Rwiza Village

Rwiza Village offered a free night in exchange for a review.

Apparently this new accommodation in Kibuye has been in the works for a couple of years and only opened its doors a few months ago. The place is made up of nine pointy cabins that are perched high on the hill with balconies looking down over the gardens and bay below. The bar and eating area also have great views and, overall, the setting is pretty magical.

Rooms are small and simple with one double bed in each (there are no twin or family rooms so friends either have to get cozy or rent separate rooms), a small balcony, a desk, and an en suite bathroom. The half door on the bathroom will also bring friends a bit closer together (if the smallish bed hasn’t already accomplished this) and there were a few problems with hot water and water pressure, but otherwise the toilets are fine. You can here your neighbours in the adjacent huts loud and clear so this is probably more of a quiet, relaxed type place. I think the rooms are great. Sure they’re small but the views really make up for this. It’s better to hang out on the balcony anyway. The beds are really comfortable with proper mattresses, fluffy pillows, and a heavy duvet for any chilly nights.

Rwiza Village, Room

I happened to be staying there on a Thursday night and was rudely awoken on Friday morning by a horrible screeching noise that I thought was a group of baby pterodactyls being murdered but turned out just to be market day. Market day with a lot of pigs. I guess Friday mornings are pig exchange day between the locals and visiting Congolese who boat over with their wares. It was kind of cool and would probably make an interesting visit, but if kind of kills the serene atmosphere for the place. I got used to the pigs and even kind of missed them when they boated away but if you’re looking for a quiet morning sleep-in then avoid going on Thursday night.

There are a few communal areas for hanging out, if you want to venture beyond your room. The bar and restaurant area has a huge deck with one of the nicest views in Rwanda and cold beer a mere metres away. There are some shaded tables along with some sun chairs if you’re hoping for a tan. There’s also a huge building that I guess is a replica of one of Rwanda’s traditional-style houses. It’s pretty dark and wasn’t that welcoming but there are a few tables inside if you want to escape the sun. They also have a fire pit and got that going each night we were there.

Rwiza Village, Patio

There’s a floating dock down and some flat-ish grassy areas to relax on down by the water. The dock was built way over on one side of the property close to the neigbours and the neighbours appear to be screamy, starey, splashy boys who make the whole dock experience kind of feel like you’re in a fishbowl. It made sitting on the dock uncomfortable with a bunch of kids gawking from the other side of the fence and I’m not sure why they didn’t build the thing a bit further away around the bend in the bay. Kids are cool but not when they’re all up in my serenity.

The menu isn’t really all that exciting with a couple of Senegalese chicken dishes (Rwf 4,000) which sound promising but don’t really deliver, the ubiquitous spaghetti bolognaise, beef and goat brochettes (Rwf 3,000 with sides), grilled chicken, chips, potatoes, and a few soups and salads. Vegetarians won’t find much to keep them happy and you’ll probably get bored of the menu if you plan on sticking around for a couple of days. I’d recommend planning ahead and bringing some supplies to keep you happy. We arrived with some wine, cheese, and crackers and enjoyed sitting on the balcony with that watching a lightening storm. I wish I’d brought more goodies. The grilled whole chicken (Rwf 10,000) is quite good, as are the potatoes (Rwf 400 for varying quantities each time) and will feed a few people.

Rwiza Village, Chicken and Ibirayi

There’s not a lot happening in the drinks department, either. There’s a small selection of spirits and some beer but nothing in the way of cocktails or anything like that. But the beer is cold and the shots of liquor are huge. My Rwf 2,500 whiskeys were gigantic… close to being a triple, I’d say. Too bad they ran out of Coke. But the beer is cold and they always had ice on hand which is something that most places I’ve been can never seem to keep stocked. I was really enjoying sitting on their balcony with my book and an icey Amarula in the afternoon sun. It’s such a beautiful view and a relaxed, nice atmosphere.

My only real complaint with Rwiza Village is the service. There was only one guy working the entire time we were there and he was working morning, noon, and night which really isn’t cool. He was trying hard but we couldn’t communicate very well in either French or English and it turned any food orders or customer service requests into a frustrating experience. Paying for anything was an ordeal lasting way too long. Fortunately, the Kenyan manager is very much on his game and he was able to step in and help us out before everyone’s heads exploded.

