The restful shores of Lake Kivu provide a great place for swimming, sunbathing and water sports activities. The most developed of the three resort towns, Gisenyi, is under an hour by car from the Volcanoes National Park and has colonial architecture, attractive palm-lined sandy beach and crystal waters. Drawn in by the sweet waters of the lake, the birdlife of Lake Kivu is also prolific with kingfishers, pelicans and cranes all gracing its shores.
Heading south of Gisenyi, you will reach Kibuye, whose hills are filled with pine trees and eucalyptus, which would not be out of place in the Alps. Access to Kibuye is easy from Kigali, which makes it a popular spot for both Rwandans, who enjoy coming to the lake as a weekend retreat from the city, as well as international visitors who soak up the laid-back lakeside atmosphere.
Cyangugu is situated closer to Nyungwe Forest and is the least developed of the three towns for tourism, characterised by small inlets that weave in and out of the encompassing valleys. Away from these three more established towns and transiting between them you will witness the rural splendour of the ancient lake lifestyle, with many traditional dugout canoes that gently ply the lake’s waters, colourful costumes and local residents playing iningire guitars and troubadours.
Lake Kivu can be a great choice of destination either before or after gorilla tracking in the Volcanoes National Park, or even as part of a more extensive itinerary of the country, perhaps breaking up the long journey between the Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest.