The Congo Nile Trail on Lake Kivu shores covers a wide range of attractions, of which the most relevant one is the watershed separating two greatest African basins: those of the Congo and the Nile. The 227-km trail offers unique hiking or cycling opportunities through the impressive Rwandan landscapes, which provide habitats to a great variety of plants and birds.
The trail was launched in 2011 by Rwanda Development Board/Tourism Department as a new tourism product designed for adventure travellers with support from UNWTO, the World Tourism Organisation.
There are separate routes of the trail for those hiking and those biking. The routes still cross or overlap at many places. Both routes follow dirt roads and dirt tracks. Bikers will want to have a terrain bike.
Except for staff at hotels, people in rural Rwanda usually speak only Kinyarwanda and a few words of English, French or Swahili. Still, they often go out of their way to help you if there is a problem.
There are many plantations of tea and coffee by the trail, some of which offer tours. There are also banana plantations, and bananas are commonly eaten in a variety of dishes. In many villages, traditional handicraft, such as pottery and weaving, are important trades. Boat trips on Lake Kivu are possible in many places. You might be able to join on a fishing excursion. There are many beaches, where you can go swimming.
The trail passes by Nyungwe Forest National Park and Gishwati-Mukura National Park, which you might want to visit. These include rain forest that has been separated from the one once reaching from Congo to Burundi, early enough that endemic species have developed.
Eat and sleep
There are 8 base camps along the trail, which offer affordable accommodation and food. There are also several other accommodation and camping options.
Water, soft drinks and Primus (beer) is available
Fees and permits
No fee, no booking required, just rent a bike or hire a local guide