Weekend Getaway to Gisenyi

Are you looking for a family getaway this weekend? Gisenyi offers an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Kigali. Take some time to relax, eat delicious food and maybe even hit up a happy hour. Today I will take you through my itinerary from this past weekend at Lake Kivu and help get you started on planning your next weekend vacay!

Firstly, there are many hotel options to pick from in Gisenyi. We decided to stay at the beautiful Inzu Lodge, whose mission is to provide ecological accommodations and a unique tourism experience while respecting Rwanda’s traditions and which will also benefit the local community. Inzu Lodge is also fully committed to eco-sustainability. Currently they have:

  • Fully eliminated single-use plastic water bottles by providing free filtered water.

  • Composting toilets and showers with water-saving systems.

  • Beeswax wraps in the kitchen and stainless steel straws for served beverages.

At Inzu you are covered by nature, high up from the lake with an unbeatable view of Gisenyi. Their open-air restaurant has a diverse and delectable menu, and during happy hour they offer 500 rwf off cocktails. Their restaurant also has a children’s area with toys and books to keep your kids happy, so you can take a breather by swinging on the hammock with a cocktail in hand.

If, instead of glamping, you are looking to stay in a hotel, there are many nice options in Gisenyi. To name a few, you can look into the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Nirvana Heights Hotel & Spa, Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel, Stipp Hotel, or the Hill View Hotel. Nirvana Heights was right next door to Inzu, so we went to use their pool. The fee was 4,000 rwf per person, and their food was delicious and very nutritious. I would highly recommend heading to Nirvana Heights for a pool day.

From all my friends, I heard that Calafia Cafe was the place to eat in town, so we went to check it out for brunch. Started by two Californians, this cafe brings California-Baja cuisine to the coastline of Lake Kivu. They even have a full playground, a reading room, and their own garden where they grow vegetables for their menu and the community. As a California-native myself, I can not wait to go back and get more fish tacos while enjoying the calming, beach-vibes atmosphere the cafe provides.

When you head back to Kigali, make sure to stop in Musanze for lunch and enjoy the view of the Virunga Mountains, or grab a snack in Nyirangarama to eat on the road like the locals do. Happy traveling!

Here are some local family-friendly activities:

Kayaking - Kingfisher Journeys

+250 783 811 918

Stand-Up Paddleboarding- Kingfisher Journeys

+250 783 811 918

Rebavu Public Beach

Bordering Serena Hotel and the Discover Rwanda Hostel
Ave de la Cooperation, Gisenyi

Friendly Note: Read up on bilharzia in Lake Kivu as you prepare your trip.

10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

Planning summer travels with your family? Make your trip as smooth and as fun as possible for parents and children alike with these 10 travel tips.

10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

There's nothing worse than rushing, except maybe, rushing with toddlers in tow. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, pack the car, or leave the house. Kids usually don't react well to time pressure during travel so everyone is more likely to stay calm and cool if you leave time for things like bathroom breaks, naps and tantrums.

2. Do your research

What visas do you need? Are your passports still valid? Are there any vaccinations required or recommended for your destination? Avoid last minute travel fiascos by planning ahead and doing plenty of research on your destination. Even if you're not leaving the country, you'll want to research stops for a long car ride and pack appropriately for the weather.

3. Plan family friendly activities, but don't go overboard

While you're doing your pre-trip research, you'll want to plan activities that the whole family will love. It's important to keep your children entertained, but don't go overboard with planning every single minute of your trip. You'll want to be prepared, but flexible and keep in mind that often time, activities and travel take longer than expected when you're traveling with children. 

In addition to a list of activities at your destination, you'll want to plan a few games or activities that can keep kids entertained in case of delays at the airport or train station or a long traffic jam on the road.

4. Beat Jet Lag

Traveling out of the country and into a new time zone? Parents and kids are susceptible to the woes of jet lag but there are a few ways you can help beat it and get some much needed rest. Stay active during your trip and step out into the sunlight. Resist the urge to spend your entire trip sleeping and try to adjust your mealtimes and sleep schedules to the new time zone. When your kids do sleep, try to do the same. Otherwise you may be up all day and all night when your kids give you a 2AM wake up call.

