Are you an expat, an inhabitant of Goma or Bukavu or simply an adventure seeker looking for the most exceptional experience that will reward you with lifetime cultural activity in Eastern Congo? A weekend to visit Idjwi Island is all you need.
Floating out in the middle of Lake Kivu, a weekend to visit Idjwi Island, a 340 sq km, is one of the must do experience when visiting eastern Congo. Isolated from Congo’s decades of war, as well as missing out on what little development the mainland has seen, Idjwi is a wonderful place to escape the modern world, enjoy nature and the rich island culture. Lodging is available in small guesthouses and the speedboat between Bukavu and Goma stops there on request.
Because its landlocked, Idjwi islands is cut off from the rest of the country. However, the island has its own way of life, with a rich culture, diverse people whom main occupation is focused on agriculture and fishing.
Note: The price of this trip costs around 100 USD to 500 USD per person according to whether you are in a group or a solo traveler. The trip can be personalized (extended or reduced) upon request. Please contact us by filling the form to get in touch with a team of our travel specialists.
Departures and return
Ihusi Port (Goma or Bukavu)
Traveler pickup is offered can be offered from their respective homes or hotels.
Returns to original departure point at 2:30 PM
In the afternoon you will be picked from Ihusi Port in Bukavu or Goma depending on where you are coming from. The speedboat leaves à 3:00 pm to arrive 90 minutes later. As you arrive, you will be welcome by our team at Bugarula Port, show your passport to the immigration control officer and proceed to Hope Land Hotel for checking.
After a short briefing session, you will engage in the first activity of the day with women rocking the boat in unison while singing. Right after, you will go for the clay art making with Pygmies. Pygmies are the first inhabitant of sub-Saharan Africa; they are the minority on the Island and live primarily from clay art making. You will see how they do pottery from the beginning till the end of the process. It’s a practice which has been passed to generations for century and making the first economic activities of those first inhabitant of Idjwi island.
In the evening as you return to your hotel, story tellers will be waiting for you.
Historically a clan-based Bahavu society, Idjwi island became a kingdom in the late 18th century (roughly between 1780 and 1840). In 2013, the island was estimated to have a population of 252,000 people, mostly Havus, with a small Pygmy minority. This is a massive increase from the estimated population of 50,000 in 1983. You will hear lots of exciting stories with elders telling the story of Idjwi around the campfire in the evening.
After breakfast, you will go for an art and pottery activity with pygmies.
Take a brief pause enjoying breakfast at Hope Land made of fresh food and cooked by amazing chefs. This activity will give you the opportunity to interact with the first inhabitant of sub-Saharan Africa before the bantu migrate down from the North. The pygmies are the minority on the Island and they live primarily from clay art making.
Right after this, activity, proceed to the King’s palace of Rubenga Chiefdom. You will have the opportunity to meet the monarch of Rubenga who will bring you through a brief story of his chiefdom. He will also make you visit his cultural museum with an exposition of hundreds if not thousands of Rubenga’s cultural tools.
Return to your hotel to recharge energy with a lunch made of fresh food and cooked by experienced chef at Hope Land hotel.
In the evening, engage in some hiking as you visit the pineapple plantations. Idjwi island produces some of the World’s best pineapples. Cutting and tasting one, will be one of your memorable experiences on the Island.
Right after, you will end the day with cruising on majestic Lake Kivu enjoying the sunset. Cruising on this freshwater body will enable you to discover more on the Island. The ride will be made within a few meters of the lake, depending on the period and if lucky enough you could experience the full moon as if it was just above the vegetation on the shore of beautiful Lake Kivu. During the cruise, you will have the option if times allow to make a stop at the local markets to buy some fresh fruits / food and support the local economy in the Village.
Dinner and overnight at Hope Land Hotel
Right after an early breakfast, indulge in banana beer production to understand the chemistry about the process of brewing a local beer from bananas fruits. If you find the activity interesting enough, you can join the women in squeezing the juice out of the bananas and drink a glass of juice (Optional). Understand how long juice takes to turn into alcohol after adding in sorghum floor. Enjoy the big glass of our local brew.
Right after the experience, you will be dropped to Bugarula Port where the speedboat leaving Bukavu will pick you up at 12:30 PM to transfer you to Goma or Bukavu (a 90 minutes journey).
End of the trip