Lake Kivu, Rwanda’s largest freshwater lake, provides visitors with gorgeous views, of emerald green waters surrounded by mountains. This is the place to come to relax between strenuous trekking activities on your Rwanda trip.
Stunning Lake Kivu is the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is 89km long and 48km wide, at its deepest point, it is 480m deep. Dotted with small uninhabited islands, it really is an idyllic scene.
Due to its location of a volcanic fault, Lake Kivu is actually a methane lake, so there is no wildlife in it, apart from a few species of fish. Gas is extracted from the lake bed and this provides about 4% of Rwanda’s energy.
- Rubavu (Gisenye): This bustling town borders DR Congo. It is now known as Rubavu though its previous name of Gisenye is still used. This is the perfect beach retreat, about an hour’s drive from Volcanoes National Park. It’s easy to explore on foot, a visit the bustling markets is fun. You can also take a guided walk up into the hillside over the town. The walkway was built by former genocide prisoners. At the top, you will be rewarded with panoramic views over the town and across to Goma in the DRC. Rubavo is a centre for agrotourism, with many tea and coffee plantations in the vicinity.
- Congo Nile Trail: Rubavu is the starting (or finishing) point of the Congo Nile Trail which extends to Rusizi, 227km to the south.
- Karongi: Around the mid-point on the lakeshore is the town of Karongi. It’s about 110km from Kigali and makes a good stop off for a lakeside break. From here you can visit Amahoro island and enjoy a ‘bean-to-cup’ coffee experience. Water sports are also available, though you may just prefer to relax lakeside and soak up the views.