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Lake Kivu Offbeat
Could we offer you an unusual take on Lake Kivu, a grand lake shared by Rwanda and DR Congo? Lake Kivu Offbeat bluntly ignores every place the area is best known for — with a notable exception of optional Nyungwe National Park chimps — to give you something different. Sometimes it’s the offbeat attractions that are the real bounty of a region!
• cruise on pretty Lake Kivu, on both the Rwandan and the Congolese side
• visit the endangered Grauer’s gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park
• enjoy a day in Nyungwe National Park with chimps and canopy walking
• relax or hike on a diary farm in eastern DR Congo
• marvel at the endless tea plantations of Gisovu
• see Bukavu, the prettiest city of Lake Kivu (and further)
area: Kigali – Huye – Nyungwe National Park – Gisovu Tea Estate – Rusizi – Bukavu – Lwiro – Kahuzi-Biega National Park – Goma – Masisi
mode of transport: car and boat
total days on the ground: 12
You are reading one of the seven unusual travel itineraries covering Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo.
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DAY 1 🚌 (Kigali – Huye – Nyungwe National Park)
We will collect you from your Kigali hotel in the morning and take a beautiful road trip on smooth roads to the southwest of Rwanda where Nyungwe National Park lies. This is a 4-hour drive, and on the way we will stop at the ethnographical museum in Huye for some historical and cultural background.
DAY 2 🚌👟 (Nyungwe National Park)
This day will be up to you, choosing from the Nyungwe activity menu: chimp tracking (they have over 500 chimpanzees), the canopy walk (160 m/525 ft long, and not for those afraid of heights), black and white colobus tracking or marsh and waterfall hiking.
DAY 3 🚌 (Nyungwe National Park – Gisovu – Lake Kivu)
You will be taken to the Gisovu Tea Estate to marvel at their vast green plantations and see different stages of tea production. The day’s road trip will bring you to the shores of Lake Kivu — what about an evening swim?
DAY 4 🚤 (Lake Kivu)
Early in the morning a houseboat will collect you for a 10-hour cruise on the lake, straight to Rusizi on the border with DR Congo. Your lunch will be served on board, your dinner on the shore.
DAY 5 🚌 (Rusizi – Bukavu)
We will venture into the Congolese city of Bukavu that starts right after the border post. After checking into our hotel, we will begin the day with a lavish brunch. In the afternoon, there will be a walking trip of this fascinating city organised by the Gorilla Highlands team.
DAY 6 🚌👟 (Bukavu – Lwiro – Kahuzi-Biega National Park)
Before reaching the headquarters of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, we will pay a visit to Lwiro. This is the site of a primate sanctuary, an impressive research centre, and our first Kahuzi-Biega experience, the Tshiabati Waterfalls Trail. Our lunch will be in Lwiro, and dinner will be served in the comfortable lodge close to the Kahuzi-Biega information centre.
DAY 7 🥾 (Kahuzi-Biega National Park)
This is your highlight day — you will visit Grauer’s gorillas in their natural habitat! Every morning the group’s position is determined by local trackers, mostly of the indigenous Batwa “Pygmies” tribe; in the afternoon we will check on their village and learn more.
DAY 8 (Kahuzi-Biega National Park)
The day is open to your personal preferences. Feel like climbing Mt Kahuzi (3,308 m/ 10,853 ft)? Hungry for a deeper gorilla experience, this time focused on their habituation? Wanna just do some small hikes around the area? Or are you feeling lazy and want to relax? Entirely your choice!
DAY 9 🚌🚤 (Kahuzi-Biega National Park – Goma)
We will be catching the afternoon speedboat to the city of Goma, but first we see the area’s latest tourism attraction, the Royal Court of the Kingdom of Kabare. The most powerful kingdom of the southern part of Lake Kivu, it proudly resisted Belgian forces before ultimately being defeated — but the Europeans eventually learned that they needed to cooperate with the king!
DAY 10 🚌 (Goma – Masisi)
South of Goma lies the final hidden jewel, the Masisi territory. It will take a 4WD vehicle between 2 and 3 hours to get you to Auberge de Rushengo deep in the hills. This is an extensive family farm full of cattle — do not miss our podcast and article about it.
DAY 11 👟 (Masisi)
Imagine a day in rural heaven, with excellent food, locally produced cheese, plentiful milk … and easy hikes into different directions that all abound in tremendous vistas.
DAY 12 🚌 (Masisi – Goma)
After another feast for your eyes, the road trip back to Lake Kivu, you will be ready to fly home through the airport at Goma —- or to continue your adventures in Rwanda!
Lake Kivu is one of the Gorilla Highlands region’s Top 5 Prettiest Lakes …
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