Lake Kivu
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Top ways to experience Lake Kivu
The area
Best nearby
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Attractions
1 within 6 miles

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
97 reviews
Excellent
66
Very good
22
Average
9
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Kirsten J
2 contributions
Mar 2020 • Friends
John is 27, a really nice local guy who takes you on a 3-4 hours boat trip. We really enjoyed ourselves. We even spent more time after the trip in the nearby beach bar to hear something about the ruandan culture. His English is really good and he has a lot of information to give. We can really recommend him! And he had student pricing!

Phone number: 00250784666529
Prices around 30.000 RWF for all three islands, with sun protection
Written March 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kenneth K
Abuja, Nigeria35 contributions
Dec 2022 • Couples
It was an interesting trip, boat riding on Lake Kivu, and enjoying interesting stories about the lake and it's islands. My guides took turns to explain the biodiversity of the islands, as well as the distinct Geography of the area. Was lovely to also spot the bats on Napoleon island, and the cattle and sheep which had swarm from the mainland around.
Written April 15, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rashid3000
Faisalabad, Pakistan82 contributions
Oct 2021
Lake Kivu is one of the Great African Lakes that lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It is part of the Albertine Rift. Lake Kivu provides its water to the great Ruzizi River that flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika. It has a surface area of 2,700 sq. km, with a maximum width of 48 km and a length of 89 km. It is a lifeline of Gisenyi town. On the Rwandese side, the lake forms many spectacular sandy beaches. Rubavu Public Beach is one of the most famous ones among others. some locals claim Lake Kivu now has bilharzia in it and we have to take Bilharzia pills before a dip into the lake.
Written January 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michelle B
Cleveland, Ohio, United States358 contributions
Dec 2014 • Couples
There are a lot of ways to enjoy Lake Kivu, we mainly experienced it by hiking the Congo Nile Trail along the lake from Gisenyi/Rubavu to Kibuye, but before hiking the trail we also did a Traditional Night Fishing Experience in Rubona (outside Rubavu).

First of all, Night Fishing Experience was arranged through the RDB tourism office (i emailed a few weeks in advance, our guide for the experience (who was also our wonderful guide for the congo nile trail) came to Paradis Malahide where we were staying and then we walked just down the street to where the boats dock. The night fishing experience, I will way, was not a good one, but there are aspects of it that are really cool and with a little knowledge, you could have a good experience, for sure. We did come away with an incredible story and a totally authentic experience. The ride out on the lake (the first Hour, i'd say) are great. If you could hire the fisherman to just take you out on the lake and then return you to sure without the actual fishing part, that might be ideal. The two boats on the outside of the center boat have men rowing in unison by whistling and singing to keep in sync. It is amazing how strong and hardworking these guys are! They have some fun with it as well, throwing up oars occasionally. Once they get out on the lake, they put the nets out and extend the boats to spread the nets as it gets dark. Then they light the gas lanterns to attract the fish to the nets. Gas lanterns pump out black smoke that you cannot get away from because you are on a boat. If you are at all sensitive to breathing massive amounts of smoke, you will start to feel a bit ill. If you are female, be aware that you will be the only female on board and they will not have though about what to do when you need to use the restroom. Prepare to use the plastic contain used to bale the water from the boat while the men turn their backs and move to the other end of the boat. It will get chilly at night, so take warm clothing and waterproof jackets and rain pants in case a storm blows in, as happened to us. The waves get a bit choppy if that happens, so be prepared that you may get seasick, which has never happened to me before, but in combination with the smoke fumes, both of us became quite ill. Our wonderful guide tried to hold a piece of plastic over us the whole time and did all he could to keep our experience on the pleasant side, but soon I was vomiting into the same container I had just used to urinate in! We were out on the boats from at 5:30pm to 12:30am, even though we were told we'd be back around 10pm....but the fish weren't coming to the nets because of the storm, so we had to stay out later. It was a grueling night, but the fishermen do this EVERY night no matter the weather. They work SO hard. After they took up the nets and got a measly amount of fish because of the storm, they rowed us back to Paradis Malahide. We tipped our guide and fisherman (it wasn't anyone's fault our experience wasn't good. they don't control the weather or our sea sickness and they are just trying to make a living).

If you want to have some experience with traditional night fishing, here are some tips: See if they will just take you out on the water and bring you back before they do their fishing for the night. OR, just stay at Paradis Malahide or one of the other nearby hotels and walk down to where the boats take off and watch them leave. The boys of the night fishermen all come see their dads off each night, until they grow old enough to join the ranks of the fishermen. If you really want to go out for the night fishing experience, perhaps bring a mask so you don't have to inhale the fumes, and check the weather to see if there is a storm brewing. Also, eat dinner before you go because there won't be anything for you to eat while you are out there. As far as shoes go, you need rain boots, not waterproof hiking boots. Maybe pick some up in Gisenyi beforehand and then donate them to the fisherman afterwards if you don't want to keep them. Your feet will be in 6+ inches of water at times in the boat. Be prepared that no accommodations/changes are going to be made just because there is a tourist along with them. It will be an authentic experience, for certain. They are kind and when we saw them the next day at the market/boat dock they shook our hands and were very friendly. We watched them go out the next night, but we were very glad to this time be on land!
Written January 12, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Johann&Sandra
8,376 contributions
Lake Kivu is a huge lake on the border between Rwanda and Congo. There are a number of hotels along the shores of varying quality, a small stretch of beach in the vicinity of the Serena Hotel, and of course a few boat rides you can do. The town of Gisenyi is on one side of the border, while Gomo is on the other. Nothing too exciting about Gisenyi really. The lake is nice to relax by though, as most lakes are.

