Lake Kivu, Rwanda

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About Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.
The lake covers a total surface area of some 2,700 km2 (1,040 sq. mi) and stands at a height of 1,460 metres (4,790 ft) above sea level. Some 1 370 km2 or 58 percent of the lake’s waters lie within DRC borders. The lake bed sits upon a rift valley that is slowly being pulled apart, causing volcanic activity in the area, and making it particularly deep: its maximum depth of 480 m (1,575 ft) is ranked eighteenth in the world.

Where is Lake Kivu Located?

Lake Kivu Rwanda lies along the African rift valley in the western perimeter of Africa’s small nation forming the border between Congo and Rwanda. Quite a busy lake, Lake Kivu is always alive with fishermen who mainly use dugout canoes to carry out their activities especially fishing as well as traders who exchange goods by buying and selling at the lake shores. Lake Kivu tours are usually comprised by long drives along the lake on unmade roads which offers you the opportunity to have a feel of rural life that has existed for centuries and has virtually been unchanged since.

The world’s tenth-largest inland island, Idjwi, lies in Lake Kivu, as does the tiny island of Tchegera, which also lies within the boundaries of Virunga National Park; while settlements on its shore include Bukavu, Kabare, Kalehe, Sake, and Goma in Congo, and Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu in Rwanda.

Fishing at Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu fishermen use a special method to fish for small fish called isambaza. With three vessels tied together, and using petrol lights at night, they attract the fish and then catch them in nets suspended below their boats. During September and October each year all fishing is banned to allow the stocks to rejuvenate, and during the full moon, fishing is not possible because the fish are not attracted to the light.

Swimming at Lake Kivu

With its crystal clear clean water, Lake Kivu is one of the safest lakes in Africa, and one of only a very few where swimming is possible because there are:

  • No crocodiles
  • No hippopotamus
  • Almost no Schistosomiasis (bilharzia)
  • No localized (or large-scale) gas outbursts.

Coffee Experience

See the full life cycle of coffee. At Cyimbili and Kinunu you can watch the entire process of making a perfect cup of coffee – from seeing coffee beans growing on the bush to a delicious cup of locally grown and made coffee. The Congo-Nile Trail Cycling, hiking or driving along the Congo-Nile Trail. This 227 km long trail runs from Gisenyi to Kamembe along the scenic shores of Lake Kivu.

  • Hire or buy bicycles in Gisenyi and Kibuye
  • Cycle with bicycle guides and porters along the Congo-Nile trail
  • Create a sea kayaking / cycling combination tour
Activities to Do and What to See at Lake Kivu

Fishing at Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu fishermen use a special method to fish for small fish called isambaza. With three vessels tied together, and using petrol lights at night, they attract the fish and then catch them in nets suspended below their boats. During September and October each year all fishing is banned to allow the stocks to rejuvenate, and during the full moon, fishing is not possible because the fish are not attracted to the light.

Swimming at Lake Kivu

With its crystal clear clean water, Lake Kivu is one of the safest lakes in Africa, and one of only a very few where swimming is possible because there are:

  • No crocodiles
  • No hippopotamus
  • Almost no Schistosomiasis (bilharzia)
  • No localized (or large-scale) gas outbursts.

Coffee Experience

See the full life cycle of coffee. At Cyimbili and Kinunu you can watch the entire process of making a perfect cup of coffee – from seeing coffee beans growing on the bush to a delicious cup of locally grown and made coffee. The Congo-Nile Trail Cycling, hiking or driving along the Congo-Nile Trail. This 227 km long trail runs from Gisenyi to Kamembe along the scenic shores of Lake Kivu.

  • Hire or buy bicycles in Gisenyi and Kibuye
  • Cycle with bicycle guides and porters along the Congo-Nile trail
  • Create a sea kayaking / cycling combination tour

Suggested Itineraries

Date

Sat, Jan 18, 2020

Departure

Kigali, Rwanda

Date

Sat, Jan 18, 2020

Departure

Kigali, Rwanda

Date

Sat, Jan 18, 2020

Departure

Kigali, Rwanda

Accommodation Options at Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Situated on the beach, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Gisenyi Beach and Rwanda Tourism University College. Kigali Independent University is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) away.

Lake Kivu Serena hotel offers the ideal extended holiday destination in Rwanda or week-end escape.The hotel stands on the shores of Lake Kivu, just outside the small town of Gisenyi, which is 160km from Kigali (20 minute’s flight from Kigali International Airport) and minutes from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and the city of Goma.

Cormoran-Lodge-5

Cormoran Lodge

Set on a steep hill leading down to the shore of Lake Kivu, the new Cormoran Lodge in Kibuye has a small number of wooden cabins, each affording beautiful views over the lake. The seven rooms at Cormoran Lodge are, for the most part, identical. (The ‘honeymoon’ suite has a slightly bigger bathroom and a bath, but is currently the same price).

Inside the rooms are quite simple and rustic: with wooden floors, ceilings and walls, they feel very much like log cabins! There’s a large wooden double bed, a small writing desk, and in one corner a few chairs and a flat-screen TV. You’ll also find a minibar, safe, umbrella, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and mosquito nets.

Peace Guest House

Peace Guesthouse is situated in the far south-west corner of Rwanda, on the shores of Lake Kivu near the port of Cyangugu. None of the Expert Africa team has visited this hotel yet, however here is what we know about it so far.

The guesthouse is in a quiet location just outside Cyangugu, and offers a comfortable base from where you can explore the local areas of interest. Apparently the staffs are very friendly and offer a warm welcome.

Peace Guesthouse has 22 fairly simple but clean rooms; some have en-suite facilities whilst others have to share bathrooms. There are 16 terraced wall side rooms and lakeside rooms and five individual rondavels which have two twin rooms, en suite bathroom and a sitting room. These would be ideal for families.