Rwanda
Gisenyi

Here you’ll find travel reports about Gisenyi. Discover travel destinations in Rwanda of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

4 travelers at this place:

  • Day5

    Waking up to the sound of torrential rain was an ominous start, breakfast was later - an easy day - although that would have rapidly changed had the weather not. It did and by the time we set off it was damp, but clear.
    42 miles total - 21 miles up hill and 21 miles down (that was the quick bit), the bad news is that tomorrow we have to climb up the bit we came down today - not so quick I fear!
    A short day meant we arrived at Lake Kivu about 1230. It's a seaside (ok lakeside) town and being Sunday everyone was out enjoying themselves - with the few weddings thrown in. A quick walk to the DR Congolese border and a stroll along the beach to take in the sights. All very pleasant!

    Jeremiah 29:11

    11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
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  • Day45

    True Relax day

    February 15, 2016 in Rwanda

    After our not so relaxing relax day from yesterday, we made up for it today!

    Jack and I decided to separate for the first time since we got here (except the couple hours Jack spent alone in Addis when I wasn't eating). She wanted to do a tea factory tour, and I wasn't that interested. We decided a bit of time apart isn't a bad idea. I got to just walk around Gisenyi and walk down the beach, enjoy some quiet solo time. To be honest, for me, it just confirms that I'm not that great with solo traveling. I don't get enjoyment out of doing it alone, I like the company. I'm not outgoing enough to just meet people along the way. So I checked out the town, mapped out where I wanted to prep our picnic lunch date, and headed back home for a peaceful tea and reading.

    Jack unfortunately didn't get to do her tour afterall. She got there successfully with the minibuses but apparently the factory was closed for the day. At least that's what the security guard could gather in English. Little did I know she was back in town after just an hour.

    Meeting at our hotel at our agreed upon time, we went to the local market to gather our lunch - salad, fruit salad, and chapatis! It was too easy, no one in Rwanda has set foreigner prices on us... All fairly priced produce. Drop by the supermarket (which is what they call their do it all corner stores) and off we go! Incredibly peaceful, waterfront, waves and birds being heard, Valentine's day lunch. Again, only thing missing is hand holding and steeling kisses.

    I lied about the birds. It sounds like birds which makes it sound better. It's bats. Tons of them. I don't get it, I thought they liked the dark, but there's hundreds of bats hanging upside down in the trees above us. It's kind of cool. I've got batman imagery in my mind... Lol.

    We took the lunch as an opportunity to "check in" with each other. Open and honest communication y'all! I finally got to articulate why it is I'm so impressed with myself here, and I'll try to do the same for you all.

    Over the last few years, I've seen my anxiety worsen. Situations that would not have affected me in the past have started to make my heart race, to keep my up at night, making my mind go over and over possible outcomes, making me react inappropriately to situations, to make me doubt doing certain things, or stop myself entirely from certain experiences. I've travelled long term in the past, but it's been a few years since I've left the country for longer then a few weeks. I thought my increased anxiety would translate to my needing certain comforts. That I would have a stricter limit on how long I could be put in uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations before my body or mind gives out. I thought I could no longer tolerate, as well as I used to, not knowing where I was staying or going. All these preconceived notions about my anxiety is why I'm so impressed with myself today. I have been in uncomfortable situations, I don't have my usual comforts or support system from home. I don't get to go home and hide for a few days when I'm overwhelmed, and yet, I'm doing great! I'm eating all kinds of new foods (as you now know, my anxiety is closely related to my ability to eat), I'm staying in all kinds of accommodation (including homestays), and leaving towns and arriving in towns with no set plans or need to set plans, I'm doing great. And I'm proud. I just thought I'd share this proud moment of mine. :)
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  • Day44

    What's with the name changes?

    February 14, 2016 in Rwanda

    Alright Rwanda, pick a name already! Honestly, except for Kigali, the capital, every town we've visited has changed their names either in recent years (so it shows as both options in lonely planet) or in the last year. For the most part, we've been attempting to explain where we want to go, plan buses, ask questions about towns, all of which we are referring to in the wrong name! The worst part is when taking the bus, because there's so little English, communication starts with us expressing where we want to go, and them telling us how much, and they hand over the ticket. The destination is written on the ticket. The following towns, all of which we travelled to, were written on the ticket as a name we didn't recognize :

    Huye was now Butare
    Gikongoro was now Nyamagabe
    Kibuye was now Karongi
    Gitarama was now Muhanga
    Gisenyi was now Rubavu
    Ruhengeri will be Musanze after tomorrow. That one we looked up!

