Cormoran Lodge is a new lodge on the shores of Lake Kivu...
Cormoran Lodge: Our full report
Set on a steep hill leading down to the shore of Lake Kivu, the new Cormoran Lodge in Kibuye has a small number of wooden cabins, each affording beautiful views over the lake.
We last visited Cormoran Lodge in August 2011, almost a year after it opened, and were very impressed. It is set on quite a small plot, but is well run and built to a high standard. The central areas consist of a large wooden structure set into the hill, supported on wooden stilts. At its heart are a large bar, and a big fireplace which is lit in the evenings. To one side there are sofas and chairs, plus a TV, and there's a selection of board games in reception. To the other, tables are set out for dinner; if you're lucky, you'll be able to get one on the small terrace, with beautiful views of the sunset.
These main areas are both stylish and beautifully designed. Lifesaver rings and chunky rope give a nautical feel, while African ornaments and statues lend a local atmosphere and the vast amounts of wood make it feel slightly alpine – yet despite the mixture, it all works very well together!
The seven rooms at Cormoran Lodge are, for the most part, identical. (The 'honeymoon' suite has a slightly bigger bathroom and a bath, but is currently the same price). The rooms are reached along quite steep pathways and steps lead up to the doors – so Cormoran Lodge is not for those who are unsteady on their feet. Inside the rooms are quite simple and rustic: with wooden floors, ceilings and walls, they feel very much like log cabins! There's a large wooden double bed, a small writing desk, and in one corner a few chairs and a flat-screen TV. You'll also find a minibar, safe, umbrella, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and mosquito nets.
The spacious en-suite bathrooms have a very natural feel, with individual stones set into concrete. Each has a flush toilet, large shower and a single sink with a mirror. To the front of the bedroom is a small terrace – a brilliant spot to sit and watch the sunset if you're lucky enough to have a clear evening!
Steep steps lead down to a small private man-made beach next to the lake, with a few sunloungers, a campfire, and toys and swings for children. We thought that the beach was fairly small, especially if the lodge was full, but it's a nice area to relax. Note however, that children must always be supervised here, not least because there's a drop from the edge of the beach to the water. If you fancy a swim it's just a few metres' walk to a jetty, while the more active can rent kayaks or motorboats, or go waterskiing. All are an extra charge ranging from about £15/hr for kayaks, to £75/hr for waterskiing.
Overall…we were impressed by Cormoran Lodge. It is stylish, the staff are friendly, and the food is lovely. It is certainly the most luxurious lodge in Kibuye, and if you want something slightly smaller and more personal than the Lake Kivu Serena, but still of a high quality, it's a great option.
Ideal length of stay: Stay here for a few nights to relax either before or after seeing the gorillas, or as a stop off on your journey from the Volcanoes National Park to Nyungwe Forest.
Owner: Natalie Cox – Belgian/Rwandan
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we visited Cormoran Lodge in August 2011 we were impressed by the quality of the food and the levels of service (both notoriously average in Rwanda). We only had time to stay for dinner, but the staff explained what we could expect for other meals:
Breakfast is a selection of fruits, yoghurts and fresh tea, coffee, juices and hot chocolate. Eggs are available at an extra cost.
Both lunch and dinner are from the same à la carte menu. There is a wide choice here, and at the weekends, when they tend to be busier, they also have specials. We enjoyed fried calamari to start, followed by an extremely tender beef stew: and rated it among the best food we tasted in Rwanda.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are an extra cost. You can expect to pay about 80p ($1) for a Coke, £1 ($1.50) for a beer and £20 ($30) for a bottle of wine (or £12 for a jug).
Attitude towards children: Cormoran Lodge welcomes children.
Equipment: They also have cots and highchairs.
Generally recommended for children: No
Notes: Although Cormoran Lodge has plenty of toys and games, we felt that the height of the rooms and the terrace, combined with steep paths, and the drop into the lake at the end of the beach, means that it is not particularly safe for young children.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are no phones or internet access in the rooms, but in an emergency these can be used in reception.
TV & radio: There is a TV in the bar and in each of the rooms.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: Cormoran Lodge has a first-aid kit, and one member of staff is first aid trained.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There are security guards who patrol the lodge.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in every room and the staff are trained in their use.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Money: There are safes in each of the rooms. Guests can exchange small amounts of US dollars, British pounds, Euros and Rwandan francs here.