Our land of a thousand hills is an excellent destination for off-the-beaten-track cycling, with almost endless trails and roads criss-crossing the territory. Exploring Rwanda’s countryside on a bike is an authentic and rewarding way to interact with the rural population, with a huge dose of natural beauty.
Arguably the greatest route is the Congo Nile Trail, a 227km itinerary which runs roughly parallel to the eastern shore of Lake Kivu. Starting in Rubavu and ending in Rusizi, the journey takes about five days, although it is possible to do single stages for those with less time or dedication.
The specialist operator can create bespoke itineraries along the trail, as well as other locations including Kigali and Musanze. Green Zest Travels organises a 10-day tour of the country.
Exploring the coastline of Lake Kivu by kayak is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the scenery, gazing up at the mountainous backdrop from the tranquility of the water.
Birds dart in and out of the bushes whilst fisherman mend their nets on the shore in the daytime. At sunset, the local fishermen paddle out in unison, their rousing song carrying across the water, to return the next morning with their catch.
The clear, clean lake has an irregular shoreline, with plenty of sandy beaches, as well as little islands to investigate. There are no hippos or crocodiles, making for safe paddling.
Various waterside hotels have water sports equipment, including Cormoran Lodge and Moriah Hills, both in Karongi, as well as Serena Hotel in Rubavu.
Green Zest Travels organises dedicated excursions, ranging from a couple of hours to two to three days. Highlights include a sunset kayak with the singing fishermen and exploring the coffee islands, with an overnight stay on a plantation.
Green Zest Travels also offers stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Kivu and canoeing along the Mukungwa River in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes, an area abundant with birds.
No experience is needed and whilst there are trips running almost every day, it’s a good idea to book in advance.