Gisenyi town is located near Goma town in the western province of Rwanda, near the Congo border.
It is situated in the north-west corner of Lake Kivu.
Gisenyi escaped the volcanic eruptions of Mount Nyiragongo in 1977 and 2002, although some lava did flow into Lake Kivu.
Gisenyi town has a population of over 100,000 people and is also home to Bralirwa, which is the only brewery in Rwanda.
There are plenty of places to visit and activities to do while in Gisenyi, some of which are listed below:
What to Do/Activities:
- Tea Plantation Tours: Tourists can take guided tours to several tea plantations around Gisenyi, such as Pfunda tea factory, which is known to produce over 90 tonnes of tea daily. Visitors can learn about the process of planting tea and witness the harvest. The tea plantations also offer spectacular views and are not far from town.
- Shopping for Crafts: Gisenyi has several shops selling African crafts from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and masks from Congo. Visitors can acquire these souvenirs to take back home as mementos or as gifts for loved ones.
- Lake Kivu Beaches: Lake Kivu boasts several beaches along its shores, making it the perfect place to relax after a hectic gorilla trekking adventure in Volcanoes National Park. The beaches provide an ideal setting for relaxation, sunbathing, and offer great views of Lake Kivu and the Virunga ranges.
- Nature Walks: Explore Gisenyi town on foot, with one of the most interesting walks being along the Avenue of Cooperation, which encircles Lake Kivu up to the Congo border. The walk takes you through elegant trees and palm trees, providing a refreshing cool breeze. Alternatively, tourists can also walk to Nyamuyumba, which is about 6 kilometers away.
- Sunset Boat Rides: Take a sunset boat ride on Lake Kivu and enjoy the privilege of viewing various water birds, the Virunga Mountains, and tea and coffee plantations. Local small boats are used for these rides, and you can visit one of the lake’s rocky islands for sundowning. You may also encounter many small boats with fishermen going for night fishing. Tourists can even take a ferry for an adventurous trip to Cyangugu or Kibuye, located in the southern part of Lake Kivu.
While in Gisenyi, tourists can stay at various accommodations, including Hotel Italiano Al Lago, Kivu Peace View Hotel, Hill View Hotel, Fanad Hotel, Asante Hotel, Musanto Hotel, Stipp Hotel Gisenyi, Gorillas Lake View Hotel, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, and Dean Fossey Nyimaramacidir Hotel, among others.
Gisenyi town can be reached from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, within a 3-hour drive.
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