Lake Kivu is the largest of numerous freshwater lakes that shimmer in the valleys of Rwanda. Steep terraced hills lead down to the picturesque lake shore, and three resort towns, Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu, are an ideal stopping point to relax, swim, or take a boat excursion past the small lakeside villages that offer a rewarding glimpse of rural life.
Set amid the dramatic mountains of the rift valley and the volcanic Virungas to the north, the irregular shores of Lake Kivu form numerous inlets and peninsulas and myriad forest-fringed waterfalls.
The lake is a 2650 square kilometre freshwater expanse and the largest of all the lakes that fill the valleys of Rwanda.
The beautiful lake is enclosed by the steep terraced hills that are characteristic of rural Rwanda and sitting on its shores are the three lakeside towns of Cyangugu, Kibuye and Gisenyi; the perfect tourist transit points between the Chimpanzee tracking destination of Nyungwe Forest National Park in the south, and gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans in the north.
Discovering these three colourful lakeside resort towns, pursuing the various water sports they have to offer, and boating to the numerous islands on the lake are just some of the activities available in the area.
The towns are connected by a wide roller-coaster road that tumbles through lush plantain fields and relic patches of misty rainforest to offer sweeping views over the shimmering lake. A charter boat service on the lake connecting the three towns is also available.
Birdlife around the lakes is fantastic including large numbers of pelicans, crowned cranes, malachite kingfishers and much more.