Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lake Kivu - Rwanda

Considered to be one of Africa's Great Lakes, Lake Kivu lies in the Albertine Rift Valley on the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The lake is surrounded by mountains lies in a rift valley that is being pulled apart making the lake one of the deepest in Africa.

We stayed in the small lakeside resort town of Gisenyi, a very relaxed and laid back town approximately three hours drive from Rwanda's capital Kigali.  Gisenyi is a trading hub between Goma in the DRC and Gisenyi in Rwanda and boats can be seen all day crossing the lake with fresh produce heading for the markets.

Lake Kivu has several fish species of fish and every night fisherman take to the lake for the local delicacy "Isambaza" a small fish introduced to the lake, more widely known as the Tanganika sardine which are cooked and eaten whole.  We witnessed as fisherman went out on their boats at dusk using a system of three large wooden boats connected together with walkways between them.  Large poles extend off the bow and stern which support nets that catch the fish and lanterns attract the fish.  In the morning the fisherman paddle back to shore singing in rejoice for their catch and offload them at the lakeside market from where they are sold to eager buyers.

Recently Lake Kivu was found to contain high levels of dissolved methane gas at depths of 300 metres and beyond.  Initially the gas was harvested for energy on a small scale but is now being extracted on a large scale using offshore barge platforms which will boost energy development for Rwanda and long term, will allow them to sell it to neighboring countries.

Lake Kivu is a tropical paradise that offers so many beach side resorts that are sure to melt your tension and stress while enjoying the heart of Africa.

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