Lake Kivu: The Side of Rwanda You Must Never Miss!

Lake Kivu is exceptionally one of the most spectacular sites where most tourists visit while on holiday to Rwanda. The Lake is located along the African Great Rift Valley at the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is positioned within the Albertine rift, western part of the Great East African Rift Valley. This Lake features as Rwanda’s largest lake and 6th largest in Africa. Lake Kivu comes with the outlet of River Ruzizi that flows to the south emptying into Lake Tanganyika.

The first European to explore Lake Kivu was a German National Count Adolf von Gotzen around 1894 and the Lake became the popular dumping site for the genocide victims in 1994. The Lake covers an area of about 2700 square kilometers and stands within altitude 1460 meters above sea level. About 58 percent of the Lake lies within the Democratic Republic of Congo and the rest of the part is positioned at the Rwanda boundaries.

The bed of Lake Kivu straddles on the Rift Valley floor and it is continuously being pulled apart creating a volcanic activity and enhancing its depth to its current maximum depth of about 480 meters making it the 18th deepest Lake in the world and so the most attractive water to visit while on safari in Rwanda.

As you drive around the area, visitors are rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding areas especially the Nyungwe Forest National Park and the Volcanoes National Park. The route gently curves back and forth as it weaves via hills and mountains along side it from Gisenyi to Cyangugu with Kibuye. Each corner comes with spectacular views of the area. The Eucalyptus trees line on the road with most of its hillsides featuring the terraced bananas. Lake Kivu consists of Idwiji Island that features as the 10th largest island in the entire world.

LakeKivu also stands as one of the most attractive tiny island of Tchegera that is situated within the Virunga National Park. There are several Lake Shores settlements that include the places of Kabare, Sake, Bukavu and Goma in the DR Congo while in Rwanda the settlements include the Cyangugu, Gisenyi and Kibuye.

Lake Kivu is a fresh water Lake and just like Lake Monoun and Lake Nyos, it encounters limnic eruptions. There are a lot of biological extinctions that have occurred on the Lake shores by the geologists and it is believed to have featured 1000 years back due to events of out gassing. Whereas the trigger of the Lake overturn isn’t known, the volcanic activity is well suspected.

The chemical compositions of the gases in the Lakes which explode differ for each Lake and for Lake Kivu it is carbon dioxide and methane as a result of the Lakes interaction with the volcano. About 65 cubic kilometers of methane is estimated to be in Lake Kivu and if burnt in a year, it can result into a mean power of about 100 giga watts over the entire period.

Lake Kivu further features about 265 cubic kilometers of the carbon dioxide gas. Its temperatures are at 24 degrees Celsius and contain a ph. level of 8.6. The methane gas is noted to be derived by microbial reduction of the volcanic C02 and it can sited that the overturn of Lake Kivu is extremely catastrophic far beyond that of Cameroon Lakes since there are nearly 2 million thriving in the Lake basin of Kivu.

Its bottom part comes with large concentration of gas that has ability to heat water, push the methane out of the water, trigger a close simultaneous carbon dioxide release and this carbon dioxide can suffocate a reasonable population of human life on the Lake Kivu basin due to the rolling gas on the surface of the Lake.

Lake Kivu Shores

The Lake is believed that it can cause tsunamis in the process of the gas exploding out. The risk posed by Lake Kivu started to attract attention and understanding following the analysis of Lake Nyos recent events. Before, the gas in Lake Kivu was considered as just a natural resource which could be exported and put to use for power generation. With the understanding of the complex causes of the Lake overturns, the great dangers which it has on the surrounding communities started to be felt. The efforts of putting the vent pipes to remove the gas from the bottom layers of the Lake like what was done at Lake Nyos might be too expensive following the size of Lake Kivu. It is noted that there are nearly 500 million carbon dioxide tones that is little under 2 percent of the quantities released by human fossil fuel burning per year. This makes the process of releasing the gas to be more costly going beyond the system building and operation. Lake Kivu is also known to consist of about 55 billion cubic meters which represents 1.9 trillion cubic feet of the dissolved biogas at 300 meters depth.

A side from the exploding gases, Lake Kivu also comes with minimal number of fish species with about 28 species in number of which 4 of them have been introduced. The indigenous species of fish in Lake Kivu comprise of Lake Rukwa minnow, four barbus species, 2 Clarias catfish and 15 restricted haplochromis cichlids. The other newly introduced species consist of the 3 cichlids (O. leucostictes and redbreast tilapia together with tilapia as well as a clupeid and the Lake Tanganyika sardine. Amazingly, the Lake is a Bilhazia free with no hippos and crocodiles with ideal surface temperatures ranging from 23 to 27 degrees Celsius. It features as the best site for water sports which range from the wind surfing, catamaran, kayaking and jet-ski. Its spectacular islands offer the best views for instance the Napoleon Island that offers a thousand bats, Amahoro Island, paradise Malahide and cultural safaris to the Nkomo and Bunagana Islands. This incredible Lake is also good for sports fishing and boat cruises.

Gisenyi (Rubavu)

Gisenyi covers the hills on the northern edge of Lake Kivu. The area comes with Gisenyi’s waterfront along with fading old mansions as well as amazing hotels including some of the international standard and trendy bars on the Lake shores that are all good for sun owner cocktail. While at Rubavu, you can chill and relax around the private beaches at the various hotels around the area and many water sport activities. To the north visit the Imbabazi orphanage founded by American Rosamund Halsey Carr. After the genocide, she came back and changed her ransacked house into an orphanage for survivors and more than 400 orphans have since been offered refuge in the area.