Gisenyi (Rwanda) – the town on Kivu Lake

We came to Gisenyi from the capital of Rwanda Kigali, and although the trip takes only several hours, we managed to have another adventure by African transport. In one of the villages on the way some child threw a stone into the bus and broke the bus front window. The local investigation began, because of which we arrived in Gisenyi rather late and started to take pictures only in the morning.

Where to stay in Gisenyi.

We tried to find the hostel, but all of them were full; we were lucky to get the staff room of Blessington Motel. The next morning we could move to the normal guest room, even with the hot water! (10000 Rwandan francs).
Blessington Motel

Hotels in Rwanda

As it turned out in the morning, there is no lack of of hotels along the main road. In the morning we had breakfast in another buffet – because of the French influence this is the major form of serving food in Rwanda.
food in Rwanda

Gisenyi borders Congo and there is a consulate making getting to this country possible. We did not have time for it though, and took a dala-dala (400 franks) to the peninsula on the lake to see the sights of Gisenyi itself. First of all we wanted to see the brewery, but it turned out that it holds tours only on Thursdays and they should be booked in advance through email (it is to be found on the internet, according to them) or in person in the morning of Thursday. They did not even let us take the pictures of the brewery, but we are not that simple!
Gisenyi- brewery

Rwanda brewery


The brewery

was founded in 1959 by Belgians and there are four kinds of beer produced here: Turbo, Mützig, Amstel and Primus. The water is local, hops is brought from Egypt. Even though we did not taste the beer at the brewery, we tried it in the restaurant in front, with fried sambaza fish – local must try from Kivu lake – and fried bananas.
sambaza fish

Turbo turned out to be strong and dark, and Mützig was a regular lager (twice more expensive than turbo though).
Rwandian beer

Kivu lake.

Then we went for a walk to the peninsula, to the hot springs first of all. They are not only healing: for instance, locals boil the corn here.
hot spring

Gisenyi-hot spring

When the white us came, a group of teenagers appeared, and the head of the gang kindly told the story of the hot springs, and then all of a sudden started to require dollars for his story. On our way, we heard “give me your dollar” from African children all around. It is obvious that the place is very touristic, yet, authentic 🙂
African children

You may go deeper to the peninsula to see the lighthouse, the peninsula, fishers: almost no people here and the tourists are not bothered by the locals asking for money.
Gisenyi peninsula

Kivu lake


We returned to the city by the same dala-dala, yet, before the trip we had to push it:


We walked a bit more in Gisenyi. In the town and around it there are many women always carrying something on their head, as usually in Eastern Africa:
women carrying something on their head

Woman in Rwanda



You may also see the mosque:

Or the destroyed church in the process of renovation:
Genocide in Rwanda

destroyed church

Or the Seventh Day Adventists church:
Seventh Day Adventists church

And visit the bridal salon:
bridal salon

Also you may communicate with the locals:
African kids

Yet, some of them are too warm-blooded:
winter in Africa

Since we did not have much to do, we made a deal in the hairdresser’s to make the African braids for Nastya, but the hairdresser did not show up at the time of appointment. Only later, in Nairobi, when Nastya got her braids done, we learned why.
It was time to say goodbye to Rwanda. The next day we had to cross the border and get to Uganda.


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