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Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu

The shores of Lake Kivu include peaceful, remote spots and bustling fishing villages.

Enjoy a few days r&r here in between Nyungwe and Volcanoes.

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu

Dominating the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lake Kivu is the sixth largest lake in Africa.

Rwanda's western side is bounded by Lake Kivu, one of a string of huge freshwater lakes which lie along Africa's Great Rift Valley.

The real joy of this area is driving between the towns, and it’s a lovely option for a slower route between Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park. The road gently curves back and forth as it weaves through hills and mountains beside the lake from Gisenyi all the way to Cyangugu, with Kibuye almost at its centre point. Every corner produces another gorgeous view. Eucalyptus trees line the road, while every inch of the hills seems to be terraced with bananas tended to by waving farmers.

Lake Kivu’s three main towns are roughly 3-4 hours apart from each other. However, on our last visit, extensive road construction works were making the journeys longer.

Lake Kivu

Lake Kivu: in detail

Trips visiting Lake Kivu

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Map

Mona Monkey Safari

9 days • 3 locations • 1 country
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

This example of a luxury holiday explores the wildlife of Nyungwe Forest, the scenic shores of Lake Kivu and the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, all accompanied by a private guide and vehicle.

Visiting Volcanoes, Lake Kivu and 1 other area

US$10,190 - US$13,260 per person

Read more about the Mona Monkey Safari

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L'Hoest's Monkey Safari

7 days • 3 locations • 1 country
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

Meet three iconic primates – gorillas, chimps and golden monkeys – and explore Rwanda's fascinating culture on this excellent value privately guided adventure.

Visiting Volcanoes, Lake Kivu and 1 other area

US$5,010 - US$5,470 per person

Read more about the L'Hoest's Monkey Safari

Map

Golden Monkey Safari

12 days • 5 locations • 1 country
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

The perfect itinerary for those who want see everything that Rwanda has to offer. Combine four key areas on this excellent value trip, for a true wildlife and cultural experience.

Visiting Kigali, Volcanoes and 3 other areas

US$8,960 - US$9,990 per person

Read more about the Golden Monkey Safari

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Need inspiration?

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Map of Lake Kivu

Choices for where to stay in Lake Kivu


Most recent reviews of our trips to Lake Kivu

Click below to browse all 42 reviews from Lake Kivu.
All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


99%
42 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
42
Good
0
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Dr P from Netherlands

Arrived 7 Feb 2020, 6 nights

"A fantastic trip"

"A fantastic trip …" Read Dr P’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs L. from London

Arrived 2 Nov 2019, 10 nights

"My Nov 2019 trip"

"We loved our trip to Rwanda - we would definitely recommend Expert Africa …" Read Mr & Mrs L.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr F & family from Belgium

Arrived 31 Jan 2019, 13 nights

"My Jan 2019 trip"

"Magical trip...perfectly prepared by EA again, thanks to Lyndsey. …" Read Mr F & family’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr P. from Stanmore

Arrived 23 Jan 2019, 9 nights

"my rwanda trio january 2019"

"the gorillas were the highlight and absolutely amazing …" Read Mr P.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs Winnie from Geneva

Arrived 10 Jan 2019, 9 nights

"Go to Rwanda"

"We were very impressed by the country, the smiles of the people... …" Read Mrs Winnie’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr P. from Chilterns

Arrived 13 Sep 2018, 26 nights

"My Sep 2018 trip"

"Amanda who organised this for us was wonderful, & created the trip of a lifetime …" Read Mr P.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

BJ from Minnesota

Arrived 6 Aug 2018, 12 nights

"August 2018 All of Rwanda"

"Incredible trip - even more amazing given the limited time Amanda had to prepare …" Read BJ’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

H family from Seven Oaks

Arrived 19 Jul 2018, 10 nights

"My Jul 2018 trip"

"An outstanding service that we have now used three times...and will use again. …" Read H family’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms A & Mr M from Lagos

Arrived 13 Jun 2018, 8 nights

"Amazing trip..."

"The knowledge of the Expert Africa team makes the entire experience so special …" Read Ms A & Mr M’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Dr E from Pennsylvania

Arrived 3 Mar 2018, 14 nights

"Rwanda and Tanzania March 2018"

"Expert Africa impressed us so much... They were extremely helpful... …" Read Dr E’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Lake Kivu reviews

When to go to Lake Kivu

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Lake Kivu in Rwanda


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rwanda in January

January falls into the shorter dry season in Rwanda and conditions can be good, however expect some showers during your stay. Christmas and New Year can be a very popular time of year to travel and lodges book up early. The high demand and favourable conditions lead to high prices for the more luxurious lodges. Travellers spending at least two nights in another of Rwanda’s national parks, in addition to the Volcanoes National Park, can take advantage of lower prices for one gorilla permit. This makes it great-value to do a longer trip to Rwanda, taking time to explore Nyungwe Forest and Akagera National Park. January can be fantastic for birding too, with plenty of migrant species found in the forests.

