Lake Kivu is one of the great lakes of East Africa situated between Congo (Kinshasa) to the west and Rwanda to the east. Lying at 4,790 feet (1,460 meters) above sea level, it occupies 1,040 square miles (2,700 square km) and is 55 miles (90 km) long (north-south) and 30 miles wide (east-west). From an average depth of 722 feet (220 meters), it plunges to a maximum of 1,558 feet (475 meters
It is a series of lakes in the eastern part of Africa’s Rift Valley, and is home to the world’s 10th-largest inland island. It is a beautiful place where the color of sea and sky are often so close that it is impossible to discern a horizon. And at any moment, it could explode.
The real joy of this area is driving between the towns, and it’s a lovely option for a slower route between Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park the road gently curves back and forth as it weaves through hills and mountains beside the lake from Gisenyi all the way to Cyangugu, with Kibuye almost at its centre point.
Lake Kivu’s three main towns are roughly 3-4 hours apart from each other.
Get even closer to the landscape with African Diurnal. We can help to arrange a stunning sunset kayak trip with singing fisherman on Lake Kivu, as well as multi-day paddling adventures that will leave you in awe.
Best time to visit Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is a year round destination, however the best time to visit is during the long dry season from June to September and the short dry season from mid-December to mid-February. During these months the weather is perfect for sunbathing on the sandy beaches, swimming in the lake, or enjoying water-based activities including kayaking and boat excursions. The dry months also offer ideal conditions for hiking and mountain biking in the lush hills.
The long rains occur from March to May, with April being particularly wet, and the short rains occur from October until the beginning of December. If you visit Lake Kivu during the wet seasons you can expect short heavy showers interspersed with sunshine, rather than continuous rain throughout the day. The rains bring a burst of new vegetation to the region and the landscape surrounding Lake Kivu becomes lush and beautiful.
Weather and climate in Lake Kivu
The record temperature in Lake Kivu raises about 85°F and it rains about 10.2in each month. It is for example 76°F as maximum temperature in august. Between September and October the climate is very bad. In average, on the morning it is 61°F.
How to get to Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is one of Africa’s Great Lakes of the Rift Valley. It lies in a beautiful region on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Most people come to Rwanda to track gorillas in Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe forest. Kigali International Airport (KGL), about 10km/6mi from the capital, Kigali, will be the entry point into the country. Rwanda is fairly small so Lake Kivu is easy to access from anywhere in the country. Most people visiting Lake Kivu will travel there from Kigali.
Rwanda Air operates a once-daily flight between Kigali and Kamembe airport outside Rusizi (formerly Cyangugu). Otherwise, main ports on Lake Kivu are most easily reached by road. Rusizi is about 220km/5 hours southwest of Kigali via Huye and Nyungwe National Park, whilst Karongi is 135km/2 hours west of Kigali and Rubavu is 155km/3 hours northwest via Musanze (the gateway town for gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park.
Lake Kivu is commonly visited as part of our combined destination on the safari package.