Lake Kivu features among the leading safari destinations that are frequently explored by visitors on Rwanda safaris. Considerably, it forms a section of the African Great Lakes just at the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) along the Albertine rift that makes up the western branch of the Great East African rift valley.
Lake Kivu features the outlet of River Ruzizi that flows to the south feeding into Lake Tanganyika. Count Adolf von Gotzen was the first European and German national to explore the Lake around 1894 and the Lake turned to be main dumping ground for genocide victims during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
The Lake covers an area of around 2700 square kilometers at altitude of about 1460 meters. 58 percent of its waters are located in the DRC while the rest in Rwanda. Lake Kivu’s bed straddles on the rift valley floor and it is continuously being pulled apart making volcanic activity and enhancing its depths to its recent maximum depth of about 1575 feet approximately 480 meters that makes it the 18th deepest Lake in the world and the best tourist attraction that is worth including in the bucket list while on your African safari in Uganda and Rwanda.
This Lake also comes with Idwiji that features as the 10th biggest Island in the world. There is also the stunning Tchegera Island that is situated around the Virunga National Park, DR Congo. Several Lake shores settlements are also available most of which include the Kabare, Bukavu, Kalehe, Sake and Goma in the DR Congo while in Rwanda the settlements are featured at Cyangugu, Kibuye and Gisenyi.
After gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park, spend time at Lake Kivu and enjoy activities like;
Lake Kivu is perfectly one of the fresh water Lakes with no crocodiles, hippos and Bilhazia. It features cool temperatures and if you are interested in cooling yourself during a hot sunshine, this is the perfect place that you should consider visiting. It is from this Lake that you can find beaches around its shores that come with fine sand where one can easily chill out in the mild sun after having amazing swim in the Lake. For exceptional swimming experiences, you can choose to start your swimming around Kibuye, Cyangugu and Gisenyi.
- Hiking and biking adventures
Visitors can also embark on a walk in the Lake’s beaches. Hiking adventures are worth taking while on safari in Lake Kivu especially for honeymooners. This comes with incredible views of the fresh water Lake and cool breezes from the waves that reward visitors with lifetime experiences.
- Water sports
You can set off for a local canoeing experience or use speed engine boats to cruise along the fresh water Lake so as to discover more about what this incredible country holds for the world. The boat cruise can be done within few meters on the Lake and interestingly, you can even have dinner especially for long boat rides to the main islands like Napoleon and Amahoro Island. Lake Kivu is worth visiting especially if you want to get out of the stress.
- Exploring Nyamirundi Island
Nyamirundi Island is located next to Gisenyi and much of coffee cultivation and processing is done in this place. A visit to the Island helps one explore more on the entire coffee processing and have opportunity to taste the locally processed and made coffee. You can explore more about other crops that are cultivated in the Island especially the bananas and other main food crops. Nyamirundi Island offers visitors with remarkable views of the terraced gentle slopes that come with coffee and banana plantations.
- Exploring Imbabazi orphanage
Imbabazi orphanage was established by the late Rosamond Carr to take care of the orphans whose parents lost lives during the terrific Rwandan genocide of 1994. Carr stayed in Rwanda for a good time and became close friends with Dian Fossey the famous American primatologist and conservationist. At the time of the genocide, the orphanage was transferred to another area because of the insecurity reasons and after the bloody genocide, it was permanently set up around Gisenyi and cares for about 400 orphans. This orphanage was re-established and well built and currently it features the most stunning gardens and restaurant which prepare delicious and standard food as well as amazing views of the surrounding areas including the Virunga Mountains.
- Wind surfing and many other water sports
Lake Kivu’s waters feature waves which support most of the water sporting experiences especially windsurfing, speed boat rides, sport fishing, kayaking and many more. You can hire kayaking and wind surfing gear around Gisenyi.
From the discussion above, Lake Kivu is one of the unique tourist attractions on its own way that are worth adding in the bucket list. It supports a number of exciting activities for visitors on Rwanda safari to enjoy with their dear ones.