Lake Kivu | Rwanda

Lake Kivu is situated in the western part of Rwanda a landlocked country. This lake is in the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Elevated at 1460m above the sea level and is 480m deep known to be amongst the three lakes that produce toxic carbon dioxide and methane gases due to Limnic Eruption. This gas is so dangerous and can kill the living creature especially human beings and mammals instantly upon inhalation. However, Lake Kivu is known to be amongst the fresh water lakes in Africa offering scenic views of beautiful fauna and flora alongside several tourism activities within the lake and the surrounding areas. several visitors on a Rwanda tour usually spend some ample time on Lake Kivu exploring it while doing other water activities such as swimming, sport fishing, hiking and biking, Kayaking, visiting the Orphanage, boat cruising to explore coffee plantations on Nyamirundi island and more others that attract people to visit the land of a thousand hills. 

Activities carried out on Lake Kivu and the surrounding areas 

Lake Kivu covers the biggest part of western Rwanda towards the Congo border especially the parts of Cyangugu, Gisenyi, and Kibuye. These three areas are the most visited by visitors while on a tour around Lake Kivu and below are the major activities involved in by visitors 

Coffee Tour around Lake Kivu: Taking a coffee Tour in Nyamirundi Island is such an awesome experience as visitors are in position to explore the coffee plantations while learning and taking part in the process right from planting, harvesting, washing the coffee bean, roasting, Grinding, packages and finally taste a cup of freshly prepared cup of Arabica coffee and even buy more to carry back home. Nyamirundi Island can easily be accessed by taking a boat ride on Lake Kivu. This coffee exploration can be done either half-day or full-day for a maximum adventure of the entire coffee production process which is the major cash crop produced in Rwanda for both domestic and exportation

Visiting the Imbabazi Orphanage in Gisenyi: Most visitors on Lake Kivu tour have an opportunity of visiting the Imbabazi orphanage was founded by Rosamond in 1994 to help the orphaned children whose parents perished in the Rwandan Genocide and she was really a good friend to Dian Fossey. Though Rosamond finally died in 2006, it’s always grateful to visit this orphanage home and learn more about her lifestyle and even visit the flower farms in mugongo region that were planted by her that were always supplied to the hotels. At the orphanage, visitors are entertained by beautiful traditional songs performed by the Imbabazi dancers that leave every visitor with a smiling face.  The orphanage was strategical positions offering a crystal clear view of the volcanoes and has the nice hotels filled and surrounded by flowers and also prepare delicious local and international meals according to visitor’s tastes and preferences

Swimming on Lake Kivu: It’s always a pleasure to relax, chill and enjoy the cool breath after a tiring day and here is Lake Kivu the biggest lake in Rwanda with fresh and clean water for swimming. The lake also accommodates very beautiful beaches that offer the best swimming grounds since this water is free from dangerous water mammals such as Crocodiles, and Hippos and even free from Bilharzia which is common in water bodies. Alongside swimming, visitors can also enjoy sunbathing at the beach while enjoying the view of the lake, book readers also have a golden opportunity of reading the books, novels, magazines while sipping of on some cool drinks, chill and relax along the beach and many more while viewing the mountains across the lake 

Sportfishing on Lake Kivu: Fish lovers are allowed to take part in fishing with an opportunity of capturing Tilapia fish species which is later on taken to the lodges and well prepared for consumption. Sportfishing on Lake Kivu is usually done by using the canoes or boats while exploring the waters with beautiful waves in the most beautiful lake in Rwanda  

Wind-Surfing: This is the major activity enjoyed by visitors on Rwanda tour especially those interested in water sports as it is supported by waves 

Kayaking on Lake Kivu: This activity is a very rewarding adventure that allows visitors to sail on top of lake kivu using kayaks as it  provides a nice view of the entire Kivu Lake, islands, wildlife along the shores, bird species, beautiful butterflies and enjoys the cool blue water and beautiful water waves

Birding around Lake Kivu: Lake Kivu and the surrounding areas have the best vegetation cover that attracts several bird species including both natives and the migratory birds which are seen seasonally. The major birding grounds are areas along the shores of the Lake, along Nkora Island, along with Cyangugu city, Gisenyi city, Kibuye city, Rusizi, Karongi, and Rubavu among others 

Several bird species seen during birding include; Sunbirds, Common Waxbill, Speckled Pigeons, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, Cardinal Woodpecker, White tailed Blue Flycatcher, Black-headed Heron, Tropical Boubou, Common Waxbill, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Little bee-eater, African Pied Wagtail, Crimson-rumped Waxbill, White-breasted Cormorants, African Pied Wagtail, Chin-spot Batis, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Yellow-fronted Canary, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Southern Red Bishop, Kivu Ground Thrush, Rwenzori Turaco , Pied Kingfishers , Yellow-throated Greenbuls, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Batis, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Black-headed Weaver, Striated Heron, Double-tooth Barbet, White-breasted Cormorants , Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Masked Mountain Apalis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Albertine Owlet , African Green Broadbill, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, and many more that make lake kivu a birders paradise that is worth a visit by the birders 

Boat riding: This is the most common means of transport to cross from Rwanda to DRC since Lake Kivu lies in the border between the two countries. During the boat ride, visitors are in position to watch several bird species along the shores, some mammals along the shores and many more

Hiking and biking: Since Rwanda is known as a place of a thousand hills, hiking some of the hills on foot for visitors who prefer to stretch up their legs to something a bit tiring, then a hike to some of the hills is all that you need to opt for, on either foot or using a bike. This hike is as rewarding as visitors explore different corners of the area while meeting the locals that reside near the shores of Lake Kivu. This can be done either half day or full day for wider coverage of the areas near and around the lake 

Getting to Lake Kivu 

There are many ways to access Lake Kivu either from Kigali international airport, Kigali city, Uganda or from Democratic Republic of Congo. Actually several visitors use it as the means of transport to cross borders to DRC .

Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu

Accommodation facilities around Lake Kivu

Like any other destination, there are some beautiful accommodation facilities around Lake Kivu ranging from budget lodges, mid-range lodges and Luxury lodges that provides good sleeping environment for the visitors on a Lake Kivu tour since they are situated in close vicinity to the lake offering the best views of the lake, and the volcanoes at glance. Here are some of the lodges including Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Hotel Ubumwe, Lake View apartments, Hotel La Benediction, Hotel Paradise Malahide, Moriah Hill resort, Kivu lodge, Cormorant Lodge, and many more 


A tour to lake kivu in Rwanda is such a rewarding experience as visitors are in position to explore the biggest water body in Rwanda, sail on it, paddle, swim, sunbath, tour the coffee plantations, and many more alongside an entire Rwanda tour for mountain Gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking, game drives and visiting the local communities without forgetting a tour to the Kigali Genocide memorial site and Iby’Iwacu for a fascinating cultural dance. This can also be combined with a tour to Uganda, or a tour to the Democratic Republic of Congo for cheap Gorilla trekking tours.