Lake Kivu is located in the Albertine Rift which borders between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda in the western branch of East Africa. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika. Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest lake covering an area of 2,700-kilometer squares, and the sixth largest lake in Africa which empties into the Ruzizi River and it flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika. Lake Kivu has three major towns of Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu and is a well-developed town and is visited by many tourists. Lake Kivu is one of a string of huge freshwater lakes which lie along Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Lake Kivu offers you different activities which you can participate in while on your safari in Rwanda
Lake Kivu is known as one of the few lakes in Rwanda free of bilharzia which is a common parasite found in southern Africa, making its waters safe for swimming. It’s also free of dangerous wildlife like hippos and crocodiles. There are beautiful beaches along the lakeshores with fine sand where one can relax in the mild sun after having a great swim in the lake.
A boat trip on Lake Kivu gives you an opportunity to explore more of the land of a thousand hills. Excursion boat rides can be made within a few meters of the lake even while having dinner while other longer trips can be made to the major islands in the lake especially Napoleon and Amahoro Island. Relaxing on cruises and water trips on the lake makes you feel home away from home. Lake Kivu is also a birding paradise for bird lovers.
Visiting Nyamirundi Island which is near Gisenyi and a lot of coffee growing and processing is done around the area. A visit to the island enables one to learn about the whole coffee growing process and get a chance to taste the locally processed and made coffee. There are also other crops grown on the island like bananas and other major food crops. The island provides beautiful views of the terraced gently sloping islands covered with coffee and banana plantations.
Visiting the Imbabazi orphanage is a lifetime change, the orphanage was set up by the late Rosamond Carry to take care of the children who were left orphans by the terrible Rwandese genocide. Carry had lived in Rwanda for some time and was a close friend to Dian Fossey a mountain gorilla conservationist. During the genocide, the orphanage had to be moved from one place to another due to insecurity reasons however after the genocide in 1994, it was permanently moved back to Gisenyi and at that time the orphanage was home to over 400 orphans. The orphanage was reconstructed and well-built and today it has beautiful gardens, has a restaurant that prepares classic and standard food, and also provides great views of the Virunga volcanoes in the background.
Holidaymakers have been attracted to the beautiful sandy beaches around Lake Kivu and these encourage relaxation due to the cool breeze and natural waves. The beaches are surrounded by mountains that make it an outstanding sight and a perfect place to relax. Many gorilla trekkers relax along these beaches to cool off.
Lake Kivu is a fantastic tourist attraction, which one should not miss out on while on your safari in Rwanda. If you’re visiting for a gorilla safari, this is a relaxing destination to top your adventure in Rwanda.