Gisenyi, the capital of Rubavu District, is the fifth largest town in Rwanda. Situated in the country’s Western Province. Gisenyi borders the north shore of Lake Kivu at the foot of the Virunga mountains offering visitors stunning vistas of mountain scenery and a cool temperate climate all year round.
Gisenyi lies 60km to the west of Musanze and the Volcanos National Park, and 110km north of Karongi. It is a 160km journey to Kigali on good roads. Gisenyi is divided into a busier upper part of town which is back-dropped by the Virunga volcanoes; and the lower part of town which is quieter, with established architecture, banks, government buildings and hotels fringing the lake shores. Gisenyi indeed offers immense opportunities for tourism and just like most Rwandan cities, it has a tourist-friendly population as well as clean and smooth roads, pristine beaches, hiking and biking trails, boat cruise and night fishing expeditions, among others.
The most captivating sight in Gisenyi is the Nyayumba hot springs located few kilometres away from the main town. Tourists will be ‘wowed’ by the sight of the ponds of boiling water which has the capacity to boil water and cook meals. It’s an amazing experience. The massive tea plantations are awe-inspiring. It reflects the industriousness of the Rwandan people as well as the premium placed on agriculture. The red hot bellowing smoke from the active volcano in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo can be seen from high altitudes in Gisenyi. This is however visible in clear clouds. Other unforgettable sights and sites include the World War II burial sites and the Genocide Memorial, among others.
Many of the restaurants in Gisenyi serve Indian and European cuisine, so you are simply home away from home. Get set for sumptuous meal varieties such as the English breakfast, Fries/Chips and Brochette, Tom Kha soup, Rice with Fresh Tilapia, Steak and Pizzas, among others. However, look out for the local gouda sauce usually added to the pizza serving; it’s really a strong one and it’s nothing like the European gouda. It’s worth trying out though. What’s more, Gisenyi’s Samosas are heavenly. If you are a fan of Samosas, then you’re in the right place as you’ll get treated to hot, fresh, meat samosa that literally explodes with flavour in your mouth. Finally, you’ll love the city’s range of cold juice drinks, be it passion, apple, orange or carrot. Local and international brands of beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks are also available on demand.