Lake Kivu is known as one of the great lakes of the Rift Valley. It’s situated in the western region of Rwanda, surrounded by towering mountains. The lake has deep emerald waters that cover a surface area of 2,700 sq. km. It’s the second-largest lake in Rwanda and the sixth-largest lake in Africa.

With lush and terraced hills – Kivu is the leisure capital of Rwanda!

What lies in the name – The term Kivu literally translates to ‘Lake’ in the Bantu language. Isn’t that interesting?

Lake Kivu is renowned for having diverse species of aquatic and marine wildlife. It is home to 28 fish species as well as four freshwater species of crabs. The birdlife of Lake Kivu is also abundant, with around 300 species of birds. Such as ospreys, kingfishers, double-toothed barbet, yellow-bellied waxbill, pelicans, cranes, etc.


The following are the top 5 activities you can enjoy on a Rwanda Safari in Lake Kivu:

  • Swim in the Lake – Well, that has to be the foremost pick for any traveller!
  • Take your pick – Relax along the shores of the lake or take a scenic walk!
  • Enjoy a relaxing time in the hot springs of Bugarama and Kinigi!
  • Visit the coffee plantations and see fruit bats on the islands of Nyamirundi and Napoleon.
  • Hike or mountain biking along the scenic and marvellous Congo-Nile Trail – A Treat for adventurous travellers!

The following are the top 4 highlights of a tour in the city of Kigali:

  • An ideal starting point for a gorilla trekking adventure.
  • Ride on a motorbike taxi across the town – Feel the gentle breeze on your face while taking in the sights!
  • Discover the native art, history, and culture of Rwanda – in museums, the Genocide Memorial, Niyo Arts Gallery, Nyamirambo Women’s Center, etc.
  • Give your tastebuds the experience of native Rwanda Coffee – in Question Coffee Café. Visit the iconic beehive-shaped attraction of Kigali – the Kigali Convention Centre.

Getting There

Being the oldest Park in Africa lies along with the Virunga volcanoes which are shared between Rwanda, Uganda and DRC and its home to five of the 8 volcanoes. It’s just a two hour’s drive from the capital Kigali. Volcanoes National Park is Central for all people who come to Rwanda. The Normal and easy point to getting there is through Musanze, from the airport you can use both public and private means. You can pre-organize with a tour operator or hire a cab at the airport.

Best time

The dry season (from June to August and December to mid-February) is the perfect time to visit Lake Kivu. Travelling in the dry season is great if you want to enjoy swimming and sunbathing along the lake.

For birdwatching enthusiasts, the wet season is an ideal time for travelling to Lake Kivu. The long and short rains fall during this season (from March to April and September to November). This brings out a burst of greenery and countless birds to and around the lake.
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