View of the Dock

The service complaints extend into the kitchen with food taking well over an hour to come and orders often being wrong. One friend waited an hour to then be told of a ‘mistake’ where her food was never made. The manager stepped in with a discounted whole chicken and saved the day, but the kitchen is very slow and I never had much faith that my order was actually delivered in good time. I hope the owner sorts out the staffing issue, gives some training and pays a fair wage to attract good people. I feel like too many places want to achieve a high standard but then skimp on their staff which is a huge mistake. This place is great but the reason people will stop going and not recommend it will be bad service.

But enough of my complaining… all up, I’d recommend this place. Sure, their service let them down a bit during our stay, but there are many other good points so I’m going to choose to hope things improve and focus on the positives. I’ve relayed all of my issues to the owner and he’s not only aware of them but also very thankful to hear feedback and seems eager to work towards improving. He really wants to improve his place and with a few tweaks here and there, I think it will become the go to place for many people. It’s not on the level of Cormoran Lodge, but it’s also not as expensive so it makes a really great place to stay for a bit cheaper. If you’re looking for a mid-range option… this is the best.

Residents & Nationals: $45 single / $50 double occupancy midweek, $60 and $70 on the weekend
Non-Residents: $90 for single, $100 for double

All prices include breakfast of eggs, fruit, coffee, and tea. Prices are correct as of May 2014 but please call them to confirm.

Phone: 0789 714 551
Facebook: http://www.facebook/rwiza.lodge

The Google map for the Kibuye area is pretty crappy so I’m just guessing at the location but as you head into Kibuye towards the bus station area, you’ll see small signs pointing to Rwiza Village which is located at the south of the city just past the gas works then left on a dirt road over a hill.

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15 thoughts on “Rwiza Village”

  1. Hi Kirsty great review- I didn’t manage to stay in Rwiza as it was fully booked over the labour day weekend but I did head there for a whole afternoon to sit and chill out. I think the views were tremendous and the place generally very unique. I had lunch there- sharing the whole chicken which was delicious but I can see how that would become monotonous. So far Ive stayed in a variety of places in Kibuye and hope to stay in Rwiza next time. Service is also rubbish in all except Cormoran Lodge in places ive stayed in Kibuye, if Rwiza sorted out the few service concerns you had I think it would rival Cormoran as a super weekend option from Kigali, especially given the difference in price.

  2. So let me get this review straight:
    – the rooms are small and you can hear every word spoken in the neighbouring huts
    – the food is average at its best
    – relaxing at the dock seems impossible since your are surrounded by kids and in theback you have a local market
    – the restaurant is not stocked with basics (coke out)
    – the orders are being mixed up and the service sucks….

    And why again is that the best mid range option in Kibuye again? Because you got your stay for free? Doesn#t soud like a place where I wanna spend my cash though…

    1. I only got one night for free out of three and I’d hope that if you read through my website you’d realise that I was more transparent and honest than you’re giving me credit for. Plus, had I changed my review to compensate with my free night, why do you have nice, long a list of negative points? Come now… you sound silly.

      Yep, you have those points mostly right. You’re not surrounded by a local market, however. It’s just a Friday morning thing, apparently. All of those bad points are otherwise true (although small rooms doesn’t really bother me, especially given the view from the balcony) but I think the good stuff outweighs the bad and I think the bad points are easily fixable. Hopefully.

      Anyway, I’m not here to convince anyone of anything, just to give my thoughts. Try it if you want, if not, feel free to languish at Bethany or Moriah.

      1. relax- all what I was saying is that I found it surprising to rate a place that good when you basically criticize very aspect of it (noise, food, service).

        1. I know what you’re saying. It’s the “Because you got your stay for free?” that I take offense to. I’m relaxed, just also annoyed.

  3. I am sorry if you are not able to deal with any criticism nor questions related to your public review.
    Since I assume that many or at least some people follow recommendations provided on this side I thought it would be usefull to clarify on your overall rating. If I would pay 70 or 100 bucks for a place and would make the descriped experience I would not be as satisfied as you are.
    But he- next time I will praise your review more! I promise!

    1. Pay attention… come on now. Implying that I’m saying the place is good because they gave me a free night’s stay is implying that I don’t have any integrity. That’s a personal comment aimed at me, not on at the review. That’s what I’m taking offense to.

      But that’s all I have to say on the matter. Either you understand what I’m saying or you don’t and will continue to repeat things that are irrelevant.


