Shared between Rwanda and the DRC, lies within the Great Rift Valley, and the Albertine rift eco-region. The lake covers an area of 2700 sq km and lies 1460m above sea level. It is 89 km long, 48 km wide, with an average depth of 220m and a maximum of 485m. it flows into the Ruzizi river which feeds Lake Tanganyika.
Lake Kivu is located in the western part of Rwanda which is a landlocked country. Lake Kivu is a prime destination in Rwanda with a number of activities done by travelers on their tours in Rwanda such as boat ride. Lake Kivu is the chief of frequent lakes that occupy the Rwanda valleys. Other lakes such as Burera and Ruhondo are adjacent to the epitome of gorilla trekking activities in Ruhengeri.
Lake Kivu acts as a source of fish to several people in Rwanda as it produces over twenty tons of fish. The lake still is the source of methane a product that is used to generate electricity to the economy of Rwanda. However, this product is harmful to living things once they breathe it in.
Despite, all these the Lake Kivu is so fresh providing different opportunities for scenic views to the travelers on Rwanda safari holidays.
Things to Do
This is the activity that tourists are interested in while visiting Lake Kivu. The fact that Lake Kivu sits on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, water transport by boat ride is the common means of transport that people use to cross to two countries. While taking a boat ride on Lake Kivu, be ready to explore different animals and bird species such as Great African fish eagle among others.
Mountain hiking and biking
Rwanda is well known as the land of thousand hills which are spectacular to view and support a lot of tourism adventure activities. Visitors who love to exercise can tour these hills using their feet however this a bit strenuous and requires you to be physically fit. Tourists still can opt to hire bicycles for biking in the form of biking. Hiking is an amazing activity as you will encounter different local people and wonders of different corners, especially around Kivu. This activity can be done depending on the time you have.
Visiting plantation farms
Taking a tour of agricultural plantation firms especially coffee plantation around Lake Kivu is an amazing touristic activity. The common plantation farms visited are located on Nyamirundi Island. Here travelers can learn the coffee planting processes from started when coffee is planted, harvested, and ground and when it is packed. Finally, you can feel the taste of coffee tea and buy and pack others if you wish. Nyamirundi is an island on Lake Kivu with fertile soils that favor the growth of Arabic coffee and can be reached by taking a boat cruise/ride on Kivu Lake. This can be visited on a half or daily basis depending on the time you have.
Safety swimming in Lake Kivu
After tire full activities of gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, and city tours, it is always to confidently relax, refresh and enjoy the fresh breath of the fresh waters of Lake Kivu the biggest lake in Rwanda. Lake Kivu features magnificent and ample spacious beaches that are safe for swimming, the fact that the lake is free from dangerous predators such as crocodiles and mammals like hippos.
As you enjoy the swimming activity on Lake Kivu, still you can sunbath as you overlook the clear views of the lake with fishermen boats sailing on the water with their encouragement songs. There also different bars where you can have a drink on the lake and you can as well request newspapers, magazines, and novels as you’re chilling. This is the best refreshing lake in Africa with a rewarding tour experience.
Fish adventure and other travelers interested in this activity will be a chance to participate in sport fishing activity at Lake Kivu. Sport fishing on Lake Kivu will enable you to catch different fish types with the most prominent one being the tilapia fish. Sport fishing here is usually conducted by using small boats called canoes while discovering the waters of Kivu with swinging nice-looking blue waves.
Birding around Lake Kivu
Birding on Lake Kivu is the most rewarding activity for visitors especially those taking for a boat ride on this lake. The presence of the vegetation cover surrounding the lake harbors different birding species which can be explored. Some of these birds’ have made the vegetation cover as their permanent home while other species migrate from different areas. The best ground areas for birds are around Gisheyi, Kibuye, Ruzizi, and Nkola Island. The commonly sighted species include; yellow-eyed black flycatcher, pied kingfisher, Rwenzori turaco, and common waxbill among others.
Kayaking on Kivu Lake
This is an amazing adventure activity that is done on top Lake Kivu waters using kayaks. Kayaking allows visitors to have a wider and nice view of Lake Kivu. While participating in this adventurous activity, you will get a chance to see comfortably wildlife, different islands of the lake, butterflies, close look on the fishermen among others.
Visiting tours to Gisenyis Imbabazi orphanage
To help children who lost their parents in the Rwandan genocide, the Imbabazi orphanage home was set up in Gisenyi by Rosemond who was always in touch with Diana fussy are-known conservation researcher dealing in gorilla research in Rwanda. However, the proprietor of this orphanage home later dies in 2006 but on your visit to Lake Kivu, you can bypass this home and learn more about her life and all that is known about her.
At the Imbabazi orphanage, there is a 24-hour cultural performing group that is ready to welcome you with Kinyarwanda dance which is so exciting. The orphanage is strategically located that it provides a clear view of volcanoes, well calculated of nice-looking hotels designed with flowers.
Lake Kivu covers most of the western border of Rwanda with main tourist areas being Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu, which lie along the lakes shores.
Gisenyi is the most developed of the sites and is less than an hour’s drive from the volcanoes national park and is about 2.5 hours drive from Kigali. It is set on a sandy beach lined with swaying palms and colonial-era hotels. Here you are able to find both the upmarket hotels and the budget ones.
Kibuye is located between Gisenyi and Cyangugu in the center along the shores of Lake Kivu. It has tourist activities centered on a modern lake-shore guesthouse overlooking pine-covered hills, and boat trips from here to Gisenyi.
Cyangugu is the least developed for tourism and different from the other two. It is the closest to Nyungwe Forest, with great community engagements and beautiful views of Congo but limited lake activities except the fishermen.
Lake Kivu is one of the most popular destinations in both Rwanda and the democratic republic of Congo. The lake is shared between these countries at their border points and it offers travelers with relaxing atmosphere after heavy tourism activity or journey in Africa wildness. You will miss a lot of water-based creatures, islands, bird species, and associated interesting tourism products.