When city life gets to be a bit too much and I want to chill out by a lake for a few days, I generally head to Paradis Malahide, a small guesthouse in Gisenyi. Well… not really in Gisenyi, it’s 7 km from the city, out near the Bralirwa distillery. The ride out there is actually really pretty over some rolling hills with great views so even if you’re staying in town, a trip out here for lunch or dinner makes a nice outing.
If you’re in Gisenyi for business, need to be in town and don’t have your own car then it might be a little isolated. But if you want to relax on a private beach that doesn’t have trash floating in the water (the guesthouse is built on a little bay which shelters it from floaties from the DR Congo, unlike the public and Serena beaches in town) then it’s a great choice.
The standard rooms I’ve seen have two beds in them pushed together and are for a maximum of two people for Rwf 40,000 for the room. You can pay an extra Rwf 15,000 for a mattress on the floor for one additional person. The pillows are kind of crappy but the beds are comfy. The showers have hot water and good pressure. Prices include breakfast. Camping is also an option at Rwf 15,000 if you want to use their tents and you also get a mattress, sheets and a towel and shower facilities. If you have your own gear you’ll pay Rwf 10,000. Breakfast is paid separately for campers.
Breakfast here is pretty good with a good-sized pot of coffee or tea, eggs done how you want, toast and bread and a little fruit bowl. Their menu is pretty good with a lot of choice. The chicken is a bit chewy and food can take awhile, but otherwise it’s nice to enjoy a meal sitting around the camp fire they bust out each night. The atmosphere is really chilled and it’s nice to lounge around on the pillows staring into the fire.
During the day, their small beach is a great place to hang out with deck chairs and umbrellas. Early in the morning and as the sun goes down you’ll be treated to some singing as the fishing boats paddle out to work and back in the distance. If it’s your goal to leave Kigali and relax then Paradis Malahide is a great spot. There really is nothing else to do but laze around, soak up some sun, and eat some good food.