A magnificent scenic 227 km route stretching along the shores of lake Kivu in the western province from Rubavu district through Rutsiro, Karongi, Nyamasheke to Rusizi districts.
This spectacular route is known as the Congo –Nile Trail takes 8-days by foot, 5-days by mountain bike and 3-days by vehicle. This route combines number tourism attractions along the way, as it curves along the shores of the lake. Some of the targeted attractions along the trail include coffee and tea experiences, several isles and bays on lake Kivu as well as camping sites on top of Mugonero high in Karongi district as well as a number of community tourism initiatives.
Also, planned for development as a major stop for tourists is the Congo-Nile divide water shed in Rutsiro district-a high point where the Nile basin separates from the Congo basin. The site offers a magnificent view of Lake Kivu positioned in the western rift valley mountain range.
This initiative is being developed by RDB in collaboration with United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and SNV Rwanda. It is being marketed to tourists in a bid encourage local communities to fight poverty by developing tourism initiates while at the same time allowing the country to diversify from gorilla tourism. The route is only suitable for patient 4×4 drives as the maximum speed, due to eroded road condition 25 km per hour.
Experience the Congo Nile Trail
This 227 kilometers long Congo Nile Trail runs from Gisenyi (at the North of Lake Kivu) southwards to Cyangugu town (at the Southern side of Lake Kivu) and tourists are likely to encounter several fascinating attractions that include luxuriant forests, rolling hills, beautiful villages that offer insight to Rwanda’s rural life, steep valleys an d several villages among other interesting attractions. The bird lovers are not left out because tourists will be rewarded with the views of some of the beautiful bird species like the White-breasted cormorants, white-tailed blue flycatchers and black headed herons among others found here.
Tourists who wish to explore this riveting trail can choose from walking, biking, cycling or motorcycling to achieve a memorable experience while in this Place. The best however is touring using motorcycles because you can be able to explore many places and hilly areas without getting tired/exhausted whereas with walking you won’t be able to explore many places because you are likely to get exhausted but the advantage with walking is that you can be able to maneuver through small/narrow paths and roads in bad conditions. In order to have a maximum satisfaction, it is advisable that you exploit both avenues. It takes up to 10 days to be able to explore the entire 227 kilometers of this trail while hiking/walking while it can take only 5 days with biking/cycling. Whatever option you choose, you will be accompanied by experienced/skilled English speaking tour guides and a porter (that you will hire out of your own interest, but if you hire them, you will not regret your decision). Bikes can be hired from Gisenyi (which is abit expensive) or you can a new or second hand bike.
There are several trail options that can be utilized in this ravishing Congo Nile trail and they involve using different paths and duration of time. One of the options is the one starting from Gisenyi then proceeds South-wards and ends at Kamembe. This trail usually takes 5 full days to complete while biking (with a bike that has no mechanical problems).
The second option involves using the Gisenyi-Kibuye path, can be completed within a day or two and is ideal for tourists who do not have sufficient time to complete the first option.
What to Carry/Pack for the Congo Nile Trail
For a memorable experience on this trail, you will need to carry a backpack (for your cameras and lunch), enough drinking water and snacks because most times it takes up to 10 kilometers to reach the nearest traditions centers or shops that sell snacks or drinking water, but sometimes even when you reach the shops you might be disappointment to discover they do not have what you desire, so it is important to plan in advance and go prepared. Sunglasses, sweater for the cold mornings and nights, sleeping bags, spare parts for tourists who wish to use motor bikes, helmets and dust masks, some few clothes, and light waterproof hiking boots are the important items you need to have a comfortable and memorable time while on this trail.
Where to Stay Around the Congo Nile Trail
Some of the comfortable guesthouses along the Congo Nile Trail include Bethanie guest house, Home Saint Jean guest house, Kinunu guest house, Kibogora guest house and peace guest house among others. There are also over 8 well maintained and serviced Campsites along this trail set by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Therefore, besides the gorilla trekking and game drives popular within Volcanoes and Akagera National parks respectively. You can unleash your excitement in the Congo Nile Trail and achieve a memorable experience in Rwanda.