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Traditional fishing boats on Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Lake Kivu

About Lake Kivu


With its 2 700 km2, Lake Kivu is Africa’s sixth largest lake.  Its inlets and mountainous peninsulas provide endless opportunities to marvel at its unique panorama. Due to its volcanic origin, it is free from hippos and crocodiles: apart from a few species of fish, crabs and aquatic birds, you’ll be able to experience its tropical tranquility in peace. Warm waters, green islands and sandy beaches await.

View over Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Boat Tours

Boat tours are ideal to relax and visit Lake Kivu’s islands, beaches and community based attractions. For those transferring from Nyungwe Forest to Volcanoes National Park, traveling by boat offers a fun alternative to covering the distance by road, while enjoying stops to swim and sample coffee at a local plantation.

Islands Tour

Lake Kivu’s numerous green islands are part of the enchantment. Hop on a boat to discover them, and take a short hike on Napoleon Island, where a large colony of fruit bats has taken up residence.

View of Lake Kivu with islands
Person Kayaking on Lake Kivu

Joseph D. Lionceau


Feel at one with nature as you glide silently on the water, the silence broken only by the sound of your paddle and the quick dive of a kingfisher. It is possible to visit the lake’s islands by kayak, and even enjoy multiple day tours.

Rwandan Cow Culture

Ibere rya Bigogwe

Experience Rwanda from a local’s perspective! Cows are central to Rwandan culture. They shape language (there are numerous names for cows), they are symbols of status and wealth, and watering them was once used as a measure of time. Milk a cow, taste fresh milk, watch cowboy games such as the high jump and igisoro. Complete your experience with a traditional lunch and a photoshoot.

Herd of Inyambo cows at the Royal Palace in Nyanza, Rwanda
Cows emerge from Lake Kivu waters

Courtesy of Ames Boat Tours

Swimming Cows

Enjoy the curious and exciting sight of a herd of cows swimming from island to island to find pasture, led on by their cowboy in a wooden canoe.

Singing Fishermen

In their long dugout canoes, bound three by three like trimarans, fishermen sing to attract the isambaza, or Lake Kivu sardines. Grab a paddle and join them for an evening to learn traditional fishing techniques.

Fishermen in traditional boats on Lake Kivu
Coffee berries on tree

Coffee Plantation Tour

Coffee lovers, delight! This is your opportunity to find out everything about your favorite beverage, from the flower bud to the bean, with all stages of production in between. Tasting and a 500g coffee bag are included in the visit.

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