Rwanda is popular as the Land of a Thousand hills and today features as one of the best safari destinations in Africa. Gorilla trekking features as the major safari highlight in most of the visitors’ travel plans. However, there are also several incredible things that one can take part while on an African safari in this remarkable country. It covers parts of the scenic Lake Kivu and the Congo Nile trail is that one incredible trail that takes you through a memorable adventure in the country side while on the bike, hike and many others.
The Congo Nile Trail is situated along the coast of Lake Kivu and stretches to cover the northern Rubavu district to the southern Ruzizi district crossing via Rutsiro, Nyamasheke, and Karongi. Gisenyi which is a capital of the Rubavu district, on the other hand, is the starting point for this trail although trekkers can start it at any point.
For visitors who are interested in exploring this trail, you need about 10 to hike or 5 days for those who wish to embark on biking tour then for kayaking, about 8 days. In most cases, instead of visitors making a complete journey once, they prefer breaking it down just to have much fun. While on this trail, you enjoy the panoramic views over the scenic Lake Kivu coastline, tea fields, and routine Rwandan life.
Note that Rwanda is remarkably safe for any one who wishes to take part in this trail and you can easily complete it even when you are alone. In case you don’t have enough time to embark on a solo trip, then the best is for you to deal with a recognized tour operator who then will help customize hiking or biking experiences with guides, cooks, porters. Most importantly, most of the tourism information centers in Rwanda are fully stocked with a detailed map of the whole trail.
While on biking trip or hike, there are about 8 official campsites around the trail for you to spend a night beside the many guesthouses which are also found along the way. Perhaps you are on a budget and need to some cash, there are camps within the banana plantations. The campgrounds are clearly marked on the trail map and are generally famous in the surrounding place.
Whereas those who may be in need of a warm shower and some respite while on the trail the best place for you is Emeraude Kivu Resort, Kinunu guesthouse, cormoran lodge, Rushel Kivu lodge as well as Paradis Malahide which all provide luxury accommodation. Besides, there are also many lodges along the way for you to make the best use of.
Besides the trail, there are many activities for one to engage in on way or while out of the Congo Nile. You can embark on tea and coffee excursions, for instance, there is Huye Mountain Coffee and Pfunda tea plantation which can be reserved for you early enough as well as paying visits to markets, beachside naps, nature walks a mention but a few.
You can also take part in gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park which is situated in northwestern Rwanda as well as volcano hikes, birding. Other things to do in Volcanoes National Park include golden monkey tracking, Iby’iwacu cultural village, community tours, Twin lakes tour and adventurous hike to tombs of Dian Fossey.
For primate lovers, Nyungwe Forest National Park is that one stunning park in Rwanda where you can encounter several primate species including chimpanzees, the black and white colobus monkeys, red colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, olive baboons a mention but a few.
For huge game viewing, visit Akagera National Park located in Eastern part of the country, 3-hour drive from Kigali. Main activities include a boat cruise on Lake Ihema, birding, and big game viewing to see animals like Elephants, Buffaloes, Zebras, Giraffes, lions and Rhinos among others including several antelope species.
When to go?
Rwanda enjoys incredible weather conditions with favorable temperatures. The wet/rainy season, on the other hand, tends to be more challenging for one to embark on a trip in this trail. The dry season is usually ideal as there minimal rainfall amount received compared to the rainy season when there is plenty of rainfall.
The Congo trail is Rwanda’s new developments and officially launched at the end of 2009 making it few unique tourism products in this magical country. It covers about 227 kilometers and allows you to explore the breathtaking landscape in the rural side of Rwanda. In addition, you have a chance to sight at various bird species especially the black-headed herons, white-breasted cormorants, white-tailed blue flycatchers, and many others.