Cormoran Lodge: Our favourite place to stay in Rwanda
Hands down, Cormoran Lodge. is amazing We spent a glorious two years living in Rwanda, and this was our go-to place to take visitors when they came to stay. Imagine wooden treehouses almost floating on the hillsides, overlook glass waters, with the DR Congo in the background. The views are simply breath-taking, and the lodge is situated on the hills of Lake Kivu. We don't have much else to say really, except that you can't visit Rwanda without visiting Lake Kivu, and you should really come and check out this place. The rooms are finished to a high standard, and nothing beats a private patio to watch the sunrise and sunset each day!
How to Get there
Cormoran Lodge is located in Kibuye (also known as Karongi). It's about a three hour drive from Kigali (depending on traffic, we've even done it in just over 2 hours). But it's an easy drive - along paved highway. The views are one-of-a-kind, so make sure to stop and take some photos of Rwanda's thousand hills! You can get out anywhere and it's completely safe, with many Rwandans stopping to greet you. Once you reach Kibuye town, you can follow the signs to Cormoran Lodge. About 2 km from the Lodge you'll turn off onto a dirt road, and this takes about 20 minutes to drive along, up quite a steep hill at the end (4x4 recommended!) It really depends on the weather though, as we've seen smaller cars and Rav-4's do the drive no problem (but it can be a bit hairy!)
What to do
The best part about the lodge is that it's extremely serene. You can bring a good book, listen to music, and sit on the beach. There's a dock to go swimming, and you can ask about renting a speedboat if you are inclined to enjoy the water. You can also hire the local boats, and someone will take you on an island tour. Very fun! We would mostly get out of the city for a weekend, and found that 1-2 days was enough just to take in the views, take a dip in the lake, and go for walks around the lodge. In the mornings you can hear the fisherman calling out to the market down on the banks below, and children run along playing, living in the houses nearby. We would always walk along to the point nearby the lodge (about a 10 minute walk), and then wander down a steep hill to the lake. Ryan would often swim back, and we'd walk it, trying to beat him. It's about a 20 minute swim, and a good workout! There are a few restaurants at nearby resorts, and in the town. There is also a Cooperative Crafts market about 10 km before you get properly into Kibuye town. So watch for it on the left (when driving from Kigali). It's a nice place to visit to support the local economy.
One thing none of us are keen on is the food at Cormoran Lodge (sorry guys!) The staff are hard-working and kind, and you'll see them there from 6 am to 11 pm. The menu always sounds appealing, but then you get the food......never quite up to standards. If you prepare yourself, one or two meals will be fine. But as you have a fridge in your room, we recommend bringing up some cheese, bread, crudities, and other snacks to enjoy alongside the food. Breakfast is included, and includes fruit, yogurt and some pastries/bread. You can order eggs and bacon, for an extra price. Hopefully the lodge can work to improve it's menu offerings. If you're reading this, we love you guys, and you could honestly have the best accommodation in Rwanda if you could just improve the food!
Rates & How to Book
You can call or email the lodge, and Remy the manager will help you arrange your trip. Tip - BOOK EARLY. There are only 7 rooms, and some of the treehouses are connected with adjoining upstairs/downstairs rooms (great for families or groups). As so many residents book up on the weekends and during holidays, always best to check in advance. There are also discounted rates for residents, so the rooms are really reasonable (from $90USD a night). All the information is found on the Cormoran Lodge website. Enjoy!