    So for example, we were headed to Kibuye yesterday. We asked for Kibuye, they give us a ticket written Karongi. We confirm with the ticket lady that we are going to Kibuye, not Karongi, and she says "yes yes Kibuye". So off we went. We also confirm with the guy checking tickets on the bus "Kibuye not Karongi" to which he responds "Kibuye Kibuye". We arrive at the town of Karongi, as indicated by many signs, and a lady next to us tells us to get off. We were so confused, especially since our book said it would be a 5 hour bus ride and it had only been 2.5 hours (but as you've read, our Lonely Planet has been terrible for Rwanda, it's like they never came to do the research). At this point there's about 5 people telling us to get off, none of which have enough English or French to explain why, and the bus driver who is supposed to signal to us when we're there, drives off. Jack and I are still so confused. The people around us yell at the driver to stop, and finally a lady turns to me and says "change name, Kibuye now Karongi". Ah ha! English! So we get off. Turns out, they all changed names! Now we know to ask all possible names so we can avoid this in the future.

    Yesterday and today were a mix of transportation and relaxing. We stood at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere waiting for a bus for about an hour yesterday, getting us to Kibuye, a town of lounging and enjoying the scenery. There's apparently a beach somewhere, but about 2 feet wide of thick grainy sand, so we just went for a walk and enjoyed the green everywhere. Even the ride over was gorgeous! Field after field of green farming perfectly squared off. We stayed at a church of course, Home Saint Jean, where the room was clean and cheap! It was at the very tip of a little peninsula on the lake, perfect location and amazing views for 6000RFr for the night (10.90$C). Coming home on Saturday afternoon, we heard 3 different choirs practising for tomorrow. It was a beautiful and serene atmosphere.

    We walked around town, stumbling upon a market yesterday. Jack had a craving for guacamole the other day, so we challenged ourselves to make some! Got what we needed at the market, borrowed the tools from the restaurant at our hotel, and voilà! Some pretty decent guacamole, not that I eat it, ew avocado, but Jack liked it! :)

    We debatted if we should stay a second night to just laze around, but decided to make our way to Gisenyi (Rubavu now), a very similar low key water front town. We were told the transit time was 3 hours, which is easy, plenty of time to relax at both towns. Turns out, we left at 1pm and arrived here at 830pm. Yep, not so relaxing of a day after all. Our second bus was supposed to take 3 hours and it took over 4.5. He kept stopping at all the towns but then waiting there... Who knows for what. And of course no one had the English or French to try and explain the ridiculous delays. So we wait. Jack likes to remind me that the lack of communication only confirms that we really are somewhere where we are the minority, we have the true opportunity to see Rwanda as Rwandans do. There are so few tourists here, it's impressive. Untainted land to discover.

    We still managed to finish on a high note, walking over to our chosen accommodation, settling into our room (Presbyterian Church this time!), going out for some local food and having a drink. We're planning a picnic on the beach for lunch tomorrow as our on little valentine's day date. We'll see how that goes!

    -----

    Travellers we met along the way have said Rwanda is very safe. I didn't understand what they were comparing it to, or why, but that's what people said. Turns out, at night, even if it's dark out, you do have a sense of safety - people are still walking around, no one appears to hesitate around each other no matter the time of day... We met an Indian man who lives in Kigali who said he tried living in Kampala before settling in Kigali but choose to leave because he couldn't walk around at night. Here, he can. And I get it.

    I also have this odd, undescribable impression of Rwanda that I will now attempt to form into words... The people still all seem to be mourning... Or if it's not mourning, there's a certain lack of liveliness... It's all quite somber, or maybe more reserved. Yes people will say hi to you, they will giggle and stare, but as a general feeling, it seems somber. I absolutely loved my few days in Uganda because their people were all so smiley and welcoming and open to attempt communication, even if it's without words, there's happiness and liveliness all around. I don't have that same feeling in Rwanda. Like I said, hard to explain. I wonder if what used to be mourning is now almost a cultural trait, a way of life learned through sadness...
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  • Day54

    Gisenyi

    November 3, 2016 in Rwanda

    Gisenyi lê teenaan die grens met die Demokratiese Republiek van die Kongo. Alice bly agter in Gisenyi by ons hotel, Discover Rwanda Gisenyi Beach, vir die naweek terwyl ek in die Kongo gaan vulkaanklim en gorillas kyk in die Virunga- nasionale park. Aandete: avokado en vetkoek...

You might also know this place by the following names:

Gisenyi, جيسايني, Γκισένι, ギセニ, 기세니, Gisenjis, Гисэньи, Гисеньи, 吉塞尼

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