5. Pack Medicine

While you should be able to find most medical essentials while traveling, it's much easier to carry around a small first aid kit with things like bandages, antihistamines, painkillers, or other medicines your family might need on your trip. This will save you time and stress knowing you have all your familiar medicines on hand just in case. Be sure to also pack any required medicines like prescriptions or antimalarials.

6. Document the journey

Take lots of photographs and if your kids are old enough, encourage them to do the same! You can also give them a small travel journal to draw or write about things they see during your trip. It's also the perfect place to tuck mementos like ticket stubs or postcards.

7. Stay safe

Make sure you have the numbers for emergency services on hand in case something should happen during your trip. Depending on your nationality, you may also want to register your overseas travel with the local embassy or consulate of the country you are traveling to. Another big safety reminder is to always travel with children in the proper car seats or booster seats. This may mean packing your own or renting one at your destination, but remember that dangerous car accidents can happen even at slow speeds and the perks of carrying less baggage are never worth the risks of a baby traveling without a car seat.

8. Let the kids help pack

You'll want to do the majority of the packing for your trip to make sure nothing important gets left behind and that everyone is dressed appropriately. However, involving kids in the packing stage can ensure they have a few items they'd like to keep themselves entertained during the trip and also helps get them excited about upcoming travels.

9. Pack snacks

Avoid hungry, grumpy kids. Pack your own snacks. This will save you stress during delays and in case your child is completely unwilling to try something new at meal time.

10. Have fun!

You want to make sure that your kids have a great time, but don't forget about yourself! Stay calm, flexible, and remember that the journey is part of your adventure. 

Top 10 Places to Visit in Namibia with Kids

Looking for a new adventure in Africa with the family? Today Ana Corel from Family Corel Adventures shares one of her favorite destinations to help you plan your trip to Namibia.

If you enjoy unspoiled nature, want to see African animals in the wild on one of the most affordable safaris in Africa and to take a glimpse in the traditional tribal life, then Namibia is the destination for you! Beautiful landscapes and rich wildlife are available to enjoy, but the real treasure of this country are its people. They simply give your visit a very special touch.


Is Namibia safe to travel with young kids? Definitely. As for every other family trip in a foreign country you need to do some preparation.

In my quick travel guide to Namibia you can find some useful information, advice and travel tips to help you organize a trip to this amazing country. You can also check my Namibia itinerary to have an idea how much time we spent on a specific place.  

These are the best places to visit in Namibia with kids. If you are traveling solo, in a group or as a couple.



Sossusvlei might be the most photographed place in Namibia. It’s definitely the most photographed desert in the world. This landscape is just so special - the red sand dunes are one of the tallest dunes in the world. When you pass Sossusvlei and the road turns into sandy path, there is a bizarre and very beautiful place, Deadvlei. From the end of sand path it takes half an hour walk to get to these salt pans between dunes with hundreds of years old tree skeletons, It’ so photogenic you should add it to your bucket list now!

We stayed 2 days in the Sesriem Rest Camp. It's a great place to stay if you want to see the famous dunes of Sossusvlei at sunrise and not spend a fortune. The campsite is basic but well maintained. At night you can get visits of oryx and springboks during the day.

Sossusvlei - Deadvlei.jpg



Etosha is the largest game reserve in Namibia and the best thing about it is that you can see it from your own vehicle. You get a map of the park with the water holes where animals gather to drink and then you can explore the park by yourself. You can find all kind of African wildlife species, including some of the rarest ones like the endangered black rhino, the largest elephants in Africa and leopards.

We stayed 2 days and camped in three main campsites in Etosha – Halali, Namutoni and Okaukuejo, depend of what part of the park we were visiting. Each camp has tourist facilities such as a restaurant, a shop, a motor garage for fuel and basic repairs.




