Covering an area of 2,700 square kilometers, Lake Kivu is the biggest water body in Rwanda. This stunning lake is stimulating nature-based tourism. Its contribution to the development of adventure travel and leisure is undeniable. In addition, the lake supports the livelihoods of fishermen, farmers and transporters in both Rwanda and DR Congo.
Before the formation of the Virunga mountain range, there was a river flowing from Lake Kivu to Lake Edward. The emergence of the volcanoes blocked that flow and led to the formation of Rusizi River flowing southwards into Lake Tanganyika. Yes, the volcanoes erased one river from the surface of the earth and created a new one.
The Kivu Belt is arguably the most beautiful part of Rwanda. This says a lot considering how breathtaking the rest of the country is. As expected, the area is attracting investors in the hospitality industry. Luxury hotels, exquisite resorts and cozy guesthouses, not to mention some of the best campsites in the region, are lined up along the extensive shoreline.
There are plans to construct a USD 30 million Hot Springs Resort in Rubavu and a USD 50 million golf course/villas in Karongi. Efforts to mobilize investors for similar projects are noted.
Breaking ground for the construction of four modern ports is scheduled to take place during this financial year, if all factors remain constant. Some of these projects are expected to be stalled by the effects of COVID -19. Nonetheless, the transformation of the Kivu Belt is gaining momentum.
For a long time, some experts looked at Lake Kivu as a ticking time bomb due to its high concentration of methane and carbon dioxide. However, investors saw an opportunity.
In Karongi, KivuWatt is converting deep-water methane gas into energy. The project is generating electricity while reducing the risk of hazardous toxic releases. The first phase of this project is powering three gensets to produce 26 MW. The next phase will deploy nine additional gensets capable of producing 75 MW.
Kivu is a unique lake that calls for further research. That explains the recently reported Rwf 2 billion investment in the lake’s monitoring laboratory. There is much more to be uncovered and more opportunities in the pipeline.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Karongi is sponsored by Ikaze Rwanda Tours & Travel, Kivu Tours & Travel, Rebero Kivu Resort and Exposure.