Destination Kivu Belt

Lake Kivu Night Fishing Experience in Karongi

Activity Description

Join the singing Fishermen of Lake Kivu on night on the lake as they fish for sambaza, the famous small fish of Lake Kivu. This tour is as real as it gets. You will join a real fishing crew during their normal fishing activity so be prepared to get your hands dirty. The tour starts on board one of the cooperatives comfortable tour boats and your guide will accompany you out to join one of the fishing boats
as they paddle out for a night of fishing on the lake. The cooperative will be able to pick you up and drop you off at any location on the lake front close to Karongi town.

Once you have reached the fishing boat, you will accompany the crew as they paddle, sing and whistle their way out on the lake in the sunset. The song sung by the fishermen is a traditional song in an old language which has been passed down through generations of fishermen. Well out by the fishing location, you will help the crew to get the nets ready by lowering them under the boat. As darkness
descends on the lake, paraffin lights are lit to attract the sambaza fish. From here you will need to wait until enough fish is attracted. The crew usually rests for a while until the captain decides that enough fish has been attracted below the boat. Together with the crew you will pull the nets up into the boat which is a tough and laborious activity. One catch usually yields anything from 3 to 30 kgs of fish depending on the location and the current conditions. The nets are lowered and pulled several times by the crew until they return at dusk. You are
welcome to stay and wait for another catch, but most people are fairly tired at this point and board the tour boat to return to land. 

About the Organizer

COTRALAKI is a transport cooperative on Lake Kivu located in Karongi. The cooperative is made up of individual members  who have brought their boats together to provide tours and activities to visitors to Karongi and the surrounding areas. The cooperative offer a range of different boat tours including guided boat tours to various islands such as Napoleon Island and with a visit to the fruit bat colony and a hike to the top. The cooperative also organizes the famous night fishing experience and some unique tours such as the ‘swimming cows’ where visitors can accompany the farmers as they move cows from one island to another. The cooperative is very well organized and have a booking office in Karongi close to the Museum of Environment.

Before you go

  • The boat floor is usually wet. Wear flip flops or waterproof boots
  • It might get cold, bring a light jacket or a sweater
  • The tour boat has a roof in case of rain

From 30,000 RWF


  • Join a fishing crew night fishing on Lake Kivu
  • Paddle with the crew to the fishing location
  • Experience a genuine traditional African trade far off the beaten path


More information

Contact the organizer


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