2 hours to be completed.
The activity starts by 8: 00 am/10:00 am – 7:00pm or 3:00pm. What to be carried for the hike includes; the hiking boots, cameras, 1 liter of drinking water, small back parker, the rain jacket, camera batteries and the walking stick.
The Gisakura Tea Estate
For those that love tea, you can have a visit to this huge plantation and is one of the best things that will happen to you a long time to come. You can also walk into this tea estate to experience close the many parallel ridges of tea plus the attractive mountains that provide a fantastic back for the plantation. If you visit on a Sunday, you will not find the farmers on the site and you will also find the farmers at work from Monday to Saturday. The farmers can also be seen picking the tea and collecting them with the basket. These get paid by a kilo picked. Though they work hard, they are always willing to pare time to greet the tourist. You also need to carry a camera since the rolling land scapes and the beautiful greens are so unique.
Tea is also the largest export in Rwanda, the temperate climate and the fertile volcanic soils are also good for the growing plant and this creates a unique famous drink. The tea leaves can also be seen as it covers the whole mountains which is in the end creating a beautiful contrast towards the blue skies, dirt roads and the sun shine. Thee tea leave can also be seen as they cover the mountains which is in the end creates a stunning contrast towards the blue skies, sun shine as well as the dirt roads. The tourists can also adventure how this tea is harvested, processed and how it’s brought to taste sweet. This tea plantation safari takes places in many locations across Rwanda with one main place being Nyungwe National park, Gisakura and Gisovu. This is also a good family safari and the visitors of all ages are also welcomed.
The tea is also Rwanda’s one export and the rolling hills of Rwanda countryside are also well suited to the coffee production, and the beans that come out of Rwanda are today considered to be on high demand all around the world. This coffee covered hillside also sparkles bright green all throughout the year, and when the harvest is ready, the coffee cherries themselves blush so deeply red to know that they are ready to be plucked. There are many small growers that produce coffee all across Rwanda and the visits are also centered on Gienyi and many farmer’s cooperatives and the washing stations near also give safaris as they explain the coffee process throughout the year.
About Hiking in Nyungwe National park
The hiking trails here take from 4 hours to 3 days and these are 130km of the trails and are found in Nyungwe Forest National park in Rwanda. If you are in this park, you can easily spend a week as you hike through the afro montane forest.the hiking trails take few hours to 3 days and there is also the canopy trail , Rwanda source of the Nile and more, all this is found in Nyungwe Forest National park in Rwanda. Nyungwe is also for the outdoor adventures and a paradise as well as the largest afro montane forest in Africa, there are over 13 primate species, birds, butterflies and the orchids with in the season. The hikers will also meet as he shares in the nyungwe forest National park. The hiking trails runs through Nyungwe Forest and many people come to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas in the volcanoes National park and also miss the beautiful Nyungwe Foret with its lots of primates, birds, plants and the tropical trees.
- The Ngabwe Trail
This is a 4.7km and 3 hours to be completed and is moderate as regards to the difficulty level. You will also find the trail taking you through variety of vegetation zones even though it’s a short trail. It can also be extended to 8 hours long and would then include the Kitabi tea plantation. You are also free to carry food and eat at the picnic site that offers good views of the forest. Along the trail, you will also see the colobus monkey, the L’Hoest Monkeys, silver monkeys, chimps and the Mangabeys.
- The Bigugu Trail
This is somehow difficult and takes 6 hours to be completed. This trail I 7km long and it’s too steep and slippery at times. The trail goes upwards the highest point in the park which is also the Bigugu peak and is about 295m in elevation. You also need to be fit in order to complete the trail but it’s worthwhile the efforts put in. this is also an excellent trail for the birders where one can see the red collared mountain babler. You can also see the fantastic wild flowers and these include the giant lobelias and orchids.
- The Igishigishigi Trail
This is also the most famous trail from the Uninkwa reception area of the park since it also includes the canopy forest walkway. This is a featured attraction in the forest and its also a must do for the guests to the park. The trail is 2.4km and takes 5 hours in order to be completed including the canopy walk. You will also hear be up in the tree tops and see the primates, birds, butterflies and many more. This is also am amazing hike that you shouldn’t miss.
