Gisenyi Town, Rwanda, sits on the northeast edge of Lake Kivu, more than one hundred fifty kilometers northwest of Rwanda's capital Kigale. The border with the Democratic Republic of Congo is also here, where travelers cross into Goma and then onward to Virunga National Park.
Gisenyi is a pleasant town with the beautiful waters of the lake to enjoy. Lake Kivu has a maximum depth of five hundred meters and is one of the deepest lakes in the world and has three sandy beaches in Gisenyi.
Rubona Peninsula, four kilometers south of town, is worth a day trip. The rocky shore gives way to steep, terraced hills containing small garden plots and homesteads, and there are natural hot springs here.
There's plenty of accommodation here, including some very expensive upmarket options, but there are also a couple of hostels in Gisenyi Town, Rwanda, with dorm beds. Water sports are popular here and your Gisenyi Town, Rwanda hostel can organize boat trips for you, as well as a tour to one of the big tea plantations nearby. Gisenyi Town, Rwanda hostels are scattered around the town, so get directions before you arrive, and book in advance over the weekends and especially during Rwanda's public holidays.
Lake Kivu is susceptible to a strange phenomenon called a "limnic eruption." Only three lakes in the world have shown this propensity, in which methane and carbon dioxide are released in vast quantities from below the surface, which suffocates any living thing within the vicinity. Evidence has shown various extinction events have taken place here in the past, but these events are extremely rare. However, in the eighties, both Lake Nyos and Lake Monoun in Cameroon have had limnic eruptions that led to the deaths of thirty-seven, and as many as one thousand eight hundred people respectively.
For those who are looking for something really energetic, the Congo Nile Trail is a ten-day hike from Gisenyi to Cyangugu along the lake's eastern shore. If this sounds a bit too strenuous, there is a shorter, four-day section that can be done between Gisenyi and Kibuye, or there is the option to mountain bike it. Rwanda is known for its hills, so be prepared for a bit of a workout if you decide this is for you. The hostels in Gisenyi Town, Rwanda, can help organize either of these hikes or bikes.
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