Rubavu (Formerly Known As Gisenyi)
There are a number of towns along the shores of Lake Kivu, but very few boast the uniqueness of Rubavu. Formerly known as Gisenyi, Rubavu is a gorgeous resort space situated triangularly between Karongi and Musanze, an area surrounded by picturesque lakes and dramatic rocky cliffsides. It is currently the fifth largest town in Rwanda, and is home to an array of upmarket hotels and tropical beach resorts, making it the perfect leisure escape from the hectic capital of Kigali. In downtown you will find avenues of shady palm trees and buildings showcasing a mixture of architectural styles, and if you’d prefer to stay somewhere a little more energetic, the lively upper area offers night spots and popular restaurants.
Address: Rubavu, Rwanda
Although Ngororero is not typically featured in many guide books, this tiny Rwandan town exudes a beautiful charm and has an historical significance which should not be missed. At an altitude of 1760km, Ngororero its conveniently situated on the road from Musanze to Muhanga. The small district is surrounded by picturesque hills and has become a site of both cultural and historical importance; in 1994, in the former MRND palace here, 14,500 Tutsis were burned alive, making the site one of the most significant genocide memorials outside the capital of Kigali. Of further historical significance, the hilltop of Umukore, an area about 12 kilometers away from the town’s marketplace, was once the royal residence for one of Rwanda’s most powerful kings, Mwami Kigeli IV. It was here that the King hosted the explorer Gustav Adolf von Götzen, a man who would later become the German governor of East Africa, and this was a gathering which marked the first official meeting between a European and a Rwandan king. Today the town is better known for hosting a gigantic and vibrant multi-level market, open most days of the week.
Address: Ngororero, Rwanda
Since 2006 Huye has been renowned as Rwanda’s cultural center. Formerly known as Butare, the town was renamed Huye after a local mountain, and it is a place which was founded during the early colonial era as a center for learning in East Africa. And, succeeding in its vision, today Huye boasts the greatest number of students on the continent. The most prominent attraction of the town aside from the university is the National Museum of Rwanda, and there are also several engaging religious sites here, including a huge and beautiful cathedral. Don’t miss the spectacular surrounding countryside, a lush space which is home to interesting cultural spectacles including the Huye Tinnery, a church established by a Benadictine monk, and Kibeho, the place where alleged visions of the Virgin Mary can be experienced.
Address: Huye, Rwanda
Karongi is the capital of the western province of Rwanda, and is one of the most beautiful of the three major lakeside ports in the country. It is easily accessible from Kigali, and many city dwellers venture to Karongi for weekend beach retreats. And it is easy to see why, given the sweet-smelling hills lined with eucalyptus and pines, and the area’s overall appearance denoting a French hillside rather than an East African landscape. The rolling greenery and peaceful ambiance here enrich Karongi with an idyllic atmosphere, and one of the top things to do when here is relax by the lake under one of the tall, overhanging trees.
Address: Karongi, Rwanda
Despite being the second largest town in Rwanda, Muhanga is a spot often missed by tourists, and isa space characterized by quaint colonial buildings and thick, bushy vegetation. This is a great place to get a taste of authentic, tribal Rwandan life, with many of the rural settlements here offering the opportunity for visitors to enter into their communities and take part in local practices. The perfect spot in which to experience Rwandan culture in a meaningful, thought-provoking way, one of the best known companies running settlement trips is Azizi Life, an organization committed to illustrating the precious African culture of the region.
Address: Muhanga, Rwanda
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.