Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu is quite extraordinary, set high in the mountains bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in parts it is the fifteenth deepest lake in the world and also known as an 'exploding lake' due to volcanic activity.

Whilst the term 'exploding lake' sounds somewhat exciting, in reality those living nearby live in fear that underground volcanic activity will release huge amounts of carbdon dioxide into the air such as in 1986 at Lake Nyos, in the volcanic region of Cameroon, where this happened resulting in the deaths of 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in nearby towns and villages.

Lake Kivu has beautiful beaches and is a popular tourist attraction, playing host to the popular Serena hotel on its shores. Lake Kivu is 55.3 miles long and just under 30 miles wide, and lies in the Albertine Rift Valley.

Water from Lake Kivu flows into the Ruzizi River, which, in turn, flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika. Lake Kivu was an unknown wonder to Europeans, despite their presence in Africa, until 1894 when it was visited by the German Count Adolf von Gotzen.

Today, Rwanda is working to generate power from the presence of methane and other gasses deep under the lake that could power the entire country (see video below). Currently that production stands at just 4% of the country's consumption.

This methane effectively means that Lake Kivu cannot sustain wildlife although shoals of fish live there but remain close to shore supporting the livlihoods of the 6,563 fishermen who work the Lake, although this number has declined since the Rwandan genocide as many of these fishermen and their family's were killed during that conflict. Indeed, Lake Kivu became notorius during that period as many of those slaughtered had their bodies dumped in the lake. Today, with peace restored, around two million people live in the basin of Lake Kivu.



 
 
 
 
 

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

 


About Africa

About Africa

This African lakes page is part of our About Africa series for volunteers. More information here!
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Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

A video documentary about Lake Victoria, the largest of the African lakes and the world's largest tropical lake.
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Lake Kivu


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Lake Kivu has three towns on its shore Gisenyi, Rubona and Kibuye and has a number of islands within its waters one of which, Idjwi, is the world's tenth largest inland island. Boat trips are available, and a must visit is Amahoro Island, known as the one bar island because that's all that is there, a solitary bar! Whilst this is a commercial video promoting the Serena Hotel, it does full justice to the lake, its recreational facilities and awesome beauty. After you've seen the video, why not explore Lake Kivu using our interactive map above right, and although you can't see them, there are many Rwandan army patrol boats policing the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure there is no unwanted migration from there.

 
 


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