Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is another interesting attraction within the Virunga. Lying along the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lake Kivu is one of the beautiful places to relax from. This is one of the best places to relax after a gorilla safari in Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This Lake Kivu is the sixth largest lake in Africa and because of its volcanic origin, the water is not ideal for hippos or crocodiles, which means it’s good to go for swimming. Tours around Lake Kivu are offered and a good number of lodges have been built on the shores of the lake in both Rwanda and Congo.

Lake Kivu is situated in the Albertine Rift region of East Africa found along the border of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s among the safe Lakes for swimming and boat trips because it’s free from Bilharzia, crocodiles and hippopotamus. One can pass easily from village to village along the shores of the lake and witness the fishing lifestyle of the locals. A visit to the lake will serve as a well-deserved place to rest and relax near the end of your Rwanda holidays or tour in Congo with Adventure in the wild safaris.

Lake Kivu is one of the two smallest African Great Lakes (AGL), but is the third deepest and sits at the highest altitude. The lake was formed by volcanic activity about 1-5 million years ago. It has a surface area of 2,370 km2, a shoreline of 860 km, a length of 97 km and width of 48 km, an average depth of 240 m, a maximum depth of 485 m, water volume of 500 km3, a water residence period of 193 years, and a basin of 5,097 km2. Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) both border the lake. Most of the water input is through rainfall (3.3 km3/year), numerous small rivers (2.0 km3/year), and ground water (1.3 km3/year), and water loss is through evaporation (3.6 km3/year) and the Ruzizi River into Lake Tanganyika (3.0 km3/year). The area receives long rainy periods from February to May and short rains from October to December, and the lake’s surface temperature varies between 22 and 24oC.

The inhabitants of the lake area generally support themselves through fishing and subsistence agriculture, although they also farm tea, coffee, and cattle, and harvest honey. If you wish, it is possible to visit coffee processing plants in Cyimbili and Kinunu to see and taste fresh coffee from bean to cup. People also brew beer along the shore and on the islands. Industrial extraction of the lake’s methane and hydroelectric production provide jobs for chemical engineers, mechanics, and other workers. Finally, the tourism industry of hotels, markets, shops, and restaurants provides further income for the communities.

The lake sits in a basin surrounded by gorgeous round hills, each of which offers a panoramic view of the lake itself, its islands, and the mountains. The lakeshore is in some places sandy, others rocky, but in all places one can marvel at the clarity of the lake floor and watch the many fish that swim near the surface. Enjoy a picnic near the shoreline under lazily waving palm trees, or take a dive off a pier into the clear, cool water. Enjoy sea kayaking near Kibuye, and paddle your boat through the quiet waters to Bat Island, inhabited by 5 million fruit bats, or Peace Island, a quiet space for thought and relaxation. Nkomo and Bugarama Islands are home to friendly locals who love to talk with visitors to the lake and show off their homes, families, and culture. You can also find pelicans, kingfishers, and cormorants in the nearby wetlands. At any restaurant, you can enjoy local delicacies like sambaza, a small, fried fish dressed with lime and eaten whole, and akabenzi, a pork dish cooked together with bananas.

On the Rwandan side of the lake, one can stay in any of three lakeside towns.  Cyangugu, the most remote from Kigali, is home to views of great beauty and a majestic historic mosque. You can enjoy views of and easy access to Bat Island and Peace Island from the quiet lake resorts of Kibuye, or party with the locals near the wide sand beaches of lively Gisenyi. The lake is renowned as an excellent place to rest for families, honeymooners, or friends before or after your Rwanda gorilla tour to Volcanoes National Park OR Nyungwe National Park.

Activities to do at Lake Kivu include: sunbathing, swimming, and water sports like Kayaking, wind surfing & canoeing. You can visit lake Kivu as part of your Rwanda safari itinerary or for a weekend if you work and live in Rwanda.]’

Tours to the islands of the lake are conducted in boats. You can also enjoying seeing the loacl fishermen catching tilapia, a delicacy you should taste.