Top safari activities to do on Lake Kivu in Rwanda : The vibrant Lake Kivu, one of the lesser Great Lakes of Africa, is located in western Rwanda, on the country’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the biggest of the many picturesque lakes that dot the country. Its lowest point is approximately 485 metres deep, making it the third deepest.

The lake and its surroundings have a distinct atmosphere that is similar to that of an inland freshwater sea. Dotted with volcanic islands, with stunning beaches, hillside terraces, and fishing communities all surrounding it, creating a dramatic, gorgeous, and utterly delightful backdrop. It’s almost possible to romanticize being in the Caribbean at night, with its starry skies, pleasant weather, and sound of waves crashing onto sandy beaches.

Visitors to Lake Kivu will be captivated by a plethora of cultural events and rwanda safari activities, but before we get started, let’s talk a little bit about something a little darker lurking beneath the crystal-clear waters.

As one of Africa’s most peculiar lakes with peculiar characteristics, Kivu attracts scientists’ attention as a possible source of both danger and wealth for the native Rwandans who live along the lake’s edge and in its environs.

One of the three lakes in the world that experiences limnic eruptions is this one, which has made it famous. These potentially fatal eruptions occur when the gases held in the lake primarily carbon dioxide and methane are abruptly released into the atmosphere.

One of many lakes bordering the East African Rift Valley, where the continent is gradually being torn apart by tectonic forces, is Lake Kivu, which straddles the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Don’t worry, it won’t happen anytime soon because it is splitting apart at a rate of around 6 mm per year, which means we will have to wait about 10 million years for it to happen.

Because of the tension this movement places on the Earth’s crust, hot springs are formed beneath Kivu, supplying hot water, carbon dioxide, and methane to the lake’s lower layers. Methane is produced as a byproduct of microorganisms using some of the CO2 and organic matter that is sinking from above to make energy. More methane than any other lake in the world is thought to be trapped in Lake Kivu’s waters, which could have catastrophic results in the future. But, if this energy source is safely tapped, it could also produce enough electricity to power Rwanda for several hundred years.

Top activities to do on Lake Kivu.

Because it is the largest lake in Africa devoid of hippos and crocodiles, Lake Kivu is an excellent location for swimming safely and engaging in a range of water sports.

  1. Kayaking and Water Sports.

Spend a few hours, a full day, or even several days kayaking the lake’s crystal-clear blue waters under the expert guidance of a highly qualified and experienced kayak leader. Take in the breathtaking scenery, meet local fishermen, visit hot springs, and keep an eye out for local wildlife, including long-tailed cormorants, flocks of pelicans, crowned cranes, tiny malachite kingfishers, and Congo clawless otters. On the lake, paddle boarding, wind surfing, and water skiing are some more well-liked water safari activities.

  1. Boat Cruises.

A delightful and peaceful lake tour; lengthier boat cruises go to the Amahoro and Munini Islands; the latter is also known as Napoleon Island since it resembles the hat worn by the victorious Frenchman. You can come face to face with the island’s sizable colony of fruit bats after a quick and reasonably easy ascent. Fish eagles, a large variety of water birds, and enormous African millipedes, known locally as shongololo, are also present. Sometimes, you might even happen onto a water snake, or “Inzocor.” Imagine yourself there, enjoying a glass of wine as the sun sets on a calm day spent touring the stunning Lake Kivu, should you want to go on an evening cruise. This makes boat crises one of the top safari activities to do on lake kivu.

Top safari activities to do on Lake Kivu in Rwanda
Boat Cruise On Lake Kivu
  1. Sport Fishing.

Lake Kivu offers excellent fishing for those who are serious about fishing. Approximately thirty different species of fish have been documented in the lake, and as a reward for your efforts, you are permitted to keep one fish. You can even bring the fish back to your accommodation, where the chef will expertly prepare and cook it so you can enjoy your catch over dinner and a glass of wine.

