7 Days Congo Nile trail hiking

Tour Overview

The Congo Nile Trail is a 227km long popular trail destination for hikers and mountain bikers eager to discover Rwanda’s diverse landscapes, cultures, and wildlife. The trail derives its name from the watershed that separates the Congo and Nile rivers and it is done along the shores of Lake Kivu on the Rwanda side stretching from the northern shores in Gisenyi and ending in the Southern shores of Rusizi District. Depending on the mode of transport, this trail hike can take up to 10 days to complete.

Tour Highlights

  • Day 1: Arrival in Kigali and briefing and city tour
  • Day 2: Transfer to Rubavu (Gisenyi)
  • Day 3: Rubavu (Gisenyi) to Cyimbiri
  • Day 4: Cyimbiri to Kinunu
  • Day 5: Kinunu to Bumba
  • Day 6: Bumba to Karongi
  • Day 7: Karongi to Kigali

Day by Day Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kigali and briefing and transfer to Rubavu

Upon arrival in Kigali, you will be received by a tour guide who will transfer you to your hotel and give you a briefing about the trail. You will have lunch at your hotel and then take a tour of Kigali city where you will visit the Genocide memorial centre and learn more about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the genocide of 1994. You will then head back to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Serena hotel Kigali (Luxury), Hotel des Mille Collines (Mid-range) or Quiet Haven Hotel (Budget)

Day 2: Transfer to Rubavu (Gisenyi)

After an early morning breakfast, you will set off for Gisenyi which is a 6-hour drive from Kigali and have lunch at your booked hotel. In the afternoon you can do a community tour then have dinner at your hotel and rest.

La Corniche Hotel (Budget)

Day 3: Rubavu (Gisenyi) to Cyimbiri

This first stage begins some 7km south of Rubavu (formerly Gisenyi) in Rubona. From the starting point after the Bralirwa Brewery, you ride overland to the agricultural village of Rwinyoni. Early birds enjoy the sunrise lighting up the lake shores.
The trail concludes at Cyimbiri Guest House, nestled lakeside amidst coffee plantations and lush greenery. Midway, participants can engage in various community-based activities, such as traditional pottery, music, and immersive coffee and tea experiences. Accommodation options range from budget guesthouses to upscale four-star lodgings.

Cyimbiri Guest House (camping is also available)

Day 4: Cyimbiri to Kinunu

The 13.4 km Cyimbiri-Kinunu stretch begins with a traditional healing trail and showcases captivating landscapes. Within this phase, visitors can also partake in community-based tourism offerings like beekeeping, coffee encounters, and engaging with local women cooperatives for handcrafting experiences.
The next village is Nkora Fishing Village where you may see fishermen returning from the traditional overnight fishing and children playing in the lake. The trail then leads through coffee and banana plantations to Kinunu Center.

Kinunu Guest House, Rushel Kivu lodge

Day 5: Kinunu to Bumba

The Kinunu-Bumba trail provides hikers with awe-inspiring Lake Kivu scenes. This challenging but feasible phase offers opportunities for agro-tourism experiences with local communities. The route provides intriguing lake and valley views, coupled with occasional steep and demanding stretches.
After a wonderful ride on and above the shores of the Lake, interacting with the local communities and enjoying the scenic views, you pass a coffee washing station before you reach Musasa.
Soon after, the Musasa Homestay offers meals to bikers and hikers. Renowned for its yams crops and next on your trail are Coko Valley and the river by the same name. A steep climb to Bumba and the Congo-Nil Center makes you sweat as you conclude the day.

Bumba Base Camp, Dian Fossey Hotel

Day 6: Bumba to Karongi

The 15.9 km Bumba-Karongi segment marks the northern culmination of the Congo Nile Hiking Trail. Much less demanding physically, this beautiful alternative makes up for by-passing the Congo Nile Divide by bringing you much closer to the farming communities. Descend to Sure on a different track and continue through banana plantations to the sandy valley of Musaho.
Cross Muregeya River on a suspension bridge and climb gently out of the Valley up to the main road at Ryanyirakabano. Bend right to join the main trail coming down from the Congo Nile Divide and Mukura Forest for the final 16 kilometers to Karongi.

Accommodation: Livalana Hotel, Moriah Hill hotel, Karongi Lake view retreat

Day 7: Karongi to Kigali

After an early morning breakfast, you will have an opportunity to visit the museum of the environment. This smart museum is located in Kibuye and has information about energy sources and environmental impact of various fuel sources. Here you will also find a rooftop garden with a collection of native plants that are well defined with their traditional medicinal and other uses.
After the visit to the museum, you will have your lunch and then be transferred to Kigali to the airport for departure.

End of tour.


Tour includes

  • All mentioned activities on the itinerary
  • A professional tour guide
  • 4×4 safari vehicle
  • Meals mentioned on the itinerary
  • Park entry fees
  • All permits
  • Accommodation as per the itinerary

Package Excludes

  • Porter fees
  • Visas
  • Air tickets
  • Optional activities
  • Tips
  • Life insurance
  • Other drinks apart from water

Getting There

The trip will start from Kigali International Airport to Gisenyi to Cyimbiri to kinunu to Bumba to Karongi and you will be dropped off at Kigali International Airport.


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