Things to do in Kibuye Rwanda

This little lakeside village is one of Rwanda’s most sought-after adventure spots; featuring the best resorts, thanks to its crystal blue water, lushly verdant hills, and vibrant vegetation.

Officially known as Karongi, Kibuye is a city in Rwanda’s Karongi District and the administrative center of the country’s Western Province. In “The Land of a Thousand Hills,” the city is located on the eastern shores of Lake Kivu, between Gisenyi and Cyangugu, roughly 135 kilometers (84 miles) west of Kigali, the country’s capital and largest city. On the Rwandan shore of Lake Kivu, there are three notable settlements. Kibuye is in the center, between Gisenyi (to the north) and Cyangugu (to the south). This little lakeside village is one of Rwanda’s most sought-after adventure spots; featuring the best resorts, thanks to its crystal blue water, lushly verdant hills, and vibrant vegetation.

Kibuye also lies about 85 kilometers from the Nyungwe Forest National Park – Rwanda’s primate paradise famous for Rwanda chimpanzee trekking tours. Ndaba Falls located a few kilometers from Kibuye, is a beautiful waterfall. Kibuye is home to a genocide memorial commemorating the killing of 90% of Kibuye’s Tutsi inhabitants during the Rwandan Civil War.

Getting to Kibuye

Kibuye lies about 135 kilometers from Kigali about 140 kilometers from Kigali International Airport and the road by road. From Kigali, one can drive for 2 to 3 hours to Kibuye. There are also frequent buses that run between Kigali Nyabugogo Bus Station and Kibuye. It consists of the Capital bus line, the Impala Express bus line, and other minibusses. The one-way price is around 2500RFr. Kibuye may also be reached from Gisenyi or Cyangugu. Previously, there was just one bus that ran from Gisenyi to Kibuye. But today, you now have a Poctual bus service that is available 24 hours a day.

Things to do in Kibuye

Explore Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is a tranquil freshwater lake in Western Rwanda, on the border with Congo. The lake is a Great African Lake located on the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Lake Kivu feeds the huge Ruzizi River, which flows south into Lake Tanganyika. It spans a surface area of 2,700 square kilometers, a maximum width of 48 kilometers, and a length of 89 kilometers and it is a lifeline for Kibuye and other neighboring towns that lie on its beautiful coastlines.

The lake generates several magnificent sandy beaches on the Rwandan side where tourists can relax and sunbathe. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking boat rides on the lake and its beautiful islands, take a swim in the Bilharzia free freshwater lake, take on kayaking, sport fishing, bird-watching, or simply relax at one of the stunning lodges and hotels on the lake’s shores.

Things to do in Kibuye Rwanda
Things to do in Kibuye Rwanda

Visit Ndaba Rocks and Water Fall

Ndaba Rocks, also known as “Urutare rwa Ndaba,” in native Kinyarwanda, is one of Rwanda’s most fascinating cultural and historic tourism destinations. The rocks and waterfall are one of Karongi district’s most famous tourist attractions, not only because of their beauty but also because of the fabled past that surrounds it. The rocks are located around 28 kilometers from Kibuye and are well-known among nature and hiking aficionados. Ndaba rocks and waterfall can be reached by car from Kibuye.

Things to do in Kibuye

Famous among cyclists and hikers, the Congo Nile Trail is one of the best trailheads to explore while on Rwanda safaris to Kibuye. Providing exciting adventure travel along Lake Kivu’s coast, the Congo Nile Trail stretches for approximately 227 kilometers (141 miles) from the north to the southern coastline of Lake Kivu. Despite its name, the trail has no direct connection to the Nile or Congo rivers, neither of which are located in Rwanda. It takes its name from a watershed that divides the Congo and Nile rivers.

Aside from the name, the Congo Nile Trail traverses through some of Rwanda’s most picturesque places. It is widely recognized as one of the top bike paths in East Africa. The path was designed to go along the beaches of Lake Kivu, which feature breathtaking scenery and other noteworthy attractions. Hiking and bicycling tours along the trail begin from the northern Rubavu (Gisenyi) area down to the southern Rusizi district; while passing via Rutsiro, Karongi, and Nyamasheke. Tourists who are eager to explore the Congo Nile Trail can partake in a 10-day trek or a 5-day biking tour.

Visit the Genocide Memorial and the Environment Museum

Kibuye, like Kigali, has a genocide memorial monument located in Home Saint Jean. This site contains a wealth of information regarding the 1994 genocide as well as Rwanda’s history and cultural heritage. The Kibuye Genocide Memorial was established in memory of people, majorly Kibuye’s Tutsi population, who were deliberately slain during the genocide. Along the shoreline, there is also an environmental museum that enriches visitors with the educational knowledge required to understand all of the different forms of energy as well as how the various fuel sources affect the environment.

Kibuye Community Visits

Another interesting thing to do in Kibuye is explore its thriving communities. Visit the nearby Kibuye communities to learn about the Rwandan people and their way of life, as well as make a contribution to their survival. Buy souvenirs, visit a local school, or community, and volunteer, among other things. Community visits offer an opportunity to not just interact with the locals but also give back to these communities, by supporting the local tour guides; thereby improving their livelihoods.

Visit Muyira Hill

Muyira Hill is a hill of historical significance in Kibuye, Lake Kivu, where over 4000 residents gathered to stand against savage Interahamwe who were slaughtering people during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. Locals armed with stones and spears fought for their lives from the top of Muyira Hill and were prepared to defend themselves at any cost. Tourists can visit the hill and learn about the historical events that took place on this hill.

Moreover, Kibuye is a province located about an hour from the famed Volcanoes National Park and while exploring the stunning town, you can also pay a visit to the endangered mountain gorillas and enjoy personal interactions with the apes.

Where to Stay in Kibuye

Kibuye has a greater number of hotels that are distributed around the city and range from budget to mid-range and luxury, with cutting-edge amenities and services. For budget travelers, Home Saint Jean is the town’s most affordable choice. The modest guest perches on a rock overlooking Lake Kivu and offers beautiful sunrises and sunsets almost assured every day. The hotel’s rooms are modest, but there is always hot water and the restaurant bar is well-stocked.

For mid-range accommodation, Cormoran Lodge is the most popular option. Perched on a hilltop close to Lake Kivu the lodge boasts the best views of Lake Kivu and its surroundings. This lodge is made up of 5 cottages constructed entirely of wood, giving it an intimate atmosphere. On the other hand, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is suitable for those looking for a more opulent and luxurious stay in Kibuye. The hotel is located farther north, within the town of Gisenyi, and has a private beach and a spacious swimming pool. This big resort exudes elegance, and it feels more like a beach resort in Europe than a Rwandan resort. A wonderful spot to stay and unwind.

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