When I go to Gisenyi I always try to stay at the wonderful Paradis Malahide about 10 minutes out of town and right on the lake. This time, while at my beloved guesthouse, I decided to wander a bit further down the road to check out the new INZU Lodge and I was met with a great alternative option for some relaxation time out of Kigali.
The lodge was opened earlier in the year by Marie-Noelle, a French Canadian who fell in love with Rwanda and decided to stick around and open an eco-lodge. Why, not, right? I’m glad she took a chance on this huge project because she’s got a very good thing going here. Her lodge is set up the hill a bit from the water and it has a fantastic view and plenty of space to relax.
When the lodge opened, their only accommodation was a well-manicured lawn on which to pitch your own tents. Since then, they’ve had two safari-style tents delivered. So I guess that makes it a two-bedroom lodge (one with a double bed and the other with two singles) with some space for extra guests in tents… so make sure to book! She’s got two more tents on the way and is expanding slowly.
At Rwf 20,000 a night for a whole tent, the price is pretty good, especially if you’re two people in there. The tents are built up on concrete platforms and include towels and some very cozy looking bedding. They’re set up right at the top of the property and have a pretty spectacular view back down the hill towards the lake. If you bring your own camping gear, you’ll is charged at Rwf 10,000 per tent with up to three people in it. So for the campers out there, INZU Lodge is a good place to get the ol’ tent set up and feel all outdoorsy. They’ve got hot water and very nice bathrooms so you won’t be slumming it too much!
As with the rest of the place, the restaurant has a pretty amazing view. The menu is stacked with Rwandan specialties like isambazi (little fried fish fresh out of Lake Kivu), goat and beef brochettes, kachumbari with igitoke chips and nyamichoma plus a bunch of their own creations. I love kachumbari (a tomato, onion and chili salsa) and tried that with chips and it was good. The goat brochette too was really yummy but I think the star of the show has to be their homemade pili-pili. Mix it in with a bit of mayo and you’ve got a great dip that’s not overly spicy. Top tip there for wimps like me.
Food took around 45 minutes for our starter and another 10 or so minutes before our main dish came out. The service was attentive and friendly and there’s a nice relaxed vibe going on. You can get free internet in the restaurant area, the bar is well stocked, the chairs are comfy and there’s even baby chairs for the kiddies. They donate a portion of their profits to local causes and are conscious about being sustainable.
The opening of INZU Lodge means that you’ve got another great choice for accommodation in this area. What sets it apart is the safari tent style accommodation, ability to accommodation a lot of tents, and the amazing view. If these are things you’re looking for in your Lake Kivu accommodation then they’re the perfect choice! If you’d rather beach and buildings then Paradis is the winner there.
But no matter where you end up staying in Gisenyi, make sure to pop in for a meal and a chat with the owner at the very least. It’s a wonderful place worth a visit for the view alone!
Phone: 0784 179 203 / 0725 250 101