Spitzkoppe is a dramatic place with its granite peaks that rise from the dry flat plains, amazing views over the stunning landscape and caves with petroglyphs made by ancient San people (Bushmen) that lived in them. You can discover arches, natural pools and wander among the rock formations by day, and by night, there will be a million stars sky that you can observe above you.

We stayed 2 days at Spitzkoppe campsites, very basic, but with stunning atmosphere and views and very easy to reach attractions.




Kolmanskop is a ghost town in the heart of Namib desert. It was abandoned by its German inhabitants 60 years ago, when the diamond mine nearby ran out of diamonds. After that, nature did it’s job properly - broke the windows and the door frames and let the sand go inside. These incredible, once rich houses are now sunken into sand, and available for visitors to explore.

We took a couple of hours to visit Kolmanskop and stayed in Luderitz at The Shark Island Rest Camp. The Camp has a great location, on the peninsula just by the ocean - we could watch dolphins playing around from our tent!




Many visitors of Namibia just skip the southern part - we are not sure why, because it’s very interesting.

There are huge private ranches that are typical for this part of the country. The vast, incredibly dry landscape and unbelievable views are all around. The roads that lead to the ranches are dusty, with mountains on both sides. You can spot oryx or ostriches running along the road. But once you reach the ranch, there is a green oasis waiting for you, with all kind of animals everywhere.

We stayed 2 days at the lovely Ranch Koiimasis, a picturesque place placed among granite rocks on the edge of Namib desert. There were bunch of horses, guinea fowls, ostriches, geese and ducks between reception and our campsite.




Cape Cross is home to one of the largest colony of seals in the world. It’s a protected area with over 100.00 seals, which makes a spectacular view. You can get very close to them and watch them hanging on the beach, swimming, barking, crawling into the sea, puppies playing.

We spent a couple of hours here.



On some ranches in Namibia visitors have the opportunity to interact with tamed animals that have their homes on ranches and farms. The scheduled cheetah feedings or game drives to view wild cheetah are the highlights of visiting.

We spent 1 day at Quivertree Forest Rest Camp, a working farm just outside Keetmashoop. Near the camp are the Quivertree Forest and Giants Playground that are well worth a visit as well.




Epupa Falls are situated on the border of Angola and Namibia, where Kunene river falls 35 m deep. The setting is spectacular. There is a viewpoint nearby at the Epupa Falls Lodge and Campsite where you can view the beauty of the falls and baobabs on the edge of the cliffs. Even if some people say that bathing in the natural pools of the river is OK, we were told that on this part of the river crocodiles kill around 30 people per year. 

We stayed 2 days at Epupa Falls Lodge and Campsite that has a great location among the tall palm trees on the banks of Kunene river and beautiful views over the falls from the restaurant.




The upper reaches of the Okavango Delta are totally different than any other part of Namibia. There is a lot of water and vegetation everywhere. You can spot crocs and hippos and if you take a boat you can get a little bit close to them. In the dry season you can see also other big animals on the river banks.

We stayed 2 days at Ngepi Camp, situated on the banks of Okavango river. It has amazing and award winning camping spots and fascinating outdoor toilets and showers. There is a crock pool too - a floating swimming pool in the river and the world’s first “croc and hippo cage dive”.

Okavango river.jpg



There are many tribes in Namibia, each different than the other. Depending of the environment they live in, they have different ways of life, ways of dressing and hairstyles. We loved having authentic interaction with local people and tribal people of Namibia. They were great to talk to and it was great to see their everyday life. We visited villages of the San, Himba and Hakaone people. Those were the moments and experiences that we will never forget.

We suggest to stay 2 days at a tribal village. It’s so different than spending only an hour - you get closerto the villagers. We visited the Himba tribes near Purros and near Epupa Falls. The Hakaone tribe we visited on our way from Epupa Falls to Opuvo. The San people we visited near Tsumkwe.

Hakaone village2.jpg