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Kibuye is a city in western Rwanda on the shore of Lake Kivu — the surrounding area offers some stunning views of the lake. The new name is Karongi, most people still call it Kibuye though.


Boats on Shore - Kibuye (Karongi)
A Catholic church in kibuye

Kibuye is one of the districts with the least population density of 334 inhabitants per square kilometre (870/sq mi) as of 2012 census.

Tourism is one of the main economic sectors of Kibuye. Kibuye's location near Lake Kivu, the beautiful scenery and its many islands are the main draws. There are many resort and hotels which have been built recently outside the town of Kibuye, most on the shores of Lake Kivu.

Get in


When coming from Kigali, the section of the direct NR15 road from Muhanga is undergoing the much needed extensive reconstruction (as of 2023). The NR11 from Cyangugu to the south is in good condition (as of 2021).

  • 1 Bus station.

By bus from Kigali

  • Capital bus line runs from Kigali to Kibuye and back every hour on the hour. The trip will take you about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • A second option is to take a local bus (matatu) which costs the same amount as the more legitimate bus line Capital.

By bus from Gisenyi


1. Onatracom runs a bus from Gisenyi to Kibuye most everyday. The bus is extremely crowded and you often won't get a seat. However, with a price of only 2000 RWF it is great deal. The ride takes around 5 hours. From Gisenyi, the bus leaves at around 07:30. Get there well ahead of time if you want to have a seat.

2. A second bus line, Zam Zamu, runs a camper-bus looking bus service between Gisenyi and Kibuye. This bus leaves at around 11:00 or 12:00 and costs 3000 RWF. It is smaller and more comfortable than the Onatracom. The trip takes roughly the same amount of time though.

By bus from Cyangugu


By boat


It is supposedly possible to catch a ride from Gisenyi to Kibuye on the boat (Primus boat). This fleet of boats will run whenever there is a need to transport beverages from the Bralirwa bottling facility in La Brasserie (Gisenyi) to either Kibuye or Cyangugu.

  • There is a ferry from Kibuye going to Gisenyi. The ferry departs every Tuesday and Friday at 12:00. The cost of a ticket from Kibuye to Gisenyi is 2,500 RWF.
  • There is also a ferry from Kibuye going to Cyangugu . Te ferry departs every Wednesday and Sunday at 10:00. The cost of the ticket from Kibuye to Cyangugu is 3,500 RWF.

Get around

Map of Kibuye

Walking or taking a moto (motorcycle or scooter) are your options.

Moto prices:

  • From Kibuye town to most of the hotels listed should cost around 500 RWF.
  • From Kibuye town to KHI Nyamishaba - college campus with good internet and computers - 400 RWF.


Kibuye farming area near kibuye town
Lake Kivu
  • One of the most popular islands to visit in Karongi is Napoleon Island; a large island which is popular for hiking and for viewing one of Africa's largest colonies of straw-colored fruit bats which resides on the Island. Other islands in Karongi are Monkey Island which has a small population of vervet monkeys, and Amahoro or Peace Island which used to have a camping site.
  • Aerial view of Bethany Hotel B in Karongi
  • Night fishing is another popular pastime in Karongi. At night, fishermen sail on three wooden boats bound together by smaller poles and use gas lanterns to lure small Isambaza or Tanganyika sardines into their nets. Some fishermen allow tourists and other visitors to join them on their boats.
  • Visit the Genocide Memorial and Catholic Church at Home Saint Jean.
  • The Museum of Environment
  • 1 Bisesero Genocide Memorial. Since 2023, it's one of four memorials making up the UNESCO World Heritage Site Memorial sites of the Genocide: Nyamata, Murambi, Gisozi and Bisesero.


  • 1 Boat ride around Lake Kivu. If you book with local boatsmen instead of your hotel you might get half the price deal. Some take you to small nearby islands from where you can enjoy a nice view and see some monkeys. Please do not feed them. 15,000 RWF for one hour ride.
  • If you are not afraid of bilharzia, go swimming at the very small beach at the Moriah Hotel or across the street from Golf Eden Rock Hotel. The swimming is for free if you order something.
  • Go swimming anywhere for that matter.
  • Just take a walk around and enjoy the views of the lake, distant volcanoes, and many birds.
  • Visit the genocide memorial and Catholic church at the Home Saint Jean Hotel.



