Lake Kivu is one of the great lakes of Africa. It is located in the Albertine rift which is the western branch of the east African rift valley. The lake which is also located at the border between Rwanda and the democratic republic of congo has an outlet which is the Ruzizi river flowing into Tanganyika. The lake covers an estimated area of 2,700 square kilometres with most of it in the Democratic Republic of Congo (58%). There is a considerable amount of volcanic activity in the lake because of the walls of the rift valley pulling away and just like most rift valley lakes, Kivu is very deep and infact ranks eighteenth in the world.
Lake Kivu is one of only three lakes in the world which experience limnic eruptions, the others being Nyos and Moroun in Cameroon. The high level of volcanic activity in the lake has led to an increased level of gases within the lake mainly carbondioxide and methane which is a result of microbial reduction of the CO2. Scientists predict catastrophic implications if the methane levels in the lake are not given immediate attention. The methane has been put to use in some areas to run boilers at a local brewery. The amount of methane in the lake has a great potential of power generation which is still scarce in the country.
The lake is remembered in history as the dumping site for many of the victims of the Rwanda genocide. This greatly affected fish harvests during that period with many inhabitants of the area afraid to eat fish as they linked the fish to eating dead bodies.
There are many islands within the lake’s boundaries with the most significant being idjwi which is the world’s tenth largest inland island. These islands are popular tourist destinations as they are full of untampered with nature. The lake basin is a densely populated area with an estimated 2,000,000 inhabitants most of whom are in the towns of Bukavu, Kabare, Kalehe, Sake and Goma in Congo and Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu in Rwanda.
Lake kivu has been identified as one of the major tourist destinations in rwanda. This is attributed to the fact that the area has well developed beaches good for a picnic and mainly for the water activities on the lake. The are many water sports like sport fishing, swimming and boat cruises. The areas surrounding the lake have well developed infrastructure for visitors ranging from luxury resorts to well maintained roads. The area is also famous for its beautiful tourist resorts like the Lake Kivu serena.
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