The lake covers a total surface area of some 2,700 km2 (1,040 sq mi) and stands at a height of 1,460 metres
(4,790 ft) above sea level. The lake bed sits upon a rift valley that is slowly being pulled apart, causing volcanic activity in the area, and making it particularly deep, its maximum depth of 480 m (1,575 ft) is ranked fifteenth in the world. The lake is surrounded by majestic mountains.
The world’s tenth-largest inland island, Idjwi, lies in Lake Kivu, while settlements on its shore include Bukavu, Kabare, Kalehe, Sake and Goma in Congo and Gisenyi, Kibuye and Cyangugu in Rwanda.
Lake Kivu is one of the Great Lakes of Africa. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine (western) Rift, a part of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.
Native fish include species of Barbus, Clarias, and Haplochromis, as well as Nile Tilapia. Limnothrissa miodon, one of two species known as the Tanganyika sardine, was introduced in 1959 and formed the basis of a new pelagic zone fishery. In the early 1990s, the number of fishers on the lake was 6,563, of which 3,027 were associated with the pelagic fishery and 3,536 with the traditional fishery. Widespread armed conflict in the surrounding region from the mid-1990s resulted in a decline in the fisheries harvest.
- Lake type: Rift Valley lakes, Meromictic
- Primary outflows: Ruzizi River
- Catchment: area 7,000 km2 – (2,700 sq mi)
- Basin countries: Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo
- Max. length: 89 km (55 mi)
- Max. width: 48 km (30 mi)
- Surface area: 2,700 km2 (1,040 sq mi)
- Average depth: 240 m (787 ft)
- Max. depth: 480 m (1,575 ft)
- Water volume: 500 km3 (120 cu mi)
- Surface elevation: 1,460 m (4,790 ft)
- Islands: Idjwi
- Settlements: Goma, Congo, Bukavu, Congo, Kibuye, Rwanda, Cyangugu, Rwanda, Gisenyi Rwanda.