The area around the lake is quite lovely, but so is most of Rwanda. If you're making your base here to see the Mountain Gorillas, keep in mind that Volcanoes Park is a good 1.5 hours (they tell you 1 hour, but we drove fast and it took nearly 2 hours) from Kivu. Better to stay up near the park. The road here is good from the park, though, and the countryside is interesting to watch.

Really I don't see enough attraction here to warrant going out of your way for, it's more like if you live in Rwanda or Congo which are inland countries, this is a nice place to take the family to the beach and swimming. On our trip, we visited the Kenyan and Tanzanian coastlines, so Kivu was not really a necessary side trip in hindsight. It's celebrated because of the lack of other tourist areas in Rwanda I think.

Many guides will suggest dining at the Serena Hotel - I strongly advise against it. We did not have a good experience dining there, and you can read in the hotel reviews many other people who had similar experiences. Much better options, from local to nice.
Written October 15, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Scullyster
Colorado Springs, CO260 contributions
Aug 2018 • Solo
When I arrived in Kibuye & was walking to my hotel, a young man named Choban approached me & told me to call him for a boat ride. The next day I just happened to run into Choban again and decided to take the boat ride with him. As a woman traveling alone, I was a bit nervous, but I’m so glad I took the trip with Choban. His motor boat was outfitted with life vests. It was covered to keep the sun off. Even though the boat could have held at least 10-12 people, I was the only passenger. For 19,000 francs (about $21), we were gone for about 2 hours. First, we went to Monkey Island, where 4 monkeys live & where we took a short hike to the top of the hill on the island, while a monkey hiked with us. Choban pointed out Cow Island, so named because of the infamous swimming cows, and Napoleon Island, so named because it resembles Napolean’s hat. Then, we boated to Peace Island, where we hiked around the perimeter & Choban photographed me with Napolean’s hat in the background so that it appeared in the photo that the island hat was on my head. As we boated on beautiful Lake Kivu, he pointed out, & told stories about, other islands, including the island in the distance belonging to Democratic Republic of Congo. Choban’s English is good & he was an informative & interesting guide & eager to take photos of me. His phone # is 250787040518. What a fun & memorable afternoon I had boating with Choban on beautiful Lake Kivu!
Written September 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nasta293841
Kampala, Uganda1 contribution
Oct 2012 • Friends
Lake Kivu a must see lake.from Rwanda,it over looks Goma.you must reach there and see for your self what this great lake has to offer your eyes
Written March 27, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kenson60
Northern California41 contributions
Oct 2018 • Couples
Upon reading the review and recommendation of previous reviewer Scullyster, I called his cell number and contacted Choban for a cruise of the lake. Things were pretty much as described and on point as previous reviews. I think one big reason to come to Kibuye is to take on such a boat cruise, otherwise there isn’t much to do around town. Choban was cordial and helpful as a boat captain. I had quite an enjoyable time visiting the 2 islands, Neapolitan and Monkey. I do want to point out though, that the fee I paid (and what he asked for), was not what the previous reviewer indicated. He now charges 1500 RWF per hour, and when we returned he told me we had gone over the two hour mark and therefore I owed him a sum of 4000 RWF. The fact is we were barely over two hours and not even quite at 2.5 but I didn’t want to “nickel and dime” with him. I was going to tip him that much anyway, so I just gave him what he asked and that’s it. Just wanted to point this out so other fellow travelers be aware. Overall was a good experience.
Written October 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Damascent
Kigali, Rwanda6 contributions
Dec 2013 • Friends
My friends and I had a wonderful experience of a boat cruise on Lake Kivu. we saw many islands, Clear water and visited Kinunu Coffee factory. It was an amazing experience!!

Damy
Written April 24, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Richard N
Johannesburg, South Africa187 contributions
Mar 2014 • Couples
Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is a massive lake on the Western border of Rwanda and the other side of the lake is DRC. It is spectacularly beautiful and the water is crystal clear. It is very remote from the rest of the country and thus not often spoken of.

We were in the Volcanoes National park and were being driven to Nyungwe National Park. Our driver said that were were basically going to drive back to Kigali and then down to Nyungwe. Looking at the map it was two sides of a triangle and was going to take 8 hours. As we had been told how beautiful the lake was, we asked the driver to go down the lake road. This is a road that goes all the way down the length of the lake. A good idea, but reality was a little different!

The road started as a dirt road and deteriorated at time to being a muddy rut clinging to the side of the mountain. The fact that it was during the rainy season did not assist our cause at all. We later read that the road should only be tackled with a serious 4x4 and I would agree with the assessment. I would not like to have driven the road even in my Discovery. Towards the end of the road, they were doing massive roadworks and I believe that in time the road will be good, but at the moment, treat with a great deal of circumspection.

A more logical move would be to take the ferry which starts near Volcanoes and take it down to the bottom of the lake. This apparently takes a couple of hours instead of the 12 that going by road took. This was obviously the reason they did not suggest this road!

We stopped off in the Karongi district in the town of Kibuye for lunch. We stopped at a hotel Babylon (spelling ??) which was a bit budget like, but the view was fantastic. We were close to the water looking at some islands in the bay and it was a beautiful day. Would have been a lot better though if we had arrived by ferry as opposed to roads!!
Written March 29, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Lake Kivu - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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