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Rwanda

Lake Kivu / Rubavu

If you’re surprised that Rwanda has a beach - you’re not alone. Rubavu (also known as Gisenyi) is a waterfront town located on the shores of Lake Kivu, one Africa’s great bodies of water. At only an hour away from Volcanoes National Park, Rubavu is a great way to unwind after trekking adventures.

Rubavu marks the beginning of the Congo Nile Trail, which extends 227 km to Rusizi, and has plenty of biking and hiking trails to fulfill those who crave the some more adventure. Rubavu is also known for its agrotourism experiences, with many tea and coffee plantations nearby.

Activities at Lake Kivu :

  • Watersports

Beach days can be filled with water sports (equipment can be rented from hotels), beach sports, kayaking, fishing or boat tours.

  • Congo Nile Trail

The Congo Nil Trail is a trail along Lake Kivu that extends from Rubavu, continues through Rutsiro via the Karongi, Nyamasheke districts and ends at Rusizi District.

227 km (141 miles) of beautiful landscapes, including rolling hills and clear water. The entire trek can be completed in a 10- day hike. However, the trip can be done in sections if travelers do not have the time to complete the entire trail. Trails give stunning views of the Lake Kivu coastline and offer adventurous travelers an exciting way to discover Rwanda.

Biking the Congo Nile Trail can be completed in 5 days, with rich views and immersive cultural experiences along the way. This trail appeals to adventure travelers and is a great way to experience Rwanda. The trail can also be split up if visitors do not have the time to commit to the 5 day journey. However, it is an experience worth selling to those who crave an off the beaten path adventure.Rwanda’s caves date back 65 million years and lie withing the volcanic region where lava flow layers long ago created the Albertine Rift Valley.

  • Hot Springs

Visit the hot spring at the Residence of Bishop Bigirumwami for a local insight on how Rwandans use this natural resource in a sustainable and community supportive way.

  • Coffee & Tea

With a thick carpet of some of the world’s richest volcanic soil covering the cool, misty hillsides outside Rubavu, both coffee and tea thrive here, and some of Rwanda’s finest crops are produced in this region. Between May and August, the coffee cherries start to ripen, turning a deep cranberry red at the moment they’re ready for harvest. The hillsides are a hive of activity in harvest season, but visitors any time of year can learn about planting, picking, washing, drying, roasting, and everything in between. There are a number of plantations and washing stations outside Rubavu where visitors can take part in the tea & coffee process from seed to sip and witness the decades of expertise that go into every cup of Rwanda’s finest. These are a few growers and plantations outside Rubavu :

  • Gishwati Forest

This beautiful forest hosts activities such as the exciting chimpanzee tracking, nature walking and birding.

  • Community Tourism

Rwanda is already a leading light when it comes to community-based tourism in Africa, and there are a handful of not-to-be-missed projects located in and around Rubavu working in arts, education, agriculture, and much more. In Rubavu itself, a collection of local artists and artisans run the COPROVEPA Cooperative, which makes all manner of paintings, carvings, and jewellery, and is simply one of the best places in town to pick up that one-of-a-kind souvenir. A few miles outside of Rubavu proper, the KIAKA Cooperative does equally beautiful work. On the road from Musanze to Rubavu, the Imbabazi centre makes a fabulous stopover, and be sure to allow yourself enough time : there’s a nursery school, farm, and historic gardens all ripe for the exploring. Finally, perhaps the best-known community tourism initiative around Rubavu is Dancing Pots, where visitors spend at least half a day with a collective of Batwa artists and performers, and get to not only see performances, but try their hands at traditional Batwa pottery and dance.

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