Situated within the Sud-Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Idjwi Island of Lake Kivu is one of the most fascinating places you can ever visit to relax and wind after a stressful day. The Idjwi Island is nestled between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, in the heart of Lake Kivu. At 44 miles/70 kilometers long and covering an area of 340 square Kilometers/131 square miles, Idjwi Island is the second largest Inland Island in the African Continent and the tenth in the whole World. Unfortunately, it has always been regarded as a forgotten Island and little is said or known about this magnificent Island with its interesting tourist attractions and activities.
The people that surround Idjwi Island have been affected by war but those that live within Idjwi Island have often been spared from the violence, which was a good thing but unfortunately the Island has also been spared from any kind of assistance. It is saddening to know that malnutrition, infant mortality and poverty still affect the people of the Island.
Nonetheless, several International Organizations are very active in the Eastern side of the Democratic Republic of Congo but still no financial support is extended to the community members. It is even more surprising that most people have no idea about the Island and the native Pygmies tribe that live on the Island. This interesting Island is approximately equidistant between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo with 10-15 kilometers (or 6-9 miles) dividing its western banks from latter country’s mainland and a similar distance between its eastern shores and the shoreline of Rwanda.
However, the Idjwi Island’s southern edge lies only 1 kilometer from the peninsula of the Rwandan Coast. In the past, this Island was a Kingdom in the late 18th Century (approximately 1780 to 1840). This mountainous Island surrounded by the tranquility of Lake Kivu is one of the most fascinating places any one can ever visit. The verdant landscape and the mind-boggling view of the large and serene Lake is a photographer’s dream come true and is among the reasons why tourists linking from Goma to Bukavu are cautioned to check out on this fascinating Island. When you visit the Island, you will meet the Ban’ Idjwi-the Idjwi people and you will be humbled by their hospitality, simple yet jolly life as they go about with their activities such as tending to the gardens, washing clothes with hands-natural machines and rearing animals (mainly goats).
Some of the interesting activities you should be sure of enjoying include nature walks/hiking, canoeing, boat rides, fishing, birding and community/village walks through the villages. However, there are also other interesting activities/destinations around Idjwi Island and they include Mountain gorilla trekking, Volcano/mountain climbing, nature walks and birding within the Virunga National Park.
Where to Stay on Idjwi Island
There are few (only two) accommodation facilities within this Island but the commonest facilities are the Congomani Guesthouse, Creole Guesthouse, Idjwi Island Resort and Ikoidwi Hotel among others that offer the best relaxation/chilling and fun you have ever enjoyed. What even makes these facilities worth visiting is the generosity and warmness of the people of the Island, and the stunning sceneries that you will be rewarded with.
How to Reach Idjwi Island
This fascinating island can be easily accessible from either Goma or Bukavu Towns by Motor boats. You can either use MV Iko, MV Mugote and MV Emmanuel. The moment you arrive at the Island, you will be welcomed by the wide smiles of the people and the breathtaking scenery of the Island.
In conclusion, the Idjwi Island surrounded by Lake Kivu is one of the most interesting Islands worth visiting in Africa, yet still remains ignored and gas been totally forgotten. With the treasures it holds, this destination is worth visiting while on a safari in the Democratic Republic of Congo.