  • Generally good weather although with some rainy spells.
  • Popular time of year to travel, particularly around New Year.
  • Advance booking advised, particularly for high-end trips.
  • Good for birding with migrant species present.
  • Special offers are great for exploring the other national parks.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in January

Rwanda in February

As February progresses the likelihood of more rain increases as Rwanda heads towards the heavy rains in March and April. This can still be a good time of year to visit, particularly at the start of the month, and you are a likely to experience a mix of dry days and rainy spells. Your days are likely to be warm, however as with the rest of the year nights can be cold. This is particularly true of the Volcanoes National Park which is at higher altitude. February can be a good time of year to combine gorilla trekking in Rwanda with seeing the wildebeest migration in Tanzania as the vast herds gather in February on the southern Serengeti plains for the calving season.

  • Transitional month, with the chance of rain increasing towards March.
  • Warm days and cold nights, particularly in Volcanoes NP.
  • High-end lodges are expensive, although demand is lower.
  • Migrant birds present with great birding to be had.
  • Good time of year to combine with the wildebeest migration.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in February

Rwanda in March

The heavy rains typically start in March, often continuing through to early May. This is generally not a great time to visit Rwanda and conditions are likely to be fairly wet and muddy underfoot. Many people still visit at this time, taking advantage of lower prices at the more luxurious lodges and good availability of gorilla permits. The rain clears the air and it is likely to be far less hazy at this time, making it very good for photography. The green season can be particularly good for bird watching with many migrant species visiting Rwanda at this time. This can also be a good time of year for chimpanzee trekking, as their food is plentiful in March and troops are not likely to travel as far.

  • Heavy rains make gorilla trekking conditions not ideal.
  • Lower prices and good availability for gorilla permits.
  • Good for bird watching with plenty of migrant species present.
  • Typically shorter distances to walk for chimpanzee trekking.

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in March

Rwanda in April

April is typically one of the wettest months in Rwanda, with an average rainfall of around 150mm. It is still possible to visit during April, however be prepared for heavy rain and muddy conditions in the mountains. April is the low season for high-end lodges and prices can be significantly cheaper at this time. Comparatively few people choose to visit during April, meaning that it is likely to be fairly quiet and relatively easy to secure gorilla permits. The 7th of April marks ‘Kwibuka’, an annual ceremony which begins three months of remembrance for the victims of the genocide. During this time the whole nation enters a period of reflection, with a number of events being held in commemoration.

  • Expect heavy rains throughout the month.
  • Few visitors means it is fairly easy to secure gorilla permits.
  • It is the green season for luxury lodges, with much lower prices.
  • Good time of year for birding.
  • Kwibuka remembrance ceremony on 7th April.

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in April

Rwanda in May

May is often a transitional season in Rwanda, following on from the rains in April. Heavy bursts of rain can be expected at times, however it will often start to dry up as the month progresses. Any rainy spells are likely to last a few hours rather than all day. With the heavy rain earlier in the year it can often remain muddy underfoot when trekking the gorillas and chimpanzees and it’s advisable to wear gaiters. Following the rains the air can be clear, without any haziness, and this leads to great photographic opportunities at this time of year. For many of the high-end lodges May is classed as the low season, which can make this month great value for money, with fairly good weather and comparatively low prices.

  • Weather can be variable, mostly dry with some rainy spells.
  • Be prepared for muddy conditions when trekking the gorillas.
  • Good air clarity leads to great photographic opportunities.
  • Can be good value for money if you’re looking at a high-end trip.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in May

Rwanda in June

The weather in June can be fantastic and this is one of the best times of year to visit Rwanda. This is the start of the main dry season in Rwanda and the rainfall in June typically averages only around 20mm. It is likely to be warm and dry during the day, however the odd rainy shower remains possible. Conditions for gorilla trekking can be very good, although you are still likely to experience mud underfoot in parts. This is the peak season for the high-end lodges and prices rise significantly. Rwanda is exceptionally popular between June and September and the luxurious lodges regularly fill up well over a year in advance, so we advise planning early.

  • Dry weather can lead to excellent conditions for gorilla trekking.
  • High-end lodges increase their prices and trips can be costly.
  • Very popular time of year, advance booking is strongly recommended.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in June

Rwanda in July

July is a great time of year to visit Rwanda, this is in the middle of the longer dry period and conditions for gorilla trekking can be excellent. Expect long dry days, although always with the off-chance of rain at some point during your stay. As with the rest of the year, temperatures are likely to average around 20-25ºC during the day, though nights can be chilly. July is a very popular time of year to travel to Rwanda and we advise booking at least 12 months ahead, particularly if you’re looking for a high-end trip. Prices at the top end of the market can be very high in July, however many of the mid-range lodges have the same prices throughout the year, making these options great value at this time.

