Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.

The Lake Kivu is divided into various sectors from Gisenyi, Kibuye, Cyangugu in Rwanda and then the shorelines of zones of Ibanda, Bagira and Kabare, Kalehe and shoreline of Ijwi Island and shorelines of zones of Masisi and Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are three larger towns, all capitals of respective prefectures, Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu on Rwanda’s Lake side. The largest city situated on southern Lake Kivu’s shore is Bukavu, followed by the town of Goma and two smaller towns of Kalehe and Katana, all situated on Democratic Republic of Congo Lake side.


Gisenyi is a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu, in northwestern Rwanda’s Rubavu district. Beach resorts line the lake’s sandy waterfront, and kayaks ply its clear waters. From Gisenyi, the long-distance, lakeside Congo Nile Trail winds through hilly terrain, passing villages, waterfalls and tea and coffee plantations. East of town, Gishwati-Mukura National Park’s rain forests are home to chimpanzees and monkeys.

Gisenyi, historically rendered as Kisenyi, is a city in Rubavu district in Rwanda’s Western Province. Gisenyi is contiguous with Goma, the city across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The city features a resort on the shores of Lake Kivu, with several hotels and three sandy beaches. The area is also known for water sports. The northern shore of the Lake on which Goma and Gisenyi lie is a flat plain featuring lava formations from the eruptions of nearby Mount Nyiragongo. In contrast to Goma, Gisenyi escaped the lava flows of both the 1977 and the 2002 eruptions, which destroyed between 15 and 40% of the former.

The centre of Gisenyi lies by foothills at the northeast corner of the Lake, and low-density expansion is taking place in the hills, which are expected to be safe from future eruptions. Gisenyi is also home to Bralirwa, which manufactures various local beers — Primus, Mützig, Amstel and Guinness — as well as a range of Coca-Cola–branded soft drinks.

Gisenyi is a small town compared to neighbouring Goma in the DRC, though Gisenyi is growing quickly. In 2011, a new multi-storey shopping mall began construction over an old bus station. As of 2011, the main roads of the town are paved, and sidewalks are nearing completion for most of them as well.

Gisenyi has two borders with Goma, the “Petite Barrière” and the “Grand Barrière”. These names are a little misleading because the Petite Barrière is physically larger and features much higher traffic volumes. About 6,000 people crossed the Petite Barrière daily during 2011. On the Gisenyi side, a large customs and immigration office was built with a large capacity, not yet matched by the Congolese facilities. Similarly, the road to the Petite Barrière is paved on the Rwandan side but not on the Congolese side. The Grande Barrière is paved on both sides and receives more of the heavy truck traffic. It is also a diplomatic border. It is from this border all international tourists visiting Democratic Republic of Congo for the Congo gorilla tours in the Virunga National Park use and it is from this border where the Virunga Foundation has tourism office and from here you acquire your tourist visa and all the passes required to enter the park.


Goma is the capital of North Kivu province in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located on the northern shore of Lake Kivu, next to the Rwandan city of Gisenyi. The Lake and the two cities are in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift system. Goma lies only 13–18 km south of the active Nyiragongo Volcano.

The recent history of Goma has been dominated by the volcano and the Rwandan genocide of 1994, which in turn fueled the First and Second Congo Wars. The aftermath of these events was still having effects on the city and its surroundings in 2010. The city was captured by rebels of the March 23 Movement during the M23 rebellion in late 2012, but has since been retaken by government forces.

Therefore, after the city being the government security operatives it has been modernized as the one of the tourist city hub between the Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park. Both parks are famously known for the mountain and lowland gorillas respectively.

Goma city has eased the area tourism by offering the Goma International Airport that offers direct flights from Ethiopia and back after the gorilla tours. Among Airlines that offer flights to this airport include the Ethiopian Airlines that run daily and now experiencing the hike to Mount Nyiragongo is so much easy.

The Goma International Airport provides domestic flights and it is Ethiopian Airlines that is reliable for your visit to Congo parks. The city lies on the Rwandan border and neighboring Gisenyi is connected to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, by road and regular buses travel between these cities in under four hours. Goma is connected to Bukavu by ferries and therefore this has made so much easier for travelers in Democratic Republic of Congo from Goma to combine Eco tours in Congo in Virunga and Kahuzi Biega National Park.


Therefore, all those traveling to Goma to visit Virunga National Park and traveling with Ethiopian Airlines have to arrive a day before and stay at a list of hotels and lodges that have been developed in the Goma city as listed below.

Goma Serena Hotel

Ihusi Hotel

Hotel Linda

Lac Vic Lodge

Hotel Cap Kivu

Tamara Lake View

There is very many trips that depart from Goma to the Virunga National Park and if you want to choose one of your choice you can check our list on the Mikeno Lodge and we shall arrange for you depending on your priority of travel. But, depending on the security measures in the park some of the packages depart on scheduled days and if you want to just join your East African trip with Democratic Republic of Congo you can take the daily itinerary Mikeno Mist – 04 day and this include mountain gorilla viewing and Mount Nyiragongo trekking and staying at Kibumba Tented Camp that is set at the foot slopes of the park and Eco-friendly blend with nature.


Kibuye is a city in Karongi District, and the headquarters of the western province in Rwanda. The city lies on the eastern shores of Lake Kivu, between Gisenyi and Cyangugu, approximately 135 kilometers (84 mi), by road, west of Kigali, the capital and largest city in the country.

Kibuye is known as a beach resort and is within driving distance of two Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park. It is home to a genocide memorial marking the massacre of 90% of the town’s Tutsi population in the Rwandan Civil War. The Ndaba Falls lie near the city. Both Kibuye Power Plant and Kivu Watt Power Station lie within Kibuye.


Cyangugu is a city and capital of the Rusizi District in Western Province, Rwanda. The city lies at the southern end of Lake Kivu, and is contiguous with Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, but separated from it by the Ruzizi River. Two bridges and a dam cross the river frontier.

The settlement has two main areas: Cyangugu itself is the low-density district on the Lake shore, while Kamembe, the higher density industrial and transport centre is further inland and to the north. Kamembe Airport serves the city with flights 11 times a week to Kigali.

The city lies near Nyungwe Forest National Park, a popular tourist destination, being one of the last remaining forest areas of Rwanda and home to chimpanzees and many other species of primate. Among other activities to experience include the canopy walk, nature walk, tea plantation tours, Rwanda birding among others.

While on your primate safari in the Nyungwe forest, you can either choose to stay at One & Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Hill Top Hotel or the budget Gisakura Guest House. Nyungwe Forest can be visited by road or air with the Akagera Aviation that offers scheduled routes from Kigali to the park.


Bukavu city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, central Africa, on a peninsula extending into Lake Kivu. It is a commercial and industrial centre, a lake port, and a tourist city with road access northwest to Kisangani, southwest to Kasai, south to Lubumbashi, and to East Africa. There is also air transport to other Congolese cities and to Burundi. The region is known for agricultural products (coffee, tea, tobacco, quinine, strawberries), livestock, and tin and gold.

More than 100,000 tons of cargo pass through the port annually, and the city is headquarters for tourists bound for Goma and the Virunga National Park. The city has a school of social studies, a teacher-training college, and a scientific-research institute. It also has a brewery, printing plant, and the Mururu hydroelectric installation.

Bukavu is in one of the most densely populated areas of Congo. In the 1970s and ’90s the city received thousands of refugees fleeing ethnic violence in neighbouring Burundi and Rwanda and was itself the centre of a fierce civil war that raged in eastern Congo in the late 1990s and early 21st century.