4 Days from$395 p/p in USD
Camping, Mid Range
This Rwanda kayaking safari is the most rewarding way to travel from Gisenyi to Kibuye. Paddling quietly along the coastline, at Cyimbili see the life cycle of Rwanda’s famous coffee industry, from islands covered with bushes to a cup of delicious coffee. Our next stop is at Kinunu where there is a small guesthouse and a wonderfully romantic lodge with breathtakingly scenic views. Continue down the coast for a final night on a beautiful, uninhabited island, with natural woodland that teems with bird life. Then paddle through the deep azure waters of Lake Kivu’s ‘Bay of Islands’, island hopping past more uninhabited islands – such as Napoleon island with its famous bat colony – before arriving at a hotel in Kibuye.
Safari types:Camping Safari, Kayak Safari
You will visit:Lake Kivu, Bugarura Island
Getting around:Bus, 4x4 Vehicle
Start/end:Start in Paradis Malahide, end in Rwiza Village
Minimum age:Children under 14 must be accompanied by at least one adult for each two children
- We can make reservations for you in Cyimbili and Kinunu, however, accommodation and food as well as any additional activities are not included in the price charged by Kingfisher Journeys, except where specifically mentioned. You will need a tent and other camping equipment on the island, which can be hired from us, or you can bring your own. There is also a camping fee on the island (included in the price), separate to the tent hire. We will loan you free dry bags for your clothing and valuables.
- We provide full instruction, so you don’t need any previous experience but you should be reasonably fit and mobile. During the activity the guide will stay close to be on hand if you need their help.
- We need to leave promptly, so please be ready on time. There are no refunds for missed departures.
- Bring a hat, sunscreen and wear light clothes – such as shorts and a t–shirt that can get wet and a change of clothes to change into at the end. A raincoat is also a good idea in the wet season.
- Most people go barefoot in the canoes and kayaks, but footwear that will get wet is recommended for when you get out at the end. Sandals work well and flip flops are ok.
- Please leave behind your jewellery, phones, cameras and anything else that could be damaged by water or lost if it doesn’t float!
- In the wet season, whilst mornings are usually dry, it’s common for there to be rain in the afternoons. Thunderstorms tend to pass quickly, so whilst we may pause the trip whilst for a thunderstorm, we don’t cancel trips because it’s raining – even if it is heavy rain.We aim to be very flexible. As a guide, we usually spend around three hours on the water in short kayaking trips and around five to seven hours on the water on the full-day trips. In the dry season it is sometimes windy between about 11:00 and 14:30 and during the wet season there can be thunderstorms in the afternoons, so we avoid being on the water at these times. However, we will adjust the plan on the day according to the actual conditions, so please be aware that things can change even when you’re on the water.
- In Gisenyi, we meet at Paradis Malahide, a few kilometres outside of the town, at 07:30 am. The trip finishes in Kibuye at Rwiza Village.
- We will give you further detailed information about this trip and links to guidance on what to bring and accommodation choices where relevant.
Rates – Per Person USD
From USD 395 per person
- Accompanied by a guide
- Camping fee on island
- Loan of dry bags
- Accommodation and meals
- Hire of camping equipment
- Additional activities
- International flights
- Tips and other personal expenses
- This itinerary is owned and delivered by ‘Kingfisher Journeys‘
- All prices are ‘From’ and may vary at the time of booking
- Display price is usually based on two people sharing
- ‘Kingfisher Journeys‘ reserves the right to change the content and price of the itinerary
- All itineraries are subject to availability
Day by Day Overview
Travel gently along the shoreline soaking up the quiet and beautiful scenery. Our first stop is at Cyimbili where you will see the coffee process from coffee beans growing on the bush to a delicious cup of locally grown and made coffee. Near Cyimbili we find lovely views of the coffee islands from the water and can optionally go on a short paddle around them in the afternoon. The guest house is run by Alarm-Rwanda that is promoting reconciliation in the local community. They also sell their excellent coffee!
Today is a gentle paddle along the coast, where bays and inlets provide an interesting and very scenic setting for our journey. We arrive at Kinunu in time for lunch, and in the afternoon, we take an optional trip around Bugarura island, one of the largest Rwandan islands in Lake Kivu. We can land on the island to see its church, old mosque and open market – but what’s special is that it offers what is perhaps the most scenic, panoramic view on the whole of Lake Kivu.
The day starts with a remarkable view towards Lake Kivu’s ‘Bay of Islands’ with Kibuye and many hills rising into the distance. We may circumnavigate Bugarura Island before continuing along the coast to a beautiful uninhabited island. Still mostly covered with native trees numerous species of birds dart in and out of the foliage. Take the afternoon to admire the island and the birdlife, or we can go on a short optional paddle deep into an interesting inlet on the mainland.
With exclusive access on the island, we set up camp, maybe buy fish for dinner from local fishermen – so supporting a local community – and cook our own, simple but delicious meal, which we can provide for you, around a small open fire. Please note that – unless otherwise arranged – there are no facilities on the island, so this is amazing ‘wild camping’ at its best.
In the silence of the lake we wake to a dawn chorus that is truly remarkable. After a simple breakfast, today is for many people the highlight of our journey to Kibuye because it sees us paddle through Lake Kivu’s ‘Bay of Islands’ a beautiful setting unlike anywhere else in the country. If we did not visit Napoleon Island on Day 3, we will go there today, stopping to marvel at the bats that fight amongst themselves for the best roost. We then ‘island hop’, perhaps stopping off for a swim in the crystal clear and impressively clean, fresh water to cool off.
Before reaching Kibuye, we may call in for lunch on Amohoro (Peace) Island, where there will be time to contemplate just how special the past few days have been. Then, in the afternoon it’s just a short paddle to Bethany or Cormoran Lodge where we finish.