  1. Island Hopping and Coffee.

There are numerous islands in Lake Kivu, the largest of which is Nyamirundi Island, which is the location of a sizable coffee plantation. You may discover every step of the coffee-making process right here, from harvesting to drying and roasting, and of course, the chance to taste some incredibly fresh, organic, and highly-regarded Rwandan coffee for yourself at the end.

Many of the lake’s uninhabited islands are available for overnight camping reservations in advance for anyone wishing to enjoy the peace and quiet of the lake while camping beneath the stars.

  1. Mountain Biking and Hiking.

The entire country of Rwanda offers excellent mountain biking and hiking paths. Among the most well-known is the 160-mile “bikepacker” Congo Nile Trail, which spans five days and passes through some of the most breathtaking terrain and trekking paths in Africa. While the breadth and duration of the mountain bike and hiking paths surrounding Lake Kivu are not as great, they do pass through thriving local settlements and along the stunning lakeshore, providing wonderful alternate options for exploring the area.

  1. Bird watching.

Bird watching is among the top safari activities to do on lake kivu. With over 700 species documented throughout the “land of a thousand hills,” Rwanda is a feast for ardent birders. If you want to tick off as many new “lifers” as you can, Lake Kivu is a site you shouldn’t miss. You can go in search of Bronzed Sunbirds, Common Waxbills, Crimson-rumped Waxbills, Bronze Manikins, Speckled Pigeons, African Fish Eagles, Spotted Cardinal Woodpeckers, African Pied Wagtails, Yellow-throated Greenbuls, Chin-spot Batis, Ashy Flycatchers, White-tailed Blue Flycatchers, and Tropical Boubou, to name a few, by going on nature walks through the surrounding forests and along the lakeshores. Make sure you have your binoculars handy.

  1. The Singing Fishermen.

One of the favorite things to do in the area around Lake Kivu is undoubtedly this. It’s really different from the saline seadogs of the past, where you may envision people singing shanties after a few beers.

Something truly unique happens on the lake’s crystal-clear, blue waters almost every evening. Hundreds of unique, hand-built, three-hulled fishing boats depart from the towns dotting the lakeshore as dusk draws near. These intriguing boats gradually take on a silhouette against the evening sky thanks to the long poles that are often connected to their bows and sterns.

Sails are not really useful in the quiet of the evening because there is very little wind. Instead, each fishing team paddles out with amazing speed and agility. They also sing in time to coordinate their paddle strokes and to support one another. They search for the deep water in small groups, casting their nets and fishing all night long a few kilometres out into the lake.

They make for an amazing sight to witness, and you can observe them comfortably from the shore from Bralirwa (7km from Gisenyi), the inlets of Kibuye, or coastal communities like Cyimbili or Kinunu. However, you are welcome to take your own kayak out onto the lake and paddle out with them. This is by far the greatest way to watch the fishing boats, get a close-up look at their crews, and watch the sunset as it sets over the ocean. You can only truly appreciate the fishermen’s singing and their close-up paddling techniques while you are out on the water.

Fishing boats arrive to take their positions as twilight gives way to night. The Isambaza, a sort of little sardine, and the tasty Tilapia, a larger fish, are drawn to the fishermen’s nets by lighting. A starry sky quickly emerges from Lake Kivu, illuminated by the lights of the numerous fishing boats strewn across the water. It appears to be both romantic and breathtaking from one of the luxury lodges, guesthouses, or even a private island camping that are located along the coastlines.

The work that fisherman do on the water is not easy. Because of Lake Kivu’s distinct physical features, which tend to restrict the amount of fish it can support, the size of the captures is often small. The fishermen work all year long, although they take a few days off around the full moon every month, as well as in September and October, to give the fish time to spawn again.

Kayaking on Lake Kivu has become a popular rwanda safari activity in Gisenyi and Kibuye, partly because of the sight of the fishing boats leaving for the night. Thus, if you plan your trip appropriately, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible experience that is unmatched in Rwanda in addition to having a great time on the water.

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