Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is located in the western part of Rwanda and is shared with Democratic Republic of Congo with luxurious beaches, great tropical weather, and beautiful scenery. The lake provides the ideal place for rest and recuperation while on your Rwanda safari.

This lake is among the African Great Lakes and lies at the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda in the Albertine Rift Valley at the western Arm of the East African Rift Valley. The lake empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika; Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest lake, and the sixth largest lake in Africa.

The lake has an extraordinarily beautiful inland sea enclosed by steep, green terraced hills and islands; it can be accessed and visited through Kigali as part of your Rwanda safaris tour. It is located on a tourism circuit making it an ideal stopover while on your Rwanda safaris including all national parks like Volcanoes national park, Nyungwe forest national park and Akagera national Park. Lake Kivu covers most of the western border of Rwanda with the attractions bring Gisenyi, kibuye, and Cyangugu, which all lie along the shores of the lake.

Gisenyi is the most developed of all sites and it takes fewer hours to drive from the volcanoes national park and Kigali, it is set on a sandy beach lined with swaying palms and colonialera hotels

Kibuye is located between Gisenyi and Cyangugu in the center along the shores of Lake Kivu with tourist activities centered on a modern lake-shore guesthouse overlooking pine-covered hills, and boat trips from here to Gisenyi.

Cyangugu is the least developed and modernized for Rwanda safari tours and different from the other two, it is the closest to Nyungwe Forest, it has great community engagements and beautiful views of the Democratic Republic of Congo with limited lake activities except the fishermen

With great interactions with the locals on the shores of the lake, you will notice how they are generally laid back exhibiting the phrase ‘hakuna matata’ to its fullness, Fishermen ply the waters in dugout canoes on their usual routine of laying their nets for a possible catch of the fishes which is sold in hotels and restaurants in town, and the rest is taken to Kigali town for smoking and some for home consumption. An frican safaris boat ride in the traditional dugout canoes as you listen to the ‘lake ‘histories and stories’ from the fishermen and participating in the fishing competitions . The place is teaming with water birds like pelicans sailing, Grey crowned cranes, pied and malachite kingfishers best for bird watching safaris for birders

Accommodations around Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, located 3km from the centre of Gisenyi. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant and an onsite bar

Hotel Paradise Malahide, located 2.2 miles from Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Five volcanoes Boutique Hotel, located 29 miles from Lake Kivu serene Hotel

The Garden Place Hotel, this hotel is located 29.5miles from the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel. Other accommodations include the Garden Place Hotel, Gorillas Volcanoes hotel, La Locanda, Ruhondo Beach Resort, Fatima Hotel, among others

Things to do and see around Lake Kivu


There are various lakes in the continent of Africa of which you can’t swim in but Lake Kivu is not only a lake where you can relax and chill out, but also you can swim in the lake. Lake Kivu is the best lake in Rwanda and that includes swimming in the lake. The temperatures at the lake are just right and the water is not too cold and can give better refreshment. Referable tourists on their African safari tour, Lake Kivu is worth your tour with no hippos, crocodiles and it is bilharzias free

Water sports

The has a lot of water sports to indulge, from padding to one of the explorable island to sailing across this beautiful lake such as water-skiing, windsurfing, exploring the lake on a motorboat

Hiking and biking around and near Lake Kivu

The lake is a perfect place for longer and short hikes, nature walks and bike rides which includes venturing out on the newly developed Nile-Congo trail where you can make one day life experience. You can also include in your hiking and biking safaris, village visits, cultural interactions which are an enriching experience for all your African safaris in Rwanda.

Rosamond Carr imbabazi Orphanage-Gisenyi

Imbabazi Orphanage was started by Rosamond who lived for many years I the Mugongo area where she started a flower plantation that supplied hotels with fresh flowers from Kigali to locally. She was a close friend to Dian Fossey. In 1994 she began the imbabazi Orphanage which moved several times but as security returned to the area, the orphanage returned to the Gisenyi area

Rosamond Carr died in2006 but her memory lives on through the flower farms, and the Imbabazi Foundation’s work with children