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LAKE KIVU

 
Background Information

Destination Highlights

Lake Kivu is the largest of numerous freshwater lakes that shimmer in the valleys of Rwanda. Steep, terraced hills lead down to the picturesque lake shore, and three resort towns - Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu. These small towns come as welcome retreats in between the sometimes strenuous hikes to find gorillas and chimpazees in the surrounding Volcanoes and Nyungwe Forest National Parks.
Here, visitors can relax, swim, or take a boat excursion past the small lakeside villages that offer a rewarding glimpse of rural life. The towns are connected by a wide roller-coaster road that tumbles through lush plantain fields and relic patches of misty rainforest to offer sweeping views over the shimmering lake. Set amid the dramatic mountains of the Rift Valley and the volcanic Virunga mountains to the north, the irregular shores of Lake Kivu form numerous inlets and peninsulas and myriad forest-fringed waterfalls. Lake Kivu is set within the rift valley, making it one of the deepest in the world
 
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What to see and do

Of the primate family, olive baboons (Papio anubis) and vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythus) are common, less so is the secretive blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis) which was thought to have become extinct in Akagera until recently. Bushbabies or Galagos (Galago moholi and Otolemur crassicaudatus) are often seen on night drives. Of the large predators only leopard (Panthera pardus) and hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) can still be found in the park. Although lion once occurred throughout Akagera, the population have been wiped out mostly through poisonings by cattle herders seeking to protect their livestock. A reduction in the prey-base due to heavy poaching would also have contributed to their demise. Smaller predators are still well represented with healthy populations of several mongoose species, viverrid species, serval (Leptailurus serval) and side-striped jackal (Canis adustus). Plans are underway for the reintroduction of lion in 2014, and black rhino in 2015 which will restore Akagera’s ‘Big 5’ status.