Lake Kivu

“There are lovely villas along the tree-lined shore… a beautiful white sandy beach… the lake is crystal clear. This is a spot that deserves a longer stay.” – Daniel Stiles, writing about Gisenyi on Lake Kivu in Swara magazine

Lake Kivu is an extraordinarily beautiful inland sea enclosed by steep, green terraced hills along the Congolese border Three resort towns, Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu stand on the littoral, connected by a wild roller-coaster road that tumbles through lush plantain fields and relic patches of misty rainforest to offer sweeping views over the blue water.

This lake is also the largest of all of the fresh water lakes that are found within the valleys of Rwanda. There are also the steep, terraced hills that lead led down to the lake shores and the three resort towns. These include; Kibuye, Gisenyi and Cyangugu. These towns are also a treat in between the active hikes to find the mountain gorillas and the chimpanzees in volcanoes and in Nyungwe forest National Park.

The visitors here relax, swim and also take a boat cruise past the small lake side villages that give a look into the rural life. These towns are also connected by the large roller coaster road that hand springs through the lush plantation field and the remainder patches of the rain forest which offers the sweeping views that overlook the glittering lake.

This lake is located among the histrionic mountains of the rift valley and the volcanic VirungaMountains to the north, the shores of the lake also form variety inlets and the capes plus the forest fringed waterfalls. This lake is set with in the rift valley that makes it one of the deepest lake in the world. It’s about 2650 sq km dotted with fresh water straddling and the largest of all lakes that fill the valleys of Rwanda. It also pours its water into Ruzizi River which flows south wards into Lake Tanganyika.

The guests can view the local fishermen as they oar through the waters in the traditional dugout canoes and the women decorate the villages, play the guitars and also smoke from the wooden pipes. This lake is also a good place in between the gorilla tours and the chimpanzee trekking in the nearby national parks. You can have the well organised boat tours that give the visitors a good way of adventuring the areas of the lake and the nearby rural life that lives out in the villages at the edges of the lake.

After enjoying mountain gorilla trekking or chimpanzee trekking, you can relax at the lake and it’s the best place for resting and healing. The guests that are interested in sun bathing, swimming or water sports, the Rivera town of Gisenyi is the best area for this. And in case you need both physical and mental relaxation, we also recommend Kibuye Guest House that is located in the south of the lake. In case you love speed boats, canoes, mountain walks, sailing or the picnics, Kibuye will give you these facilities in plenty.

The many different activities on Lake Kivu include; boating to the many islands of the lake, fishing, bird watching, canoeing, swimming and many more.

It is one of the classic road journeys in all of Africa There is also charter boat service on the lake connecting the 3 towns.

Gisenyi, the most developed of these resorts, lies less than an hour’s drive from the Parc des Volcans, and is set on a sandy beach lined with swaying palms and colonial-era hotels that exude an atmosphere of tropical languor. At Kibuye, to its south, tourist activities are centred on a modem lakeshore guesthouse overlooking pine-covered hills seemingly transplanted from the Alps. Different again is Cyangugu, close to Nyungwe Forest, whose more subdued tourist development is compensated for by a stirring setting of curving inlets winding into narrow valleys.

Lake Kivu is the largest of numerous freshwater bodies that shimmer in the valleys of Rwanda. Lakes Burera and Ruhondo, close to the gorilla-tracking centre of Ruhengeri, are oft-neglected gem, deep blue waters ringed by steep hills and tall waterfalls, with the nearby Virunga Volcanoes providing a spectacular backdrop.

Away from the main resorts, Rwanda’s lakes offer visitors rewarding glimpses into ancient African lifestyles. Here, fishermen ply the water in dugout canoes unchanged in design for centuries, while colourfully dressed ladies smoke traditional wooden pipes and troubadours strum sweetly on stringed iningire (traditional ‘guitars’) And. the birdlife is fantastic; flotillas of pelicans sail ponderously across the open water majestic crowned cranes preen their golden crests in the surrounding swamps, while jewel-like malachite kingfishers hawk silently above the shore.

Gisenyi town also has developed resorts that lie few hour’s drive from Volcanoes National park and is also set on the sandy beach which is lined with the palms and the colonial era hotels that emit a good atmosphere of the tropical idleness. This lake is also the largest of the many fresh water bodies that sparkle in the valleys of Rwanda. The lakes of Ruhondo and Burera are so close to gorilla trekking centre of Ruhengeri and these have got blue waters that are ringed by the steep hills and the tall waterfalls near Virunga Volcanoes which gives a great back drop.