© 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.In this study, rapeseed oil cake as a precursor was used to prepare activated carbons by chemical activation with sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) at 600 and 800 °C. The activated carbon with the highest surface area of 850 m2 g-1 was produced at 800 °C. The prepared activated carbons were mainly microporous. The activated carbon having the highest surface area was used as an adsorbent for the removal of lead (II) and nickel (II) ions from aqueous solutions. The effects of pH, contact time, and initial ion concentration on the adsorption capacity of the activated carbon were investigated. The kinetic data of adsorption process were studied using pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order kinetic models and intraparticle diffusion model. The experimental data were well adapted to the pseudo-second-order model for both tested ions. The adsorption data for both ions were well correlated with Langmuir isotherm. The maximum monolayer adsorption capacities of the activated carbon for the removal of lead (II) and nickel (II) ions were determined as 129.87 and 133.33 mg g-1, respectively.