- The Kamiranzovu March trail
This is a trail that is inside the caldera like depression and it’s a large swamp that forms a vital watershed in the park. The trail is kinder moderately difficulty and is 6km long and also takes 3 hours to be completed. Along the trail, you will find lots of orchids in the rainy season and this season also starts in October to November and then in May and April each year. The trail is also rich in botanical and is also good for swamp associated birds like the Grauer’s Rush warber.
- The Isuno waterfall Trail
This is also a popular trail and its 10 km long and is moderately difficult, it takes 4 hours to be completed and you go through the tea plantation and then through the patches of the forest were you can see many species of monkeys. Along the way to the waterfall, you will also move through the tree ferns that need an imposing eye and then you will view the Ruwenzori Turaco bird. This is one of the nice trails of Nyungwe Forest.
- The source of the Nile Trail
You can also take an easy hike to Rwanda source of the Nile. This also takes 1 and half hours to be well completed. There is also not much effort that is needed to this hike. The source of the Nile is found in Rwanda, Uganda and in Burundi and here we trek the Rwanda source of the Nile that was discovered by the rise to the Nile adventure in 2006 were they discovered the head waters of the Rukarara River was also the source of the Nile in Nyungwe forest. Many Ugandans don’t agree with this source of the Nile.
- The Karamba birding trail
This is also a 4 km long trail and it comes to the walks and the hikes with in the forest as much of this hike is a flat one and open area of the forest. This was the area where gold mining was done and later on, it also became a pit for road building material and then an army camp. This also one of the least muddy trails in the forest and you will also be able to see some of the orchids, the dent’s monkeys, the giant tree ferns that are rare to find. It’s one of the easiest trail with in the park.
- Muzimu Trail
This is a 5.2 km trail and is also remote and takes 3.5 hours to be completed and is also moderately difficulty. The trail also passes through the open heath like the vegetation and shrubs. The trail has much wild flowers along it and there are also non forest birds along the way and you will have a 360 degrees view of the park and Lake Kivu in the far distance. It’s also known that on a clear day, you can also view the Virunga volcanoes that are a tower over Rwanda.
- The Imbaraga trail
The hike to the trail is also taken of the Uwinka reception center and is also one that is somehow difficult. It’s also 10km long and also takes over 6 hours to get completed. The word Imbaraga also means the strength and shows of how difficult this trail is. This trail also takes in four different waterfalls and you will also have a chance to view the chimpanzees. The trail might also be hard but generally rewarding.
- The Irebero Trail.
The word Irebero also means the view point and its 3.4km and you will also have a good scenic view and this trail is also moderately difficult and also takes 3 hours to be completed. The views are also worthwhile the hike. It was also signed to show you the beautiful views from high altitude and also be able to look onto Rwanda’s borders and then look at Lake Kivu. This trail also takes you a circle around the highest peaks that are also found in Nyungwe Forest National park.
- About the Umugote Trail
The trail was also named after Syzygium tree that are found along this trail. This trail is also 3.6km long and can be completed in 3 hours. This hike also rises up the side of the mountain and you will also have a good view of the pristine part of this great forest as you also go through the valley and view the forest’s rich biodiversity. While here, you can also view the mountains of Burundi.
- The Ruzizi Trail
This is also fairly hard trail to hike and it take in the chimps of Nyungwe Forest and the chimps are often the main reason why the visitors come to Nyungwe forest. Leaving the chimps, the trail also takes in the very stunning vitas for the hikers to view along the way. The trail takes 5 hours to be fully completed and is 9 km in length. Even though you won’t see the chimps, the scenery along the hike is so beautiful.
- The Umuyoye Trail.
This is also one of the famous hike in the park and is also relatively short and dotted with beautiful views of the waterfalls and the orchids along many other wild flowers for you to enjoy the hike. The Umuyoye also means Mahogany and many of these trees also line this trail that make it more enjoyable. Along this hike, you will meet the birds and primates and the trail is 5.5km and takes 3.5 hours to be completed.
- The Congo Nile Divide Trail.
This trail is also 42km and takes 3 to 4 days along the ridge with in the forest which separates the river basins that flows into the Nile and on the other side of the ridge into the river basin of Congo. It’s also for the experienced hikers and also include camping in the forest as you make the 42km trek through the ridge of the forest. This is also good hike and will be most memorable and is not be confused with the popular Congo Nile trail which runs alongside Lake Kivu in western Uganda. This is also the longest hiking trail with in Nyungwe Forest.