Dugout canoe, Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Lake Kivu

The Lake Kivu area is centred on the town of Gisenyi, offering a relaxed atmosphere on the shores of one of the regions huge freshwater lakes and a great place to unwind for a few days after trekking.

We think the drive here from the Virunga’s is one of the most beautiful in the country, winding through mountains and steeply terraced hills, covered with tea plantations, against a backdrop of mountains. In Gisenyi itself, the lower town is a jumble of picturesque but faded colonial homesteads and charming markets.

Most people come here to sit back and enjoy the beautiful views, with the lakes blue water surrounded by steeply terraced escarpments and the northern shore overlooked by the smoking Nyiragongo volcano, sometimes seen glowing at night.


Lake Kivu, Rwanda
Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Why visit Lake Kivu

  • The perfect place to rest those aching legs after trekking gorillas
  • Wander through the lively markets at Gisenyi and pick up a bargain
  • Visit the Imbabazi Foundation for a unique cultural experience
  • Look out for the lava flow from the distant Nyiragongo volcano at night
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Evening shot poolside looking towards hotel, Lake Kivu, Rwanda
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Evening shot poolside looking towards hotel, Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Overlooking the white sandy shores of Lake Kivu lies Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, the perfect place to relax and unwind after the rigours of trekking.

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What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Lakeside Mountain Biking

Cycle a network of trails, exploring beautiful countryside and tiny villages along the shores of Lake Kivu.

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Dugout canoe, Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Kayak on Lake Kivu

Explore by kayak, immersing yourself in the lake scenery as bird fly above and fisherman mend their nets in preparation for the evenings work.

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Beach Picnic, Lake Kivu Serena, Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Relax at Lake Kivu

Unwind on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu and explore the charming market town – the perfect place to rest aching legs after gorilla trekking.

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Colourful hats, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Gisenyi Market

Wander through the lively markets at Gisenyi, on the shores of Lake Kivu, and pick up a bargain.

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View of glowing volcanoes, Lake Kivu, Rwanda/Democratic Republic of Congo

Nyiragongo Volcano Views

From the shores of Lake Kivu, look out for the glowing lava flow from the distant Nyiragongo Volcano at night, in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Illona Cross

Born in a small South African town, I have always followed my passion for nature and discovery. After studying Nature Conservation in Pretoria, I was one of the first women to complete a very tough cadetship in the Natal Parks Board. It was here where I cut my teeth in African wildlife management.

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Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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