Explore Lake Kivu, Rwanda’s hidden gem

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Lake Kivu is the largest lake in Rwanda and the 6th largest in Africa. This stunning lake sits between two counties – Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It features among African Great Lakes – a group of lakes located east of Africa’s Rift Valley. Lake Kivu’s colour closely resembles the blue sky such that it’s almost impossible to make out a horizon.


Beautiful shores of Lake Kivu

Fun things to do in Lake kivu

Lake Kivu is excellent for fishing and kayaking adventures. Engage in any of these activities for an adventure of a lifetime:

  • Catch tasty fish such as Isambaza, Tilapia, and Indugu.
  • Visit Lake Kivu islands by boat or sea kayak to explore the enchanting lands.
  • Indulge in bird watching close to the shore to see unique varieties popular in the region. The pied kingfisher is one of the most notable bird species you will spot during your kayak safari. It’s the largest bird in the world that can hover without being propelled by the wind.
  • Enjoy driving, cycling, hiking along the Congo-Nile Trail, which stretches along the shores of Lake Kivu from Gisenyi to Kamembe. Cycle with porters and bicycle guides along the trail for a fun but safe adventure.
  •  Track mountain gorillas in Ruhengeri and lowland gorillas near Bukavu. The fun does not end here, go for a canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest Reserve and track chimpanzees in Giswati Forest. These montane rain forests offer excellent nature walks for a nature lover.

Embarking on a combination of these adventures such as kayaking together with the Congo-Nile trail will make your adventure memorable. Before these fun activities, ask a Rwandese tour guide to accompany you. Rwandese speak English and French hence communication will not be a problem.


Fishing boats on Lake Kivu

Top Lake Kivu Hotels

Book any of the top hotels near Lake Kivu for a comfortable stay during your trip. Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is one of the best hotels. It is located on Gisenyi Road, near the shores of the lake. Volcanoes National Park is just an hour away from this luxury 4 star hotel. Waterfront Resort is another excellent option. It is a 3 star hotel located in Gisenyi near the lake. Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel, Moriah Hill Resort and Golf Eden Rock Hotel are other top 3 star hotels to choose from.

Lake Kivu Danger Concerns

Lake Kivu Eruptions

Lake Kivu is near a number of volcanoes whose eruptions deposit carbon dioxide and methane into the lake making it prone to explosions. The term Killer Lake Kivu has often been used to describe this phenomenon. The last Lake Kivu explosion occurred in 1980s, and geologists predict an explosion every 1000 years. Hence, chances of another explosion taking place in the near future are low going by geologists’ prediction. Moreover, Kibuye power plant was established near the lake to harness electricity by extracting methane gas. This plant reduces the risk of another Lake Kivu eruption, while producing power for residents close to the area.

Is Swimming in Lake Kivu Safe?

Tourists often wonder whether swimming in Lake Kivu is safe due to reports about methane and carbon dioxide gas outbursts. Fortunately, there are no localized gas outbursts as these gases are trapped 260m deep, and far from the shores. Surface temperatures in the lake are friendly, from 23°C to 27°C all year, making it safe for swimming. Furthermore, the lake is clean and it has no hippos or crocodiles. However, wear a life jacket and bring a lifeguard with you if you plan to swim in the lake.

Shores of Lake Kivu

Scenic hills above Lake Kivu.

Overall, Lake Kivu is an excellent tourist destination. Cycle, drive or hike on the shores, or explore nearby attractions such as Nyungwe Forest for enjoyable chimpanzee tracking adventures.



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