Cormoran Lodge: Our full report
Set on a steep hill, leading down to the shore of Rwanda’s Lake Kivu, the rustic yet stylish Cormoran Lodge ...... in Kibuye has a small number of wooden cabins, each affording beautiful views over the lake.
Cormoran Lodge is set on quite a small plot, with a picturesque lakeside location and is well-run by friendly staff. Slightly smaller and more personal than the nearby Lake Kivu Serena, it makes a good spot 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.
The central areas of Cormoran Lodge consist of a large wooden structure set into the hill, supported on wooden stilts, with recently renovated wooden decking. At its heart are a large bar and a big fireplace, which is lit in the cooler evenings. On one side, there are sofas, chairs and a TV; on the other, tables are set out for dinner. If you're lucky, you may get a table on the small terrace with lovely views of the sunset over the lake.
These main areas are decorated with lifesaver rings and chunky ropes to create a nautical feel, while African ornaments and statues lend a local atmosphere, and the vast amounts of wood make it feel slightly alpine. Despite the mix of styles, it somehow all works quite well!
The seven cabins are, for the most part, identical, though they all have a different colour scheme. Nestled in lush, well-maintained and botanically interesting gardens, the cabins are reached along quite steep pathways (lit at night) with steps leading up to the doors; 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, plus carved shelving in small alcoves. On our last visit in 2019 we felt that the soft furnishings could benefit from an upgrade, and that the rooms, though bult to a standard are being to look a little tired in places. Each cabin has either a large wooden double bed or twin beds, with mosquito net, a small writing desk and a couple of comfortable chairs in front of a flat-screen TV. You'll also find a minibar, safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities and an umbrella for rainy days.
The spacious en-suite bathrooms have a very natural feel, decorated with individual stones set into concrete. Each has a flush toilet, large shower and a single sink with a mirror. Carved wooden towel rails and shelves complement the décor.
In front of the bedroom is a small terrace, with a nautical-style rope mesh to prevent children from falling through the gaps. It’s a brilliant spot to sit and watch the sunset if you're here on a clear evening.
Steep steps lead down to a private man-made beach next to the lake, with a few sunloungers, a campfire, and toys and swings for children. The beach is quite small, and could feel a little crowded if the lodge is full, but it's a nice area to relax. Children must always be supervised here, not least because there's a drop from the edge of the beach to the water.
If you’re feeling energetic it’s possible to swim from a nearby jetty. Other activities include renting kayaks or motorboats, or waterskiing. All have an extra charge, ranging from about US $20 per hour for kayaks, to US $90 an hour for waterskiing. Boat trips out to the local islands are also available.
Overall, we love the location of Cormoran Lodge, and the view over the lake is stunning. It's quirky style, and rustic interiors offer a cosy atmosphere, reminiscent of an alpine ski lodge! The staff are friendly and the food, although a little hit and miss, is on the whole fairly good. It’s a great place for a few days’ rest and relaxation by the water, and would be ideal for those looking for something that is small in size, personal and relatively economical in this area.
- Lake Kivu, Rwanda
- Ideal length of stay
- We would recommend a stay of two to three nights here.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- On a previous visit we were highly impressed at dinner by the quality of the food and the levels of service, although on our last visit here in 2019 we were quite disappointed with the quality of food served at dinner. Breakfast however was very good, even though we were the only guests that morning.
Breakfast is served as a buffet, with a selection of fruits and yoghurts, plus a cooked option, and fresh tea, coffee, hot chocolate and fruit juices. We enjoyed some absolutely delicious freshly cooked lemon pancakes.
Both lunch and dinner are from the same à la carte menu. There is a wide choice here, and at weekends, when the lodge tends to be busier, there are also specials. You can expect everything from pizza, pasta, fish dishes and meat stews.
- Attitude towards children
- Cormoran Lodge welcomes children.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions.
- Special activities & services
- The lodge has toys and a children’s play area with swings by the beach. A selection of board games is available at reception.
- The lodge has cots and highchairs.
- Generally recommended for children
- Although Cormoran Lodge has plenty of toys and games so is ‘child-friendly’ in this respect, we felt the height of the cabins and the terraces (though these now have safety netting), combined with steep paths and the drop into the lake at the end of the beach, mean that it is not particularly safe for young children.
- Children will need to be supervised at all times, both at the lodge and by the lake.
- Power supply notes
- The lodge has a back up generator.
All cabins have multiple charging sockets.
- There are no phones in the cabins but there is one for emergency use in reception. There is cellphone signal in and around the main area, and around some of the cabins. There is WiFi access in the main areas and in all the cabins.
- TV & radio
- There is a TV in the bar and in each of the cabins.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All the bathrooms have hot and cold showers and flush toilets.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The lodge has a first-aid kit and one member of staff is trained in first aid.
The nearest medical centre is approximately 10km away, on the road to Kibuye.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- The property is gated, and there are security guards who patrol the lodge day and night.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in every cabin and the staff are trained in their use.
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is available at an extra charge.
- There is a safe in each of the cabins. Guests may exchange small amounts of US dollars, British pounds, euros and Rwandan francs here.
- Accepted payment on location
- Cash payments are preferred, and US dollars, British pounds, Euro and Rwandan francs are all accepted. Credit cards are also accepted if guests are unable to pay cash.
Other lodges in Lake Kivu
Alternative places to stay in this same area.