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.
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.
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.