The peaceful waters of Rwanda’s largest lake

The western border of Rwanda runs along the glassy waters of Lake Kivu, a grand freshwater lake in the Albertine Rift Valley and the largest in the country. Lake Kivu’s peaceful and safe waters conceal the significant amount of methane and carbon dioxide lurking in its depths, which scientists suspect is thanks to its contact with nearby volcanoes.

Take a meandering drive between the towns that dot the lake’s shore, through mountains and hills steeped in terraced tea plantations. Brushstrokes of sandy beaches paint the lakeshore where visitors can feel the sand between their toes before jumping into the cool water for a swim in its safe and predator-free waters. 

Lake Kivu owes its genesis to the tectonic rifting and the nearby Virunga volcanoes which also had a hand in the creation of the spectacular landscape surrounding the lake. Two unique national parks in this area provide experiences like no other: the Nyungwe Forest National Park boasts a spectacular biodiversity of flora and fauna in an untouched tropical rainforest setting, while the Volcanoes National Park – made famous by the film Gorillas in the Mist - offers access to more than half of the world’s mountain gorillas.


  • Lauded as one of the most beautiful of the central African Lakes
  • The lake offers sandy beaches and cool waters in a land-locked country
  • Its predator-free waters are superb for boat cruises, swimming, and water sports 
  • Its shores are lined with tranquil beaches
  • The towns of Gisenyi and Kibuye are quaint and peaceful and offer a variety of accommodation
  • Best time to go:
  • Best
  • Mixed

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