What Can I Do In Lake Kivu - Rwanda



Explore Lake Kivu in Rwanda: Exploring Lake Kivu takes travelers to the natural, hidden beauty of the lake and its environs. Explore Lake Kivu on your Rwanda trip. Safari also allows travelers to meet the local fishermen, who offer intriguing folk tales.


Lake Kivu is situated within the boundaries of Rwanda and the DR Congo. Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest freshwater body and the eighth-largest body of water on the African continent.


Lake Kivu is perched within the Albertine Rift, which connects the western arm of the East African Rift Valley. Lake Kivu's waters drained into the River Rusizi, which then flowed south into Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. Lake Kivu is approximately 90 kilometers deep and 50 kilometers wide.


Lake Kivu is ranked as Africa’s eighth-biggest lake, covering a total area of about 2,700 square kilometers. Lake Kivu stands at 1,460 meters above sea level and is 475 meters deep. It is ranked as the world’s 14th deepest lake.


Lake Kivu was formed as a result of volcanic activity that led to a limbic eruption, which is expected to happen in the lake every 1000 years. Limbic eruptions on the lake are caused by excess methane and carbon dioxide gas within the lake, Volcanic processes kill plant species, marine species, and human life surrounding the afflicted lake Kivu.


Lake Kivu protects the tenth largest island in the world, known as 'Idjwi.' This island is situated on the edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park. Lake Kivu has fewer local communities along the shores, such as Cyangugu, Gisenyi, and Kibuye, all situated in Rwanda, as well as Kalehe, Bukavu, Goma, and Sake, situated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Marine species are found in Lake Kivu, Rwanda.

Lake Kivu marine species include Ripon Barb, Pellegrini’s Barb, Red-spot Barb, and East African Red-finned Barb, which are among the four barb subspecies found in Lake Kivu.


Clari's catfish and amphibious catfish are the only two kinds of catfish that can be found in Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu also harbors other fish species such as Nile tilapia and tilapia fish species such as blue-spotted tilapia, redbreast tilapia, longfin tilapia, and the Lake Tanganyika sardine, which was previously exclusively seen in Lake Tanganyika and was recently introduced into Lake Kivu in Rwanda.


In the early 1990s, Lake Kivu had approximately 6,563 fisheries, and over 3,027 fishermen were affiliated with pelagic fishing, while over 3,536 were part of the traditional fishery within Lake Kivu. However, the number of fisheries keeps decreasing due to a variety of factors, such as the low amount of fish in Lake Kivu.


Furthermore, a decrease in the number of great fisheries in the region occurred in the mid-1990s, which resulted in fewer fisheries on Lake Kivu (including the Rwanda Genocide of 1994). Lake Kivu features four main kinds of fresh water, hence making Lake Kivu one of the Rift Valley Lakes offering fresh water, alongside Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and other lakes in Kenya.


Lake Kivu is a natural wonder in Rwanda, where travelers can enjoy water life on their safari between Nyungwe forest national park and Volcanoes National Park. Beautiful scenery of undulating hills and tropical mountains can be seen from Gisenyi, Cyangugu, and Kibuye towns.


As stated before, Lake Kivu features three main towns namely Gisenyi town, Kibuye town, and Cyangugu town. Lake Kivu small towns take roughly three- to four-hours journey apart.


Things to do while Exploring Lake Kivu in Rwanda.

Explore Lake Kivu towns such as Gisenyi town, Kibuye town, and Cyangungu town.


Gisenyi Town

Gisenyi is a town within Lake Kivu that is situated on the northern shore. Most people know it as Rubavu town. Gisenyi town is scattered over many hills, making it a great site for visitors to Lake Kivu.


Gisenyi town is blessed with wonderful lake shorelines such as good beaches where both residents and visitors can take part in water sports such as windsurfing and swimming.


Tourists can also visit the Imbabazi Orphanage while on their tour to Lake Kivu from Gisenyi town. Rosamund Hasley Carr was an American humanitarian who managed to go back to Rwanda after the genocide war and built this orphanage.


Kibuye Town

Kibuye Town is currently called the Karongi Town, which is situated just 100 kilometers south of Gisenyi Town. It’s tropically surrounded by a thousand hills and forested densely with eucalyptus and pine trees.


Tourists can engage in bird watching while on their tour to Kibuye town since the town protects several bird species like the yellow-billed kites, which usually migrate in August.


If you are interested in where to stay while on your trip to Kibuye, Kibuye offers several lodging facilities ti choose from, such as Macheo Eco Lodge camping, Bethanie Guesthouse, Moriah Hill Resort, Rwiza Village Guesthouse, and Rebero Kivu Resort

Cyangungu Town

Cyangugu, currently called Rusizi town, is situated in the southern sector of Lake Kivu. Rusizi town is the nearest to Nyungwe Forest National Park, from Rusizi town to Nyungwe forest National park takes an hour’s drive away.


Tourists can also visit the Congolese city of Bukavu from Cyangugu Town, which is situated on the border of DR Congo. Travelers have a greater opportunity to explore Lake Kivu and enjoy the boat trip on Lake Kivu.


While at Cyangugu, tourists visit Nyungwe forest national park and enjoy many activities, such as the chimpanzee trekking experience, Canopy walks, nature hikes, bird watching, and nature walks. Many lodging options include the Motel Gloria, Rubavu motel, and Munini Hill Hotel.


Participate in a Boat cruise on Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu presents Rwanda’s beautiful landscape to visitors, and boat trips are organized for tourists who are interested in exploring lake Kivu and its surroundings. Enjoy Lake Kivu's lakeside coastlines, as well as the undulating hills and lush ever-green highland vegetation, while on the boat trip you can visit towns like Gisenyi town, and Kibuye town, and Cyangugu town for tourists who are interested in experiencing all three towns.


Bird Watching around Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu harbors over 780 bird species, including egrets, Bronzed sunbirds, Common Waxbill, yellow-throated Greenbuls, Speckled Pigeons, and African Pied Wagtail, Chin-spot Betis, Cardinal Woodpecker, and Tropical Boubou.

Relax at the Lake Kivu Beach.


Lake Kivu is encompassing a variety of beaches, but the best beaches are located in Gisenyi Town. Take a walk along the Lake Kivu shore, especially during evening hours, to appreciate the great scenic views of the thousand hills and watering sunset, Discover Lake Kivu in Rwanda.


Hike to the Congo Nile Divide.

The Congo Nile Divide covers a 257-kilometer trail that starts from the coasts of Lake Kivu from Rubavu [Gisenyi] via Kibuye town and to Congo. The Congo Nile Divide track is an ideal destination for mountain biking and trekking.

Visit Hot springs


Lake Kivu offers a couple of hot springs where tourists can explore, including Bugarama hot springs, which are situated about 60 kilometers from Cyangugu town, Gisenyi hot springs, Kinigi hot springs, and Nyamyumba hot springs, all these hot springs are situated between Gisenyi town/Rubavu Town.


How to Travel to Lake Kivu.

Lake Kivu can be accessed by road and domestic flights from Kigali city. Lake Kivu is about three-hour’s drive from Kigali by four wheels. Lake Kivu can also be reached through Gisenyi town, Kibuye town, and Cyangugu town. Tourists opting for a single safari can also use a bus from Kigali City to any of these three towns. Lake Kivu can be accessed by air, with a domestic flight that departs from Kigali International Airport and lands at Gisenyi Airport.


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