Spending a Relaxing Day at Lake Kivu Between Wildlife Trekking Excursions in Rwanda

After the exhilarating trek to see the gorillas in the Volcanoes National Forest and visiting the local village of Iby’Iwacu, we spent our next day exploring Lake Kivu, which is one of the African Great Lakes and is bordered by three different countries. From the town where we stayed, we could see the Republic of Congo and went to two of the border crossings that allow a constant flow of goods and traffic between the Congo and Rwanda. The lake itself sits on a volcanic rift and there are several methane extraction platforms located on the lake. It has the potential of a catastrophic eruption at some point in the future, but until then it is a source of thermal pools on the various islands that sit on the lake.

Heading Back to the Resort
One of the Many Tour Boats on the Lake
View from Our Lunch Table
Sitting on the Boat

We took one of the many tour boats that are available along the shore of the town of Gisenyi, which is the second largest city in Rwanda, to visit one of the islands and see the locals enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs. Rwanda is a land-locked country and most of the cuisine is vegetable based, but there is Tilapia in the lake that is offered at the local restaurants and was one of the meals that we had at our resort as well. Overall, we spent a lot of time during our trip to Rwanda getting up early and exerting a lot of energy hiking, so the time spent by the lake was a nice reprieve.

Hawk on a Palm Tree
Brewery on the Shore of the Lake
People Fishing

Lake Kivu is obviously very large as it is over 1,000 square miles (2,700 square kilometers) and is the eighth largest lake in Africa. There are many resorts that sit along the coastline, some more remote than the one that we stayed at in Gisenyi. Most tours in Rwanda that include both the gorilla trekking and the chimpanzee trekking will include a stay at Lake Kivu as it is located centrally between both of the national parks. Although not the highlight of the trip, it was an enjoyable day between some amazing wildlife experiences.

Coastline of the Lake
Our Resort
Heading to the Island
Pleasant Afternoon on the Water

Ending Our Safari at Lake Nakuru in Kenya

Our last two days on safari while we were in Africa were spent visiting Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru in Kenya before heading to Nairobi. The only rainy day that we had during our time in Africa was actually the day that we arrived in Lake Naivasha. We were scheduled to do a boat ride out on the lake, but considering it was cold and rainy, we chose not to go on the boat ride. It really turned out to be a relaxing day and the only day on safari that we didn’t spend our time driving around in search of wildlife. The following morning we continued on from Lake Naivasha to Lake Nakuru, which turned out to be a spectacular way to end our safari. The two highlights of visiting Lake Nakuru are seeing the flamingos as well as both the white and black rhinos.

Pair of White Rhinos
We Saw Many Wonderful Giraffes in Lake Nakuru
Lesser Flamingos
Rhinos Have Strange Heads
Baby Water Buffalo

Before going on our game drive at Lake Nakuru, we checked into our lodge and were immediately greeted with the sight of baboons and gazelles in the field behind our room. We also had a wonderful view of the lake itself which we would spend the next day and a half driving around. We did see a family of black rhinos wandering through the trees on our first afternoon, but the real treat was getting up close to white rhinos the following day. White rhinos are not actually white, but they are larger than black rhinos and have a flatter mouth. Having all of the close encounters to the various wildlife was an experience that we’ll never forget.

Family of Black Rhinos
Waterfall in the Park
Pelicans Taking Flight
Another Rhino
Baboons Outside of Our Lodge

In addition to the rhinos, we saw hundreds of flamingos who were enjoying the shallow waters of the lake along with pelicans, ducks, and other water fowl. There are two types of flamingos, the greater flamingo, which are more white than pink, and the lesser flamingo, which is the pink flamingo that most people think of. As with all of the national parks, in Lake Nakuru we saw many varieties of animals all mingling together. We saw many water buffaloes, including some baby buffaloes, as well as giraffes, zebras, and warthogs. We also saw a waterfall during our time in the park, which was wonderful to see as well.

Typical Safari Experience
Yellow-Billed Stork Catching a Fish
White Rhino Heading Towards Us
Beautiful Landscapes

Although Lake Nakuru National Park is not always on everyone’s safari agenda, we were certainly glad that it was part of ours. It was definitely a wonderful way to conclude our safari and was as interesting as our time in the Serengeti and Maasai Mara. Having the opportunities to see the rhinos with their strange heads was an experience that we will never forget. And even though we saw flamingos throughout our time in Kenya and Tanzania, the number of flamingos at Lake Nakuru was definitely a treat to see. We can definitely say that by the time we made it to Nairobi, we were completely satisfied with our safari experiences and felt that we had seen everything that we’d hoped to see.

So Many Flamingos
The First Black Rhino in Lake Nakuru
So Many Fascinating Birds
More Giraffes
Secretary Bird
Peaking Above the Trees

The Dense Foliage of Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania

After enjoying a day and a half in Amboseli National Park in Kenya, we made our way to the border of Tanzania where we were to change guides and take a COVID Antigen test in order to gain entry into Tanzania. The cost of the test was just $25 US dollars per person and only took about 20 minutes, but the border customs process at the border was not particular easy to understand or follow. So, in all, it took us about an hour to get through the border checks and make our way into Tanzania where we met our guide, Shabani, for this part of the safari. We made our way to Lake Manyara National Park to spend several hours in the park before going to our lodging for the night.

Our Land Cruiser at the Park Entrance
Rugged Nature Within the Park
Greeted by Baboons
Giraffe and Zebra
King Fisher with a Tasty Crab
View of the Lake

Lake Manyara is the seventh largest lake in Tanzania and is known not just for the wildlife and famous tree-climbing lions, but also for the fish that is found in the lake. The scenery of Lake Manyara National Park couldn’t be more different than that of Amboseli and shows the diversity of different ecosystems that exist in East Africa. We entered the park late in the afternoon, so we only had a couple of hours and the it was getting dark before we exited to go to our lodge. We were immediately greeted by a large number of baboons as we started along the road that winds its way through the park, but we knew from our guide that seeing wildlife in the Lake Manyara National Park isn’t easy as they hide in the lush foliage of the forest that is the park. In fact, we passed another Land Cruiser exiting the park as we entered that had not seen any animals during their visit.

Elephant as the Light Faded
Monitor Lizard
Colorful Red-and-Yellow Barbet Joined Us for Lunch
We Crossed Water Many Times
Yellow King Humbert Flower
Giraffe Posing for Us

We were a little more fortunate as we saw giraffes, zebras, elephants, as well as a monitor lizard and a king fisher bird eating a crab. This, however, was the first time using our new manual telephoto lens and it would be the first lesson on using it in low light conditions. We would master the lens within the next couple of days, but it was definitely learning on the job, so to speak. We were quite content with seeing what we saw, including the amazing landscapes that included the enormous lake.

The Dense Foliage
Our Room at the Lodge
Sustainable Gardening
Baby Baboon
Beautiful Trees

Our accommodations for the evening at the Pamoja Africa Lodge were quite different from the tent and camp that we’d spent our first two nights in, but we would be back to tents very soon. The landscaping of the property was quite nice and the owners believe in self-sustenance, so they grew their own herbs and vegetables for the meals right on the property. It made for quite a relaxing evening before our adventure would continue the following morning and our next day would once again be something completely different.

At the Picnic Area
Antelope Hiding in the Trees
Local Beer from Tanzania
More Elephants at Dusk
Dinner at the Lodge
Getting Close to the Lake
Another Tropical Flower