Visit Lake Kivu in Rwanda & DR Congo

Located in the Albertine Rift region of East Africa, Kivu is a famously clear and beautiful crater lake along the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lake is safe for swimming and boating, as it does not contain bilharzia, crocodiles, or hippos.

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 for you to rest and relax after the mountain gorilla safaris in Rwanda or Democratic Republic of Congo.

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.

The Lake shore 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.

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.

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.


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