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.