Lake Kivu safaris allow you explore the peaceful waters of Lake Kivu, the largest lake in Rwanda. It is freshwater lake found within the Albertine Rift Valley also most popular as the Great Western Rift Valley. Kivu lies in the extreme Western Rwanda bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In Africa, Lake Kivu is the 7th biggest freshwater Lake and it pours its water into the Rusizi River that flows Southwards into Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. It is 90kms long and has width of up to 50kms with irregular surface shape making it a bit challenging to determine its actual surface area.
Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest freshwater lake thanks to its 2700sq.kms size. Sitting at altitude of 2700sq.kms and depth of 475m which makes it the 8th deepest lake in the world. Lake Kivu formed due to volcanic activity which occurred a 1000 years ago. Excess methane and carbon dioxide gases in the lake are a reason why the limnic eruption occur.
Lake Kivu is strategically positioned, hosting Idjwi Island which is the 10th biggest island in the world. The island is located within the Virunga National Park boundaries in D.R. Congo. Along its shores, Lake Kivu is surrounded by towns such as Cyangugu, Kibuye, Gisenyi, Sake, Goma, Kalehe, Bukavu and others.
Gisenyi town- This is found along the Northern part of Lake Kivu and currently, it is famous as Rubavu. It is known for its charming beaches and ideal to start exciting water sports such as windsurfing, swimming, boat rid, etc. While on Lake Kivu safaris at Gisenyi, the available places to consider for overnight stay include Ubumwe Hotel, Kunda Gisenyi Guesthouse, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Stipp Hotel, etc.
Kibuye- This is also referred to as Karongi town and it is found 100kms from Gisenyi. It is a renowned area for birding while on Lake Kivu safaris and especially if you are interested in spotting the yellow billed kites. Places for overnight stay at Kibuye include Rebero Kivu Resort, Bethanie Guesthouse, Macheo Eco-Lodge, Rwiza Village Guesthouse.
Lake Kivu marine life
There are 4 barb species including the Red spot barb, Ripon barb, Pellegrini’s barb and East African red finned barb. It also has 2 species of catfish including Clarias and Amphilius catfish. Other fish species include the blue spotted tilapia, redbreast tilapia, Nile tilapia, sardine and longfin tilapia, etc. 4 crab species also reside within this freshwater lake and more.
Top Activities to do at Lake Kivu
Birding- Lake Kivu is blessed with diverse birds including chin spot batis, yellow throated greenbul, common waxbill, bronzed sunbird, speckled pigeon, African pied wagtail, tropical boubou, cardinal woodpecker, etc.
Boat rides- Explore Lake Kivu on a boat ride- visit one of its charming islands, enjoy the beautiful surrounding areas. Visit Nyamirundi Island to explore the coffee plantation, how coffee is processed and so much.
Swimming- Lake Kivu is free of crocodiles and hippos, plus bilharzia diseases making it an ideal place to enjoy swimming.
Getting to Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is easier to be reached by road travel or air. By road, it is 3 hours’ drive starting from Kigali. From Kibuye, Gisenyi or Cyangugu, it is possible to reach Lake Kivu for a safari holiday. By air travel, take charter flight from Kigali airport to Gisenyi Airport.