KigaliJuly 6, 2021
Visit RwandaJuly 23, 2021
Lake Kivu is an incredible place to visit and a stunningly beautiful lake.
Running for almost 100kms along the Congolese border, Kivu takes its place among the 20 deepest and 20 most voluminous freshwater bodies in the world. With no hippos or crocodiles and crystal clear, clean water, it is also one of the safest lakes in Africa. Rubavu (also known as Gisenyi) is a waterfront town located on the shores of Lake Kivu and at only an hour away from Volcanoes National Park, Rubavu is a great place to unwind after Gorilla Trekking adventures. Here you can sit on the beach, watch fishing boats plying the water, find interesting villages to explore, as well as see amazing birdlife set amongst true peace and tranquillity.
Rubavu marks the beginning of the Congo Nile Trail, which extends 227 km to Rusizi in the south-west and it's capital Cyangugu. Along the route, there are plenty of biking and hiking trails too for those who crave more adventure. Rubavu is also known for its agro-tourism experiences, with many tea and coffee plantations nearby. Near to Rubavu, you can see how coffee is grown and brewed into a delicious cup of famous Rwandan coffee. Further down Lake Kivu and not far from Karongi (Kibuye), which is around half way between Rubavu and Cyangugu, is Rwanda’s own ‘Bay of Islands’ where many uninhabited islands are covered with natural woodland and even a remarkable colony of bats.
The best way to explore the area is by kayak and guided one / two day tours from both Rubavu (Gisenyi) and Karongi (Kibuye) are possible, as well as a fantastic four-day kayak journey between these lakeshore towns.
In terms of accommodation in the area, our top picks are Lake Kivu Serena at Rubavu (Gisenyi), Paradis Malahide (close to Rubavu) and further down the lake - Cormoran Lodge at Karongi (Kibuye). Most people will either spend 1 or 2 nights relaxing pre or post Gorilla Trekking at Lake Kivu Serena or Paradis Malahide, or alternatively if travelling up from Nyungwe National Park, may stop for a night or two at Cormoran Lodge, before heading onto Rubavu (Gisenyi) - by road or kayak, and onto Volcanoes National Park from there. There are so many possibilities in this beautiful area when you visit Rwanda!
Lake Kivu FAQs
Lake Kivu is classified as one of the African Great Lakes. It is situated on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda and is in the Albertine Rift, which is the western branch of the East African Rift.
Lake Kivu has some great beaches where you can relax and unwind after your gorilla trek and/or "big five" safari. If this doesn't tickle your fancy you can always take to the waters for a swim in the crystal clear, clean waters of the lake or enjoy the lake on a guided kayak tour.
Lake Kivu is not only a lake where you can relax and chill out, but you can swim in the Lake too. There are no hippos, crocodiles and no Bilharzia in Lake Kivu making it the perfect natural swim hole. If, however, you prefer to swim in a pool, there are hotels and lodges in the area that have swimming pools and you can just relax on the sandy shore of the lake.