The Kigali Health Institute (KHI) has its smaller campus located in a part of Kibuye called Nyamishaba. The school offers the best internet access in town and the computers and internet are available for a nominal fee.

As of late June 2010, the price from Kibuye town to KHI/Nyamishaba is 400 RWF and will take approximately 5 minutes.



There is a local market everyday in Kibuye town. You can find local produce, used clothing, and lots of things from China.

If you are looking for more exotic (expensive) things - bread, spices, snickers, potato chips, etc., - go to the shops at the two gas stations in town. It is assumed that people who can pay for gas can also pay for expensive things.

There are some ATMs in town. Bank of Kigali have a machine that accepts all the common card types.



All hotels have a restaurant with decent food. Again, eating at the hotels will be more expensive than eating in Kibuye town at a local establishment. Prices range from 2,000 to 10,000 RWF.



The following prices are for most Rwandan bars around Kibuye town (as of late June 2010):

  • Goat brochettes will cost 300-400 RWF
  • Cooked potato will cost 100 RWF
  • Plate of fries will cost 400-500 RWF

Normally there is a lunch buffet available at some restaurants in town. Generally speaking, they cost around 800 RWF or around 1000 RWF if you chose to get a piece of meat with your meal.



All hotels listed under the hotel section (minus Saint Marie) offer drinks at slightly elevated rate and with a slightly better selection or variety than you'll find in Kibuye town. If you go into town you can find a number of local bars offering local prices for local beers - mainly Primus, Mutzig, Skoal and Turbo King.



A list of prices at local bars, shops and restaurants as of late June 2010:

  • Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, etc., costs 250 or 300 RWF
  • Small bottle of water: 300 RWF
  • Large bottle of water: 600 RWF


  • Mutzig: 800 RWF
  • Primus: 600 RWF
  • Skoal: 800 RWF
  • Turbo King: 1000 RWF


  • 1 Bethany Hotel A, +250784957945. Other Service Provided in Bethany Hotel A are: Free Wi-Fi Free, parking, Pool, Laundry service, Kid-friendly.


  • Saint Marie offers rooms from 3500 RWF a night. 250 08742303 or 250 03019526
  • 2 Home St. Jean (s ten-minute walk out of town on a hill beside the lake). A nice, church-run guest house with Wi-Fi and restaurant and bar, hot water, clean rooms, and a great 270 degree view of the lake. Take the 20,000 RWF rooms for the best view. 15,000-20,000 RWF, dorm beds 3000 RWF (as of 11/2015).
  • Light House Guest House. (downtown Kibuye). Double with own bathroom and TV. 10,000 RWF.
  • Mulberry Guest House (close to the old market and bus station), +250 72-6326290. Single/double with outside bathroom and net. 4,000/5,000 RWF.
  • Romantic Lodge (downtown Kibuye.). Double room with own bathroom. 10,000 RWF.
  • 3 Kivu Macheo Eco Lodge.


View from Home St Jean
  • The Best Western Eco Hotel (Downtown where the buses from Kigali stop.). Not related to the hotel chain. Has an outside restaurant in the garden with free Wifi. from 15,000 RWF (as of Dec 2013).
  • Moriah Hill Resort, +250 252 56 86 67. Probably the nicest (and most expensive) place to stay in Kibuye. US$100.

Golf Eden Rock

Bethanie A beautiful setting on the water with mediocre, inflexible service and decent food but poor wine selection. Swimming is possible directly from the hotel. There is no beach, only slimy rocks. Terraced rows of rooms with nice gardens and trees everywhere. Single room, self-contained, as of May 2012 is 15000 RWF -- or $28US, which is a terrible exchange rate of around 535 (whereas the hotel's exchange rate is 570 so just change your dollars first then pay for the room)..

Holiday Inn (not affiliated with the chain)

As of June 2010 you could get a room at most of these hotels - excluding the Moriah and Holiday Inn - starting at around 10 to 12,000 RWF. All hotels have a view of Lake Kivu, with Bethanie, Moriah and Holiday Inn being directly on the water.



English/French language broadcasts are available from BBC World Service in Kibuye/Karongi on 93.3MHz.

Stay safe




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This city travel guide to Kibuye is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.