Bordering the western side of Rwanda and part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Lake Kivu is surrounded by magnificent mountains. Kivu’s emerald green waters cover a surface area of 2,700 km2 and is Rwanda’s largest lake and the sixth largest in Africa.

 Rabavu – previously known as Gisenyi – is a large town on the northern edge of the Lake. It is an hour’s drive from Volcanoes National Park and the perfect place to relax after gorilla trekking. Once a colonial beach resort, Rubavu’s waterfront is lined with fading old mansions, hotels and trendy bars on the lakeshore, ideal for sundowner cocktails.

 Karongi – half way along the lake, is a popular beach resort with hillsides covered in pines and eucalyptus serve as a backdrop to the sparkling lake. At dawn and dusk, the sound of local fisherman singing carries across the water as they paddle in unison.

 Rusizi – Located on the southern tip of the lake. Rusizi is a small town on the border with the DRC, with views across to the Congolese city of Bukavu. Rusizi is the closest town to Nyungwe National Park, which is about an hour’s drive away.



Kayaking is easy on Lake Kivu and many lake-front resorts provide professional, qualified guides who will be close at hand to guide you. Some of the types of kayak excursions offered are:


Mountain biking or hiking one of the 6 off-the-beaten path stages of the spectacular Congo Nile Trail. The Congo Nile Trail extends 227 kilometers of breathtaking landscapes, from Rabavu in the north, all the way to Rusizi in the south of Lake Kivu. The trail gently curves back and forth as it weaves through hills and mountains beside the lake with eucalyptus trees lining the road and every inch of the hills seemingly terraced with bananas.


The dry season from June to August and mid-December to mid-February is the best time for relaxing at Lake Kivu, with maximum and minimum temperatures just a bit cooler than that. These months are great for enjoying sunbathing or swimming at the lake. Birders can go exploring to catch sight of many of the 60 avian species at Lake Kivu. The long rains in this region occur from March to May, and especially in April. The short rains fall from September to November and into the beginning of December, bringing a burst of new vegetation that can be breathtakingly beautiful

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