Lake Kivu has only very small fish as they cannot live at depths - only in the shallow waters. There are only 28 species of fish in the lake including a few introduced species. The endemic species include the Lake Rukwa minnow, cichlids and the Nile Tilapia as well as catfish and barbel. Lake Tanganika and Lake Kivu are the only lakes to have freshwater crabs, too.
To the northern end of the lake near Gisenyi is the Serena Hotel – a luxury hotel with a beach in front and guests can enjoy time in tropical surroundings - swimming, boating and skiing on the Lake as well as participating in various sports activities and the health spa. There are also another couple of smaller hotels with lovely views over the lake and the smaller islands within the lake. These islands include Idjwi and Tshegera. There are many settlements on the lake edges both on the Congo and the Rwandan sides, including Gisenyi, Cyangugu and Kibuye.
Lake Kivu covers about 2700 square kilometres with the bottom of the lake on a volcanic fault that is moving outwards and this in turn makes it deep – about 480 metres. The lake is fresh water. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River that feeds Lake Tanganyika
After strenuous gorilla trekking, many visitors like to relax on the shores of the lake for a few days before travelling south to visit Nyungwe Forest.