Gisenyi, Part 1

A few weekends ago, I visited the town of Gisenyi, on the shores of Lake Kivu, with my friends Lis, Erin, James and Willy. Gisenyi is the slightly grungier, more party-oriented version of Kibuye, close to the Congolese border. Willy was kind enough to drive us the three hours or so out of Kigali (and, as per always, to stop an exorbitant amount of times for me to take photos along the way).

 Gisenyi is an exceptionally active place: kids were doing gymnastics across the beach, and there were hordes of people running along the streets from the early morning onwards.

The first afternoon there, we went on a boat trip around the lake, went to dinner, got in a minor car accident, went to a party on the shore, and fell asleep relatively early before being woken up at four in the morning by drunken tourists in the hostel—standard.

The next morning, we woke up and went for a short walk around the town.


Here in Rwanda, women often carry their babies strapped to their back with large swaths of fabric. Erin had mentioned wanting to carry a baby like that, and in typical (read: absurd) fashion, Willy asked a group of women if we could borrow the baby, and strap it to Erin. It was equal parts ridiculous, and adorable.

            Willy offered to bring us to a lake town with hot springs, and, in keeping with the theme of absurdity, Lis and I decided the most logical course of action would be to buy eggs to cook in the hot springs. There are pools of literally boiling water around the shores of the lake, presumably a consequence of Gisenyi being in such close proximity to the volcanoes in northern Rwanda. Likely owing to our over-eagerness, the eggs never fully cooked. Thought that counts, no?

Willy told us the children there offer massages to tourists, and both Erin and Lis ended up surrounded by children who scrubbed their hands and feet with weeds and hot water.

We then explored the town a bit with the local children before heading back to the main part of Gisenyi.

            We hung out on the lake for a few hours, shooting photos, reading and drinking disgusting amounts of coffee before setting off for Kigali again. (Many) more photos from the drive back to come.