Kivu Lodge: Our full report
The newest lodge in the Kibuye area, Kivu Lodge is set in an enviable location on a private peninsula in Lake Kivu.Sister-lodge to Mountain Gorilla View Lodge at Volcanoes National Park, it has 21 rooms, all with views out across the lake.
Kivu Lodge opened in January 2017. Originally called ‘Kivu Safari Lodge’, it aims to be a relaxing stop-off for guests travelling from Nyungwe Forest up to Volcanoes National Park.
With an enviable location on a small peninsula off of the main road to Kibuye, Kivu Lodge is set in a remote and serene location, in an area that previously has seen little-to-no tourists. On our visit in May 2017, friendly locals at the neighbouring coffee plantation we passed on the drive through were excited to have interest, and very keen to show us around and let us help sort the beans!
The road to Kivu Lodge is not tarmacked, and made for a very bumpy drive in. We were told that the plan is to tarmac the road as soon as possible, and so the access to the lodge should be completed within the next few months. When you get closer to the lodge, however, the quality of the road (or lack thereof) is diminished by the beautiful views around you. Driving alongside banana, coffee and macadamia plantations, in untouched countryside, with everyone waving hello as we passed, Kivu Lodge has picked a superb location to set up shop.
On arrival at Kivu Lodge, the first thing you see is a large infinity pool, set into the rocks in front of the hotel, overlooking the lake. Gardens and a firepit also overlook the water, offering views across to the mountains of the neighbouring DRC.
The lodge has 21 double and twin rooms, of which 16 were in use when we visited, the others still undergoing renovation and decoration. We’re told the remaining rooms will include three family rooms. Due to the size of the peninsula, the rooms are a little close together, and feel a bit crowded from the path leading through from reception. This is more noticeable from the land-facing side though, and due to the curve of the peninsula, when you enter each room, a private balcony from each one gives a more spacious feeling as you look out to the lake.
The rooms at Kivu are spacious, though relatively sparsely decorated, with a large and comfortable bed, complete with cosy bedding for cooler nights, and soft bedside rugs and slippers next to the beds. The rooms are set up as doubles, but extra beds can be added if twin rooms are requested in advance.
The lodge runs off a generator, which is turned on from 7-8am and again from 6-10pm, and on request if guests need. Thus, as well as a lamp, on the tables at each side of the bed is a rechargeable torch, next to convenient plug sockets. During our visit we were told that the lodge owners plan on connecting the lodge to the mains electricity, so this situation may change!
Each room also has a desk, small table and a few chairs. Shelving units, built into an alcove near the door, house a small safe.
Sliding doors open up onto a small balcony, with table and chairs overlooking the lake. At sunset, you can watch (and hear) the fishermen heading out for their nights work, singing songs in Kinyarwanda.
The bathrooms are basic but functional, with plumbed in with flush toilets, and hot showers. Following the design of its sister lodges; the shower is brightly coloured with stones inset into the wall, giving a splash of colour to an otherwise pale room. Slippers, toiletries and a hairdryer are provided.
The main area of Kivu Lodge houses the reception, plus a bar area with sliding doors overlooking the swimming pool. There are plastic chairs and tables next to the pool area, which are a little jarring to the overall atmosphere given the lovely wooden furniture indoors, but the lodge provides nautical looking striped towels to give some comfort for sitting, or for relaxing on the large lawn area nearby. The pool, lit at night, with a small waterfall, has built-in seating ledges around the edge, and staff will serve drinks and ‘bitings’ (home-made crisps, plus roasted peanuts) at the poolside. The adjacent dining area again has doors that open up to the views, and you can sit inside or outside for your meals. When we visited, it was such a beautiful night that we asked if we could eat outside by the fire and the staff happily obliged!
There is a small indoor lounge area which we didn’t have cause to use, but in inclement weather would be appreciated! The lodge informed us that there is a plan, once the electricity is connected, to introduce Wi-Fi. This will be welcomed no doubt, but we felt that part of the charm of Kivu Lodge was its peacefulness, and being disconnected allows you to relax and take advantage of the surroundings.
We think Kivu Lodge is an excellent addition to the hotel options in the Kibuye area. Incredibly quiet and relaxing, with amenable staff, good food and a lovely pool, it’s a great place to break the journey between Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Park. Do bear in mind it takes a good hour to reach the lodge from the main lakeshore road.
- Lake Kivu, Rwanda
- Ideal length of stay
- We’d recommend a stay of at least two nights at Kivu Lodge, to fully appreciate the peace and tranquility of the area.
- 8km from the main road, and 30km from Kibuye.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- When the lodge is full, we’re told that meals will be buffet-style, though on our visit in May 2017, we had a choice of options.
For dinner on our arrival night, we chose pumpkin soup, followed by a beef stew, with roast potatoes, and fruit salad and chocolate pancakes for dessert - and were very pleased with our choice!
At breakfast, we went for the fruit platter, fresh fruit juice, omelettes with a variety of fillings and French toast.
We didn’t have time to stay for lunch, but the packed lunch that the lodge provided for us was, though basic (cheese toasted sandwich, fresh fruit platter, boiled egg and a bottle of water) fresh and tasty.
- Dining style
- Mixture of group dining and individual tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- Bottled water is provided in the rooms, juice and tea included with breakfast, and a soda and tea is included with dinner. All other drinks are extra.
- Attitude towards children
- The lodge currently has an age restriction of 16+, though we are told this may be reduced once the family rooms are built.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Generally recommended for children
- The pool does not have a specific shallow area for children and, though there are fences, there is a drop from some of the balconies and decking around the front of the lodge. We would recommend this property for children over 16.
- Power supply notes
- Kivu Lodge runs on a generator, from 6-10pm, 7-8am and other times at guests’ request.
- There is a phone at reception for guest use if they need. The lodge has cellphone signal, but no Wi-Fi.
- TV & radio
- There are no TVs at Kivu Lodge.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Water is from a mains source on the ‘mainland’ - pumped from the hills and filtered.
Health & safety
- Medical care
- A first aid kit is kept at the reception, and at least 2 members of staff on duty are first aid trained. The nearest medical centre is approximately 10km away.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Guards patrol the property 24-7.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are located around the lodge and outside the majority of the rooms; staff are trained in their use.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- The lodge has a next day laundry service, at an additional cost.
- Each room has a safe.
- Accepted payment on location
- Visa and MasterCard are accepted, as is cash in the major currencies.
Other lodges in Lake Kivu
Alternative places to stay in this same area.