Lake Kivu Rwanda; Lake Kivu, French Lac Kivu, one of the great lakes of East Africa, situated between Congo (Kinshasa) to the west and Rwanda to the east. Lying at 4,790 feet (1,460 m) above sea level, it occupies 1,040 square miles (2,700 square km) and is 55 miles (90 km) long (north-south) and 30 miles wide (east-west). From an average depth of 722 feet (220 m), it plunges to a maximum of 1,558 feet (475 m). Lake Kivu has a rough, jagged coast and contains numerous islands, the largest of which is Idjwi. It was at one time part of a larger body of water that filled a structural trough in the Earth. Volcanic outpourings along its northern shore created a dam that separated Kivu from Lake Edward (Lake Idi Amin Dada), barred Kivu’s northern outflow, and reversed its drainage to the south through the Ruzizi (Rusizi) River into Lake Tanganyika.

Lake Kivu Rwanda

Where To Go

Lake Kivu, Rubavu

Gisenyi’s leafy green promenade, located just outside the center of the bustling downtown, is the place to be. Walk around the area, peeking into the thick tree canopies for a glimpse of the town’s famous bat colony before going to the town’s public beach for a lazy afternoon. On a nice day, make sure to explore the hilly green coastline by boat or kayak. Pretty much every hotel in town rents out boats for day trips around the area, or tourists can pick them up on the beach. Kingfisher Journeys is currently the only kayak trip operator in the area, and they offer trips ranging from a few hours to a few days. This place is also a highly recommended place to people coming from gorilla trekking rwanda in the volcanoes National Park.

Lake Kivu, Karongi

Kibuye, a town located on Lake Kivu in Rwanda’s southern Karongi province, is as picturesque as it gets. Sparkling blue water, lush green hills, and bright flora make this small lakeside town one of Rwanda’s most sought after retreats. A town favorited by Kigali locals for tropical-like weekend escapes, Kibuye still feels like a hidden gem. Spend your days relaxing at the beachfront, strolling around the town’s main road loop, and wiling the hours away with a good book and a cold beer. For more active travelers, kayak and boating adventures are recommended. Cormoran Lodge rents out kayaks by the hour, Kingfisher Journeys organizes half-day, full-day, and multi-day kayaking excursions, and every hotel in the area can arrange boating trips around the town’s many islands.

Lake Kivu, Rusizi

Spanning almost the whole length of the country, Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest lake and is shared with the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. Spot fishermen rowing their way out of small towns in the early evening, singing traditional Rwandan melodies and songs, and watch native cormorant birds winging their way across the coast, flying across sunlit skies and misty hilltops. Dozens of towns in Rwanda dot Lake Kivu; Rusizi, Gisenyi and Kibuye are three of the biggest and the most popular with local and international tourists on their Visit Rwanda tour or Rwanda Safaris.