  4. hi Kirsty, the only issue is, when they KNOW you are writing a review on them, they will go out of their way to be extra nice to you and make sure everything is perfect for you- which would not be the case had they not known you were there for a review, best way is do it on your own terms when they don’t know who you are. I must say I am inclined to think that your review is still biased in that sense. Better “incognito” , then you will see their true colours……great job still

  5. We stayed at the Holiday Hotel in kibuye last week. It was fine. Resident rates are 35-45000 for first person and 30% additional for second. Bed and breakfast. Wifi was good, didnt try the satellite tv in room. Overall nothing fancy but great view of the lake and menu of a reasonable size and price. It’s another ok midrange option, though I hope moriah will be nicer when I return with family this week.

  6. I’d just like to drop a short comment about this place, as I stayed there a while ago, when they just opened.

    When we were there, our hut actually caught fire in the middle of the night (!!!), and yet I really liked the place and would and have recommend it to friends.

    As a short side note I would also like to mention that I arrived there from nyungwe top view hotel, where I sent several nights without water, experienced a complete lack of anything that could be called customer service and a minor hostage situation instigated by the completely overwhelmed, incompetent, rude manager.

    While I can attest that everything mentioned in this review about Rwiza Village is true (although I did not experience the whole pig thing), I can also understand, how this did still result in an overall positive assessment. The setting is simply beautiful and the staff is very very forthcoming. While they are lacking in customer service, especially regarding time and general professionalism, they are trying to do their best, and to make you feel welcome as a guest. At least that was my experience.

    This place has potential and with some very small improvements they could easily become No 1 accommodation in Kibuye.

  7. I visited Rwiza Village last weekend. We were supposed to go on a day-trip to Kibuye to let the dog swim but ended up staying there for the night.
    Arriving there we were welcomed by Patrick who claimed to be the owner ( so not Deo, maybe they switched owners?) who was very welcoming.
    I’d say Rwiza-Village is ideal if you need to get out of Kigali for a bit. The room size I didn’t have a problem with at all, the splashing kids by the dock are still there, although they did not get on the dock itself ( maybe because they were afraid of the dog).
    It took them a while to prepare the food but during the time we where there, there was definitely at least around 5 staff members (and the Pizza was great!). No problems with water pressure either..
    Definitely worth a visit, there might not be a huge amount of things to do but it’s great to read a book, have a swim etc….
    Overall great experience!

  8. Deo is a good friend of mine and i know how long and what it took him to realize his porject, so i would definetely say that it is a good start. Honestly Kristie, I like your review and I think that Deo will take advantage as well because he now knows what to fix from the negative points. I have never been there but i think i will give it a chance to go.

  9. Very highly recommended – best mid range value spot in Kibuye. Stayed there two weekends in a row in July 2014.
    1. View are SPECTACULAR, and you can see the fishing boats coming in during the early am from the balcony
    2. Ambience is wonderful. Very chill, and staff are attentive. Valentin in particular. There are 3-5 restaurant staff I saw during our time and they can get overwhelmed at times. But between the crew they speak fluent English, French, Kiswahili and Kinyarwanda. Service is on par to what I’ve experienced across Rwanda
    3. Wine glasses are filled to the brim, and a double shot of Johnny Walker takes up 3/4 of a large glass. Breakfast is simple (omelette, fruit, bread, tea), but delicious. African Tea highly recommended
    4. Rooms are very cosy and full of character. Plenty of options to sit and relax within room and common spaces near restaurant. Deck for swimming is adorable. There is a music system we moved from the bar to the indoor veranda to play music from CD’s late into the night.
    5. Patrick the manager is incredibly accommodating – from finding rooms to. Phone ahead to make sure you can get space. Phone: +250783391572
    6. I highly recommend Emmanuel as a driver when you are in Kibuye. +250788552515. Very reasonably priced, speaks a little English, solid Kiswahili and French.

    I will be back to Rwiza!

  10. If you are looking for a perfect relaxing weekend with the person you love or with a group of friends… This is THE place to be! We stayed at Rwiza Village last weekend with the six of us and we had an absolutely amazing time. I really do not have anything negative to say about this place. The rooms are very clean and provide everything you need. After a nice sleep in the comfortable bed, you wake up, open your curtains and balcony door and you have the most amazing view over the lake and the hills. We had most of our meals at Rwiza and they were all delicious! This is just the perfect place to relax after a busy week. If you fancy to go out, I would strongly recommend to do a boat trip to Napoleon (bats) island. If you don’t like bats, it is still worth going because the view from the top of this island is stunning.

    All in all, a perfect weekend, great value for money! All of us are planning to go back to Rwiza village when we have visitors over! 🙂

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