explore Rwanda's Great Lake

Year Round
4 days
from £265 pp

Sandwiched into the Great African Rift, Rwanda owes its mountainous terrain and lush green landscape to the volcanic activity murmuring below the surface. Here, the cheerful humdrum of daily local life belies the country’s volatile underbelly. Where tropical vegetation and coffee plantations thrive, stretches the azure waters of Lake Kivu. Spilling out into the Albertine rift – separating Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo – the lake is the central hub of traditional African life. Go where only kayaks will take you, and explore one of Africa’s Great Lakes under your own steam.


On this short kayaking adventure, you’ll escape the confines of tours and vehicles to get under the skin of lakeside life in Africa’s ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’. One of the world’s deepest, Lake Kivu stretches for 90 km between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, submerging the western reaches of the East African rift. Let local guides show you the way of life along the shores of this majestic lake, as you hug the shoreline to paddle from Gisenye to Kibuye and sleeping on islands en route.

You’ll paddle approximately 10km a day, initially gliding past the Rwandan hills to reach the coffee islands. Here, you’ll stay at a coffee plantation, where local farmers will show you the entire process behind a cup of coffee, from bush to cup. Your morning cup of coffee will never be the same again! For the next two days, you’ll continue along the shore, with route potential to circumnavigate Bugarura Island, before weaving in between the magnificent ‘Bay of Islands’, the tropical vegetation of which teems with birdlife. Here you’ll bargain with local fisherman for your dinner, and set up camp on the islands – a true wild camping experience! Awoken by the chorus of birds, you’ll paddle on to reach Kibuye, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the lake to soak up the discoveries you’ve made along the way.


  • Island hop along the shore of Lake Kivu.
  • Visit coffee plantations and wildlife preserves.
  • Wild camp on uninhabited islands.
  • Kayak to inland beaches and the ‘Bay of Islands’.
  • Experience Rwanda from a new perspective.
  • No hippos or crocodiles(!), but look out for birdlife and bat colonies.

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