Gisenyi and the neighbouring city of Goma across the border in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) lie on the shores of Lake Kivu. Both of these cities are located below Mount Nyiragongo – one of 37 active volcanoes worldwide and located in the DRC.
Much of our time here in Gisenyi it has been hidden by mist but yesterday we were able to see it on a boat trip out in the lake.
In the night the volcano looks even more impressive with it’s red halo formed by the reflection of light from its enormous lava lake on the clouds of steam above.
Nyiragongo is one of the world’s most active volcanoes at the moment and it’s lava lake is one of the largest.
On the Rwandan side of the border there seems little threat from this giant, but Goma has been affected as recently as 2002 with fast flowing lava streams leading to loss of life. Apparently the lava is so runny it can flow at 100kph. Thankfully for now the lava remains in the crater lake.
Pictures (not mine) can be seen here.
One effect that does occur on our side of the border is the presence of hot springs which we visited yesterday and form part of the next blog post.
We’re here for four days in the Discover Rwanda- Gisenyi Beach Hotel. We booked this place on a last minute deal with Expedia and we’re really pleased with our choice.
This old colonial house is part of a group of hotels run by the Discover Rwanda Group which is linked to AEGIS Trust a charity supporting the country following the 1994 Genocide. They also run the Youth Hostel where we stayed in Kigali and the Genocide Memorial in Kigali. From AEGIS’s own blog the following quotation
Through the Museum Cafe, the Museum Gift Shop and the Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel we offer beneficiaries career opportunities in various industries by providing training in high-demand areas such as tourism, customer care and the culinary arts. We are committed to providing top-level training in skills that will create the best career opportunities for our beneficiaries and put 100% of the proceeds back into Aegis’ continued work in Rwanda
This also applies to our location too. We’re in a family room with a great view overlooking the garden towards the beach.
Gisenyi Beach Hotel has a relaxed home from home feel. A place to chill and unwind.
Food is excellent and in the evening as it cools to a chilly 21°C (for us that is cool!) they light the open log fires.
The hotel is a stone’s throw from the beach, just beyond the palms which are alive to the chatters of the hundreds of fruit bats hanging in the branches. The noise is actually quite soothing as you drift into sleep.
The waters of Lake Kivu are warm and though the sand beneath makes the water brownish the lake is clean.
This second submission to this week’s photo challenge: Landscape fits in nicely with our Rwandan Travelogue so a combined post.
The journey North West from Kigali towards Gisenyi takes you up and up through the mountains. Well maintained throughout this road takes about three hours to travel and the scenery is breath taking. As you climb you come across terraced hills (coffee and/or tea plantations) and cultivated values. The road undulates but eventually reaches just under 2500m. The hills above are cultivated so that almost every square meter is given over to agriculture up to 3000m or so.
The roads are full of bikes some towed others walked and some ridden laboriously uphill but reaching great speeds on the downhill runs, heavy laden at 80km+.
Eventually a series of steep descents into the Rift Valley bring you to Lake Kivu and the town of Gisenyi (Rubavu).