Lake Kivu lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda and is in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift and its one of Africa’s great lakes (sixth largest lake in Africa) and the world’s eighteenth deepest lake by maximum depth, and the ninth deepest by mean depth

Lake Kivu

The lake bed sits upon a rift valley that is slowly being pulled apart, causing volcanic activity in the area. Once the mechanisms that caused lake overturns began to be understood, so did awareness of the risk the lake posed to the local population; Lake Kivu is a fresh water lake that undergoes limbic eruptions.

The world’s tenth-largest island on a lake, Idjwi, lies in Lake Kivu, within the boundaries of Virunga National Park. Settlements on the lake’s shore include Bukavu, Kabare, Kalehe, Sake and Goma in Congo, and Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu in Rwanda.

Lake Kivu’s three main towns (Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu) are roughly 3-4 hours apart from each other. However, on our last visit, extensive road construction works were making the journeys longer.


Lake Kivu is a fantastic tourist’s attraction, which one should not miss out while in Rwanda. On a visit to the Lake, a tourist can engage in various activities that include the following;

Swimming; with cool temperatures tourist can freely cool down on a hot day on Lake Kivu given its fresh water body and free from crocodiles, hippopotamus and bilharzia. Better swimming points can be got from major towns of Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu.

Hiking and biking along the shores; hiking can be enjoyed by tourist after a safari or those on honey moon. With great views of the fresh water body a walk at the shores of lake with cool breezes from the waves will give you a remarkable and unforgettable experience.

Water trips and cruising; cruising on the fresh water body enables one to discover more of the land of a thousand hills.

A visit to Nyamirundi island; Tourist are able to learn coffee growing processes. The island provides beautiful views of the farmlands.

A visit to imbabazi orphanage; the orphanage takes care of the children who were left orphans by the terrible Rwandese genocide.  It’s well-built with beautiful gardens, restaurant and provides great views of the Virunga volcanoes in the background.

Wind surfing and other water sports; the waters of Lake kivu has waves that support windsurfing, kayaking, speed boat rides and sport fishing. Wind surfing and kayaking equipment can be hired from around Gisenyi

Buses run frequently from Kigali – Gisenyi about 15-30n minutes; it costs between $2 to $5 depending on which bus company you use and whether you go for a bulk standard matatus. It will take 2 hours 21 minutes or 2 hours approximately

Accommodation units include; Hotel Paradise Malahide, Belvedere Hotel, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Discover Rwanda Gisenyi, CormorantLodge, Moriah Hill Resort, Hotel Ubumwe, Hill View Hotel Lake Kivu, Lake View Apartments and Hotel, Hotel La Benediction, Bethanie Guesthouse and Kivu lodge to mention a few.

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