Kyanika border

Kyanika also known as Cyanika on the Rwanda side is the official land border crossing between Uganda and Rwanda, located in Kisoro district, south western Uganda. The administrative division of the Kyanika border is the Kyanika Town Council, which is part of the Kisoro district local administration system. On the Rwanda side, the Cyanika border is located in the Burera District, northern province.

The Kyanika border crossing is an essential driver for the growth of gorilla tourism in the Kisoro area. Much as it is less busy than the Katuna border post, the Kyanika border crossing takes in more tourists and individual travelers than the Katuna border post. Kyanika connects two major tourism hubs in East Africa. The Kyanika border point best serves travellers visiting the southern part of Bwindi National Park in Uganda and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

Immigration and visa processing at Kyanika border

Both Rwanda and Uganda have immigration offices at the Kyanika border. If you already have a visa, the process of verifying documents takes less time. If a visa is to be obtained at the border point, it is recommended to carry visa application fees USD in cash. A credit card might not be acceptable by the immigration office.

Tourist attractions near Kyanika border

Tourists traveling through Kigali airport in Rwanda can cross the Kyanika border and trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Lake Mutanda, famous for canoeing activities, is also a few kilometres from the Kyanika border as does the nearby Lake Chahafi.

Lake MutandaLake Mutanda is one of the most interesting lakes in Uganda located in the far southwestern part of Uganda. It is a small jewel, freshwater lake hidden in the mountainous landscape close to Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park in Kisoro district. Lake Mutanda is one of the most scenic lakes in Africa with dramatic landscape of lush and verdant sprawling highlands; it is drained by the Rutshuru River flowing northwards to Lake Edward.

Kyanika border
Gorilla Trekking in Mgahinga National Park

Bwindi impenetrable national park – Bwindi Impenetrable national park is well located at the rim of the western arm of the Great Rift Valley that is the Albertine rift valley in South western part of Uganda shared by the three districts of Kabale, Kisoro, and Kanungu. Bwindi impenetrable rainforest is one of the oldest remaining rainforests in Africa that have survived time throughout the last Ice Age and now the forest covers approximately 331 square kilometres with an altitude range between altitude between 1,160 meters and 2,607 meters. The park has a yearly average temperature ranging between 7° C and 20° C with the coolest time of the year being from June to July, the heaviest rains in March, April and November, the rest of the year is normally dry although given the topography  of the park as being mountainous, there are whether changes all the time in the forest.

Bwindi impenetrable national park has extensive biodiversity which supports the Eco-Tourism industry in Uganda. The forest is the main habitat to more than half of the total mountain gorilla’s population in the world making Uganda as the leading and main safari destination for Gorilla safari tours in Africa. The opportunity to meet this endangered creatures in-depth look into their appealing beautiful large eyes of these giant peaceful and shy animals is undoubtedly and confirmed as the most fascinating and unforgettable wildlife experience on a Uganda Safari. Bwindi impenetrable national park is home to more than 326 endangered mountain gorillas which is approximately half the total world’s mountain gorilla’s population in the world

Bwindi impenetrable national park is home to about 120 mammal species such as the bush elephants, 7 species of primates such as the black and white Colobus being the most prominent due to its characteristic beautiful curving white tail hence similarly making the park a thriving Uganda wildlife safari spot. Bwindi forest prides in about hosting 23 greatly localized endemic Albertine Rift species, 360 bird species and 200 species of butterflies, the Afro-montane rain forest possesses a thick undergrowth of shrubs, ferns plus vines and more than 324 species of trees recorded in which about 10 of cannot be found in any other part of Uganda thus making Bwindi a “must trek” for enthusiastic tourists. Hence ranking it among the finest bird watching or birding safari destination in the country. With that background, below are some of the attractions of Bwindi impenetrable national park.

Mgahinga gorilla national park – Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable national park are the one 2 national parks in Uganda for gorilla trekking experience. Both national parks are situated in the South-western Uganda close to the 2 borders of Katuna and Cyanika. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in bordered by Volcanoes National Park in North western Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is Uganda’s smallest protected area covering an area of about 33.7 square kilometres including all the three Virunga Conservation Areas and it was gazetted in 1991 as a national park after the relocation of the forest settlers before namely the Batwa. Mgahinga National Park is between altitudes 2,227 and 4,127 meters above sea level and offers protection to three of the spectacular Virunga Mountains that include Mount Muhavura which stands at 4,127 high, Mount Sabyinyo which is 3,645 meters high and Mgahinga at 3,474 meters high. Mgahinga derived its name from the Kinyarwanda word Gahinga meaning the “pile of volcanic Lava stone heaps where cultivation is conducted while as Sabyinyo means “old man’s teeth”, Muhavura meaning “Guide.”

Similarly, visitors to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park can travel to Rwanda from Uganda through the Kyanika border. Volcanoes National Park is about an hour’s drive from Kyanika. Tourists traveling to Virunga National Park to trek gorillas or hike Mount Nyiragongo in DR Congo connect through the Kyanika border if traveling from Uganda. The alternative route to Virunga National Park is the Bunagana border. Due to safety and security concerns in eastern DR Congo, the Kyanika-Musanze-Goma Grand Barriere route is preferred by tour operators.

Kyanika border
Mount Nyiragongo Hike

Kyanika is about 120km from Kigali city, 11km from the nearby Kisoro town, and about 80kms from Kabale and Lake Bunyonyi. There are public buses that connect Kigali to Kyanika via Musanze/Ruhengeri town. If boarding a public bus in Kigali traveling to Uganda via Kyanika border, get to Nyabugogo bus stage, board a public bus to Musanze town in northern Rwanda, from Musanze take a matatu/taxi to the Kyanika border, which should take about 30 minutes. If traveling between Goma and Kampala through Kyanika, some bus companies that operate the Kampala-Goma route via the Kyanika border are Jaguar Executive Coaches and Trinity Bus Express.

Kyanika Uganda Rwanda border crossing during Covid-19

The Kyanika land border is still closed, and tourists traveling from Uganda to Rwanda or Rwanda to Uganda are not permitted to cross the border. If you plan to visit Uganda for gorilla trekking via Kigali during this period and we can discuss the best options for your trip.

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