  • Excellent conditions with dry weather for much of the month.
  • Very popular time to travel with a limited number of gorilla permits.
  • Advance booking is required to for the best choice of accommodation.
  • High-end trips can be expensive at this time of year.
  • Many mid-range lodges have the same price throughout the year.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in July

Rwanda in August

August is one of the most popular times of year to visit Rwanda. This is the middle of the longer dry season and conditions can be very good. While it can still be muddy underfoot this is unlikely to impact your trek. Our top advice for travel in August is to plan early as many of the more popular lodges will regularly book up well over a year in advance at this time. Many people visiting Rwanda will choose to combine this with a safari in the Serengeti and August is one of the best months for this. The wildebeest migration is in full swing, with the vast herds being up near the Mara River and river crossings likely.

  • Fantastic time to visit with dry weather and great conditions.
  • Very popular time to travel, we advise booking early.
  • Lodges book up and gorilla permits can be hard to secure.
  • Higher prices for the top-end lodges.
  • Great time of year to combine with a safari in the Serengeti.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Rwanda in September

The dry season comes to an end in September, with the rains increasing towards the end of the month. For the most part you are likely to experience dry conditions, but be prepared for rainy showers and cold nights. September remains a popular time to travel, especially for those combining the gorillas with the wildebeest migration. The Kwita Izina festival (the official naming ceremony for all baby gorillas born in the past year) takes place ever year, usually in September. It’s a time of celebration for everyone involved in their conservation. The exact date varies. Chat to us if you’d like to plan your trip around this event.

  • Conditions typically good but expect some rain.
  • Popular time to travel and early booking is advised.
  • Great time of year to combine gorillas and the wildebeest migration.
  • The Kwita Izina festival, usually in September, names baby gorillas.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in September

Rwanda in October

The short rains have typically started by October with the month’s rainfall averaging around 110mm. This rain normally falls in short, heavy bursts and you’re likely to have plenty of dry spells too. As with the rest of the year, days can be warm, although nights can be cold, and this is especially true around the Volcanoes National Park where lodges set log fires to keep you warm in the evening. Lots of people choose to visit Rwanda at this time and prices remain high for the top-end lodges. Booking early is recommended, particularly if you plan to stay at one of the smaller, more exclusive lodges around the Volcanoes park.

  • Good time of year to travel although with an increased amount of rain.
  • Days are warm however nights can get cold.
  • October is popular, particularly for the high-end lodges.
  • Prices remain high at the top end of the spectrum.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in October

Rwanda in November

The rains typically continue into November and this can be one of the wetter months of the year. This can still be a good time to travel, as there are still likely to be plenty of dry periods and the gorillas can still be trekked. However, expect quite a bit of mud. The high-end lodges drop their prices in November, making it much more affordable for luxury accommodation. Between November and April there is also a special offer from the parks authorities, providing a discount on your first gorilla permit if you spend at least two nights in one other national park. This special offer combined with lower prices for luxury lodges makes Rwanda great value for money in November.

  • One of the wetter months however gorilla trekking is still possible.
  • Far less busy, making it easier to secure gorilla permits.
  • Reduced prices for high-end accommodation.
  • Special offers to encourage travel to multiple national parks.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Rwanda in December

Rwanda has a second short dry season which typically runs from December to January. Conditions at this time can typically be fairly good, although not as ideal as June – August, and you can still expect rain at this time. Many of the forest tracks can be muddy and nights can be cold. Many people choose to travel to Rwanda over Christmas and New Year and we advise booking early, particularly if you have preferred lodges in mind. The special offer for a your first gorilla permit at a reduced price remains in place for all travellers spending at least two nights in another park, making Rwanda excellent value for money in December.

  • Short dry season, however rain is still possible.
  • Conditions for gorilla trekking can be good, but expect mud.
  • Cold at night, warm clothes are recommended.
  • Very popular over Christmas and New Year, early booking advised.
  • Special offers make December good value for money.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Rwanda fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Lake Kivu.


Excursions in Lake Kivu

Optional extra day-drips and excursions possible whilst your staying within Lake Kivu. Talk to us: these are usually best arranged before you go.


Canoeing in Rwanda

Canoeing in Rwanda

Half day - approx. 3 hours on the water

A half-day adventure in lush countryside, on a gentle river near to Musanze, Rwanda

More about Canoeing
97% (7 reviews)

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