Gicumbi Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and more with this comprehensive travel guide to Gicumbi, Rwanda.

Introduction to Gicumbi

Gicumbi is a district located in the northern part of Rwanda, situated in the East African region. Known for its lush green hills, endless landscapes, and vibrant culture, Gicumbi offers a unique experience for visitors who are seeking an authentic travel experience.

In this comprehensive travel guide, we will explore the top places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and more, to help make your trip to Gicumbi one to remember.

List of Places to Visit in Gicumbi

Gicumbi is home to stunning scenery and natural beauty, as well as culturally significant attractions.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Rwamagana Cathedral: This grand cathedral was built in the early 20th century, and it is one of the oldest and most significant landmarks in Gicumbi.

  • Muhororo Genocide Memorial: An important reminder of the events of the Rwandan genocide, this memorial is a significant attraction for those seeking to learn about the country’s troubled past.

  • Icyobo Cultural Village: A unique attraction that offers insight into the traditional life and customs of the Rwandan people. Visitors can witness traditional dances, music, food, and more.

Natural Attractions of Gicumbi: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Volcanoes National Park: Located just outside Gicumbi, this national park offers visitors the opportunity to witness gorillas in their natural habitat.

  • Mount Sabyinyo: This inactive volcano provides breathtaking views of Gicumbi and beyond, and it’s a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts.

  • Rushubi Forest: A stunning forest that features unique plant and animal species, as well as beautiful waterfalls and streams.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Gicumbi

Gicumbi is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of hiking and biking trails throughout the region. Here are some of the top routes:

  • Gicumbi Hill Walk: A relatively easy 4-kilometer hike that offers stunning views of the city and its surroundings.

  • Rushubi Nature Trail: This 10-kilometer trail winds through Rushubi Forest and features stunning scenery and wildlife sightings.

  • Buhoro Loop Trail: A more challenging 15-kilometer route that offers breathtaking views of the region’s natural beauty.

Best Things to Do in Gicumbi: Activities and Tours

  • Gorilla Trekking: Witnessing gorillas in their natural habitat is a one-of-a-kind experience that can’t be missed.

  • Cultural tours: Discover the traditional life and customs of the Rwandan people with a cultural tour of one of the local villages.

  • Hiking and Biking: Explore the region’s natural beauty with a hiking or biking tour. Gicumbi offers a variety of trails that are suitable for all skill levels.

Week-Long Itinerary for Gicumbi

Day 1: Visit the Muhororo Genocide Memorial and learn about Rwanda’s history.

Day 2-3: Go on a gorilla trek in the Volcanoes National Park.

Day 4: Enjoy a cultural tour of the Icyobo Cultural Village.

Day 5-6: Hike or bike one of Gicumbi’s stunning outdoor trails, such as the Rushubi Nature Trail or the Buhoro Loop Trail.

Day 7: Relax and take in the stunning views of Mount Sabyinyo and the surrounding landscapes.

Food and Drink Scene of Gicumbi

Must-Try Dishes

  • Ugali and Beans: A traditional dish made with maize flour and beans, usually eaten as a hearty breakfast.

  • Isombe: A popular side dish made with cassava leaves and served with meat or beans.

  • Agatogo: A hearty stew made with several types of beans and vegetables.

Local Beverages

  • Urwagwa: A locally produced banana beer.

  • Ikigage: A sweet and refreshing drink made from Rwanda’s famous passion fruit.

Where to Stay in Gicumbi: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Gorilla Mountain View Lodge: A luxury lodge located near the Volcanoes National Park, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

  • Kinigi Guesthouse: A budget-friendly guesthouse that is popular among backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Virunga Hotel: A mid-range hotel located in the heart of Gicumbi, offering easy access to the city’s top attractions and outdoor activities.

What to Buy in Gicumbi: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Baskets: Rwanda is famous for its beautiful handwoven baskets, which make for a unique and authentic souvenir.

  • Coffee: Rwandan coffee is some of the best in the world, and there are many specialty coffee shops and markets throughout Gicumbi.

  • Traditional Clothing: Traditional Rwandan clothing is beautiful and distinct, and there are many local shops and markets where visitors can purchase authentic pieces.

Local Culture and Customs of Gicumbi

Rwandan culture is rich and diverse, and visitors should take the time to learn about its customs and traditions. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Greeting: It is customary to greet others with a handshake and a smile.

  • Dress Code: Rwandans value modesty, so visitors should dress conservatively, especially when visiting religious sites.

  • Eating Custom: It is customary to eat with your hands in Rwanda, and visitors should follow the lead of their hosts when it comes to dining etiquette.

Best Time to Visit Gicumbi

The best time to visit Gicumbi is during the dry season, which runs from June to September and December to February. This is the perfect time for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Gicumbi


  • Respect the local customs and traditions.

  • Try the local cuisine.

  • Take the time to learn about Rwanda’s history and culture.


  • Overshare personal details or ask invasive questions.

  • Dress inappropriately when visiting religious sites.

  • Take photos without asking permission first.

Safety and Health

Safety in Gicumbi

Rwanda is known for its low crime rate and high level of safety, and Gicumbi is no exception. Visitors should still take basic precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night.

Health in Gicumbi

It is recommended that visitors receive vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever before traveling to Gicumbi. Malaria is also present in the region, so visitors should take preventative measures, such as using mosquito nets and insect repellent.

Getting to Gicumbi: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Gicumbi

The closest international airport to Gicumbi is Kigali International Airport, which is located approximately 2 hours away.

Bus Stations Near Gicumbi

Gicumbi is well-connected by bus to other nearby cities and towns, such as Musanze and Ruhengeri.

Other Options

Car rental and private transportation options are also available.

How to Get Around in Gicumbi

Taxis, private cars, and motorcycles are all popular modes of transportation in Gicumbi. Visitors should negotiate prices before getting into a taxi or motorcycle hire.

Where to Go Next from Gicumbi: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Musanze: A city located just 45 minutes away from Gicumbi that is known for its outdoor activities and stunning scenery.

  • Akagera National Park: Rwanda’s largest national park, located approximately 4 hours away from Gicumbi.


Gicumbi is a unique and beautiful destination, offering visitors stunning natural scenery, a rich cultural history, and endless outdoor adventures. With this comprehensive travel guide, visitors can plan the perfect trip to Gicumbi, full of unforgettable experiences and memories.