Bukavu is a city (806,940 inhabitants in 2012) in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), lying at the extreme south-western edge of Lake Kivu, west of Cyangugu in Rwanda, and separated from it by the outlet of the Ruzizi River. It is the capital of the South Kivu province.
Bukavu is part of the ancient territory of Bushi Kingdom, an ethnic group of South-Kivu. It was governed by a “Muluzi” Nyalukemba, when the first Arabs, then the European arrived in Bushi at the end of the 19th century. The name Bukavu comes from the transformation of word 'bu 'nkafu ' (farm of cows). Bukavu was established in 1901 by the Belgian colonial authorities. Originally named "Costermansville" (in French) or "Costermansstad" (in Dutch) after Vice Governor-General Paul Costermans until 1966, it had a prominent European population under colonial rule. They were attracted by the subtropical climate (Lake Kivu is 1,500 metres above sea level) and scenic location (Bukavu is built on five peninsulas and has been described as "a green hand, dipped in the lake"). Many colonial villas have gardens sloping down to the shore.