Lake Kivu Rwanda.
As one of Africa’s Greatlakes, Lake Kivu lies along the border of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is located in the western arm of the East African Albertine rift, lying at 1,460 m above sea level and covering a surface area of 2,700 Square Km. In Rwanda, Lake Kivu lies in the western Province and is surrounded by magnificent terraced hills with the shores being densely populated. Ranked the largest in Rwanda, 6th in Africa and among the world’s 20 deepest freshwater body, the lake shores are lined with pretty towns of Gisenyi, Karongi and Changungu which are mainly touristic places to relax and settle into for a couple of days during your exciting safari in Rwanda. After your exciting and perhaps tiring activities like gorilla trekking safari, golden monkey, hiking in Volcanoes national park, Chimpanzee tracking, canopy walk, primate walk in Nyungwe forest and game viewing in Akagera national park, Lake Kivu shore line becomes your ideal relaxing place to be.
Gisenyi currently Known as Rubavu is the largest and most developed among the towns, Rubavu is located along the northern edge of lake kivu and lies about 1 hour drive from Volcanoes national park and approximately 3 hours drive from Rwanda’s capital Kigali. The beautiful Rubavu’s waterfront is lined with palm trees, beaches, bars, Guest and hotels which create a perfect place to relax on. The place has few formal activities to do such as coffee tours in Kimbiri coffee farm, Boat ride to see the hot springs, Methane gas chemical plant which set in lake and expected to increase on Rwanda’s energy generation capacity. But tourists after or before gorilla trekking in Rwanda, DR Congo and from a Uganda Safari enjoy being here. Gisenyi on the other hand offers sightings for old colonial buildings and chance to do local market shopping.
Kibuye/ Karongi lies west of Rwanda, located between Gisenyi and Cyangugu and Rusizi on the shoreline of Lake Kivu. This place has no many tourism activities but offers beautiful scenery with it popular beach resort surrounded by eucalyptus and pine trees. On your stay at Kibuye, you can enjoy the boat ride around and witness local fishermen peddling their fishing boats.
Cyangugu/ Rusizi town which is lies south of Rwanda is one of the closest town from Nyungwe forest. It’s is divided into two, the upper Rusizi which is perched 150m above the water and small lower town set alongside the river Rusizi as it exits the Lake. A short dugout boat ride from this place leads a you to Gihaya and Nkombo islands which support adversity of birdlife. Rusizi is the closest access to Kahuzu biega National park for travelers interested in Lowland gorillas across in DR Congo.
Congo Nile trail:
The Scenic Congo Nile trail stretches from Rubavu/ Gisenyi to Rusizi along a 227 kms of existing road and motor bike tracks. This trail is divided into 10 stages and takes 10 days to complete the whole trail on foot. However, it will take 5 days by bicycle.
This journey from Rubavu to Rusizi will take 1 to 2 days by 4WD vehicle while sleeping at various lake shore resorts in town Kibuye/ Karongi.
Both of the 3 lake shore towns have beautiful Upmarket, mid-range and Low budget hotels, and Guest house set up in best tourism style and some built with local architectural design using available local materials. Because all above, Lake Kivu is definitely a place worse a visit as part of your safari itinerary or for a weekend you work and reside in Rwanda.