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Gisenyi is a city in Rubavu district in Western Rwanda on Lake Kivu.


Gisenyi is a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu on the border with DR Congo (Goma). Gisenyi is coterminous with Goma, the city across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Get in[edit]

Buses run many times a day between Kigali and Gisenyi (2h30 to 3h) and at least once a day between Kibuye and Gisenyi. Minibuses from Gisenyi to Musanze take about 2h, departing when full unless they have a fixed schedule. Gisenyi Bus Station is located near the Petite Barriere border crossing on the main road and has bank/ATM services next to it.

Get around[edit]

Gisenyi is a small town and can easily be gotten around on foot or bike, alternatively there are hundreds of motorbike taxis around. From rubavu to Gisenyi expect to pay 1000 rwf. To rent a bike or tour guide, you can visit a tourist office (Green Hills Ecotours) or book them for other tour activities such as: kayak; boat trip; pottery experience; coffee and tea experience.

See[edit][add listing]

Lake Kivu and beaches. Amazing bird life.

Do[edit][add listing]

Situated on the north of Lake Kivu, it also offers many opportunities for water sports or for excursions on the lake. The northern shore of the lake on which Goma and Gisenyi lie is a flat plain featuring lava formations from the eruptions of nearby Nyiragongo Volcano.

Gisenyi town features a resort on the shores of Lake Kivu, with the best hotels and beaches.

  • Wildlife tours, gorilla trekking, historical & cultural, village visits,

volunteering, walking & trekking, kayaking & boat trips, community-based tours, sightseeing tours.

  • Visit the brewery. It opens for tours once a week. Call or ask the local for details.
  • Visit the local youth cultural center and see kids practice in dance, music, gymnastics
  • You can hire bicycles to do the congo nile trail, anything between half day and 5 days.
  • There is a hot spring in rabavu, 1000 rwf entry. Watch out for touts here

Buy[edit][add listing]

While traveling in Gisenyi you can visit the tourist office of Green Hills Ecotours, they provide space to local artists to sell their arts & crafts from their office and prices are reasonable.

You can also ask for Kivu Art Gallery has a varied and colourful collection of handicrafts from the DRC, Uganda and Rwanda, including lots of Congolese masks and other wooden items as well as necklaces, paintings and basketware.

Visit the gisenyi market for fresh vegetables and fruit, fabrics, clothes. It is a market frequented by locals.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Calafia Cafe is located on the lakefront road in town near the Big Border crossing. Exquisite coffee and gourmet sandwiches, salads, smoothies, toast, tapas, baked goods, and cocktails. Great for dining in or grabbing a packed lunch for your car ride, trek up Nyiragongo, or hike.

Other good restaurants include Thai Jazz, Super Five, Paradis Malahide, Palm garden Resort, Palm Beach Hotel and Inzu Lodge.

Ask around for the locally made banana and sorghum beers. Some restaurants will assist with sourcing this.

Drink[edit][add listing]

The town has a brewery. Try the home made banana beers

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Dian Fossey Hotel Located very close to the beautiful Lake Kivu coast, about 5 minutes by walking. There is also a 5-minute walk to the DRC border. They offer standard rooms, prime rooms and suites. Prices start from 20,000RWF. Website
  • Hotel Umumwe Located one block from Lake Kivu it has nice clean rooms for 35,000RWF/58USF, 25,000RRFW/41USD and 20,000/33USD with breakfast included in the rate. (email: [email protected])
  • Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Gisenyi, Rwanda, +250 788 200430, [1]. Surrounded by tropical gardens and located on a sandy beach at Lake Kivu, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel offers luxury and business friendly accommodation as well as a great range of sports activities, relaxing spa services and family friendly options. $180USD.  edit
  • Discover Rwanda Gisenyi Beach New hostel located right next to Lake Kivu beach and Serena Hotel in an old colonial house. It has nice clean rooms and good service with the benefit of your money going to a good cause: to support genocide victims and the poor. Their options range from tents to dorms and family rooms with prices starting from 12USD. Website


Get out[edit]

Gisenyi is right on the border of DRC and you can easily walk there; however, you should check what visa requirements are needed for the DRC as the rules have recently gotten much tougher. Plane trips can be made from here to view the Nyiragongo volcano craters. To get more information; process your visa and book your trip, visit office of Green Hills Ecotours in Gisenyi or go to virunga website. There are several buses that travel from gisenyi to other towns in Rwanda. Ritco buses have air conditioning and free WiFi, with one every half hour to Kigali. You can purchase your ticket directly from the driver/ conductor. If travelling during Umuganda then expect delays for up to 2 hours. Create category

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