Planning a getaway to a secluded Tropical Lake? Would you like to unwind after your wildlife safari within Akagera National Park or primate safari in Nyungwe or Volcanoes National Park? Then Lake Kivu is your perfect place to be where you also have the once in a lifetime opportunity of discovering some of the hidden Islands where Rwanda’s finest coffee beans are grown. With wetland-fringed shores, crystal clear waters and secluded Islands, this breathtaking treasure trove is one of Rwanda’s top safari destinations for relaxing of having vacations after a busy week.

Lake Kivu expanse and location

Sprawling in the western part of Rwanda, waters of this spectacular Lake Kivu are also shared by the Democratic Republic of Congo in addition to sitting within three magnificent towns of Gisenyi (sitting within the Northern ends of the Lake), Kibuye (about 100km South of Gisenyi) as well as Cyangugu (sitting in the Southern side of the water body).

Thanks to its total surface area of 1042 square miles (or 2700 square kilometers), Lake Kivu is interestingly Rwanda’s largest water body and also the 6th largest Lake in the entire African Continent. It boasts of phenomenal sceneries, tranquil white sand beaches as well as the sensational tropical climate are some of the reasons why travellers find it as their favorite refreshment or relaxation spot.

After your unrivalled experience within Volcanoes National Park- trekking the lovely mountain gorillas, searching for the endangered golden monkeys, hiking any of the Virunga Volcanoes (Bisoke or Karisimbi), making a stop at the spectacular Lake Kivu is a sure way to relish the jaw-dropping backdrop or enjoying your vacation to relax, chill and enjoy the cool breeze.

Adventures enjoyed at or within Lake Kivu

Whether you are yearning for adventurous water sports, a secluded day fishing or swimming, Lake Kivu has enough options for all kinds of travellers. You can try your hand at;

Unwinding as well as Beach games

Are you looking to unwind after a long week of working or looking to escape the hustles and bustles of Kigali City? Then think of Lake Kivu where you will be left open-mouthed at the end of the day. The beautiful white sandy beaches as well as atmosphere of Lake Kivu offer the ideal backdrop for relaxing in addition to enjoying numerous tourist adventures. The different ways of unwinding along the shores of Lake Kivu include beach soccer-football and volleyball, sunbathing, siesta under palm trees, to mention but a few.


Lake Kivu offers the perfect opportunity for swimming in Tropical Lakes and the absence of Hippos and crocodiles even make it safer to swim. Also, the warm temperatures (ranging from 23 to 27 Celsius degrees) offer the ideal chance of relaxing while swimming at any time of the day.

Enjoy crop-to-cup-coffee tours

Lake Kivu travellers can also enjoy crop-to-cup coffee tours that normally involve boat rides on the Lake until the verdant Nyamirundi Island. Here, visitors get the chance to learn about the entire process of picking coffee beans, washing them, drying, roasting and grinding before tasting at the end of the tour.

The Congo-Nile Trail

Part of the 227-kilometer long Congo-Nile trail runs through the shores of Lake Kivu and makes it easy for travellers to cycle or hike while enjoying breathtaking views of rolling hills, Islands and many other natural features. This also makes it possible to travellers to explore nearby villages, having up-close and personal encounters with locals in addition to photography. The Congo-Nile Trail starts from Gisenyi then goes along the magnificent and scenic shores of Lake Kivu until reaching Kamembe.

Adventurous watersports

Several adventurous watersports are possible within Lake Kivu and they are sport fishing, Kayaking, water skiing, sailing, boat rides, windsurfing and canoe rides. Nothing offers travellers the perfect relaxation then enjoying the cool Lake breeze after a busy and hectic work schedule.

Explore the popular Rosamond Carr Orphanage within Gisenyi, shores of Lake Kivu

Rosamond Carr Orphanage is not an ordinary place but historical site that offers information on the after-genocide life of survivors. The site was established in 1994 by Rosamond Carr at the age of 82 after the painful civil war that shaped part of Rwanda’s present and future. Many children were left homeless and orphans after the 1994 genocide and given the good and charitable spirit of Rosamond Carr, she decided to convert her flower shed into an Orphanage as a way of offering second lease of life to the Orphans and there were about 400 of them in the beginning.

The Orphanage was later named “Imbabazi”, meaning “a place where you will be offered love and care that a biological mother would give. While Rosa didn’t have biological children, she later became a mother to hundreds of orphans and it would interest you to know that she was a close friend to Dian Fossey.

Rosamond Carr later died on the 29th of September 2006 at the age of 94 years but her memories still live up to now with the tremendous works of the Imbabazi foundation as well as the flower farms that still exist.

The Orphanage was also renovated and also features a restaurant where you can savour on delicious meals, enjoy entertainment by the enthusiastic Imbabazi dancers in addition to relishing magnificent views of the Virunga Volcanoes.

Accommodation options for Lake Kivu visitors

The accommodation options for Lake Kivu visitors include Kivu Marina Bay Hotel, Cleo Lake Kivu Hotel, Peace Guest House, Cormoran Lodge, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel, Beach Resort, Paradis Malahide, the Palme Kivu Lodge, Moriah Hill Resort, Bethanie Guesthouse, to mention but a few.

How to get to the magnificent Lake Kivu

Located in the western side of Rwanda, Lake Kivu is mainly accessed from Kigali City and it takes an average road distance of 116 miles through tarred road that last about 3 hours to arrive Gisenyi Town.