Lake Nakivali is one of the four small lakes that form what is known as the Koki lakes system. It is 14 km long, 6 km wide, 26 km2 in area and has maximum depth of 3.5 m at high water level. The lake is located in a lake-swamp complex with River Rwizi as the principle inflow, and a number of peripheral lakes among which are four major ones, i.e. Lakes Nakivali, Mburo, Kachira, and Kijanebalola.
Lake Nakivali is a controlled lake with four official landing sites, namely: Kikusi, Kahirimbi, Kashojwa and Rukinga. The latter three are located within a Refugee settlement whereas Kikusi is outside.