Where to go

Lake Kivu

Africa's sixth largest lake on Rwanda's western border

Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu

Located in the west of the country, dominating the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is the sixth largest lake in Africa, Lake Kivu. Covering more than 2,500 square kilometres, the lake is particularly deep (with a maximum depth of 485 metres) because of its position on the rift valley and exposure to volcanic activity. Along the lake border are a series of towns that are well worth a visit, especially as it sits on route between two wildlife destinations in Rwanda – the Volcanoes National Park and the Nyungwe Forest National Park.


Situated on the northern edge of Lake Kivu’s border is Gisenyi (which has recently been renamed as Rubavu). This is one of the most popular towns to visit, and no wonder, with a hub of lakeside hotels and bars. Some of these hotels, including Lake Kivu Serena Hotel and Paradise Malahide, offer watersport activities out on the lake, and there is an average beach in the town.


The town of Kibuye is located in the central area of Lake Kivu, and as far as aesthetics go for a lakeside town, this is the ‘prettiest’ of them all. The town is relatively small and offers fantastic views out to the expansive lake and the small islands it homes. There is quite a lot of history behind Kibuye and as a small town, it was affected by the Rwandan genocide. There is a small village of Bisesero that is walkable from Kibuye, which is home to a genocide memorial and surrounding beautiful scenery.


This is the most southern town that sits on the shores of Lake Kivu. Although only a 45-minute drive to nearby Nyungwe Forest National Park, there are limited options for accommodation in Cyangugu.

Recommended for: 

Best time to visit Lake Kivu:

  • YJan
  • YFeb
  • YMar
  • MApr
  • MMay
  • YJun
  • YJul
  • YAug
  • YSep
  • YOct
  • YNov
  • YDec
  •   = Yes   = No   = Maybe

    At a glance... Lake Kivu

  • Size 2,700 square kilometres
  • Location Western border of Rwanda
  • Recommended time 2 to 4 nights
  • Time to visit Year round
  • Safari Activities Watersports, walking, relaxing
  • Topography Lake
  • Further reading...

  • › Luxury African Safari
  • › Africa Honeymoon
  • › Best time to visit Africa
  • › Best time to visit Rwanda
  • Our top five hotels & lodges in %1:

    We currently have no content for this heading. Please view the other headings for more information.

    Our recommended top travel itineraries for Mikumi National Park:

    Oops. New travel itineraries for this destination are coming soon. Please call us in the UK on +44 1525 840 149 or in the USA on +1-917-336-2937 to have us create a custom itinerary for you. Or visit our luxury travel itineraries page to explore what's currently available.