Paradise Malahide Hotel Lakeside

Paradise Malahide is a charmingly rustic and simple guesthouse. It’s not luxurious or pretentious, and doesn’t feel out of place in the surrounding environment. It’s well-run, exceptionally friendly and, with a reputation for great food and a lovely location, we think it’s excellent value for money.

Paradise Malahide is owned and run by a local Rwandese woman, who lives here with her son. Opened to guests in 2003, it was formerly her family home, and has retained a personal, homely atmosphere. It also feels very well cared for; on our last visit in May 2017 the immaculate gardens were ablaze with colour from the vast quantities of bougainvillea, a testament to the pride taken with the property. With lovely views across the lake, it is also a great sundowner spot on a clear evening!

Guest rooms at Paradise Malahide are made up of six individual bungalows and four ‘apartment’ rooms, all fairly simple, and linked by pathways that are lit at night. The circular bungalows, built of local wood and volcanic rock, are dotted around the gardens to one side of the central area, and the ‘apartment’ rooms are grouped in a larger two-storey structure at the far end.

  1. The bungalows have a double bed with mosquito netting, a couple of bamboo chairs, a small table and a wardrobe. Rattan matting covers the flagstone floors, and African kanga curtains add a splash of colour, though the rooms feel quite dark. On the plus side, they do remain cool despite the heat outside.

A small tiled bathroom leads off the bedroom, and it’s similarly very simple and designed to be functional rather than stylish. There’s a small sink, flush toilet and, across one side, a low wall with a brightly coloured shower curtain that separates the shower and stops water going over the floor.

  1. The ‘apartment’ rooms are in a separate building, with a twin room and a triple room on the ground floor and the same arrangement on the first floor. Although similar to the bungalows in design and style, these rooms are more spacious, and have a large veranda at the front, set with a couple of chairs.

Cormoran Lodge is located in the village of Kibuye on the eastern shores of Lake Kivu in Rwanda. Cormoran Lodge is a pleasant place to stay, perfectly situated to break the journey between Virunga Mountains and Nyungwe Forest. Enjoy this beautifully located log-cabin lodge for an overnight whilst on a gorilla trekking trip, or stay longer for a laid-back holiday at the lake. Set in a small bay, a short distance to the north of town, Cormoran Lodge consists of elegant little public areas and just a handful of rooms, all set up on stilts on steep slopes above a small raised beach.

The central areas of Cormoran Lodge consist of a large wooden structure set into the hill, supported on wooden stilts, with recently renovated wooden decking. At its heart are a large bar and a big fireplace, which is lit in the cooler evenings. On one side, there are sofas, chairs and a TV; on the other, tables are set out for dinner.

Cormoran Lodge Activities

Steep steps lead down to a small private man-made beach next to the lake, with a few sunloungers, a campfire, and toys and swings for children to play on. It’s just a short walk to a jetty where guests are welcome to swim, while the more active can rent kayaks or motorboats, or go water skiing. Lake Kivu area has lot biodiversity secrets; it has 26 fish species and is a breeding haven for many bird species. Most of breeding areas are on the same islands and peninsula. Daily excursions include a visit to Napoleon Island near Kibuye – home to thousands of bats. Spend the night or enjoy a meal at Amahoro Island near Kibuye, or visit the inhabitants of Bugarama and Nkomo Islands. There is also the option to cycle, hike or drive along the Congo-Nile Trail. This 227 km long trail runs from Gisenyi to Kamembe along the scenic shores of Lake Kivu.

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

Sitting of the incredible white sandy shores of the 6th largest lake in Africa Lake Kivu, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel offers the best escape in Rwanda with its large tropical gardens. It also has over 66 luxurious spacious rooms, plus executive suites as well as family accommodation. There are a variety of beach games  to choose from as well as relaxing on the shores while enjoying the gorgeous scenery and also bird watching. It’s a large, international-style hotel with a range of facilities and activities, and fronted by a long beach.

Outlook aside, all the rooms have broadly the same features: neutral décor, air conditioning, 24-hour power, tea- and coffee-making facilities, safes, DSTV and WiFi access, and a private balcony. That said, six of the rooms are slightly larger ‘suites’ with a small lounge area with sofa, minibar and flat-screen TV, and a larger bathroom with a double shower.

Downstairs, the open, breezy bar has lovely view over the lake – though it does lack a little in atmosphere. Adjacent to the bar is the Kiyaga Restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is served as a buffet, with lunch and dinner being served either as a buffet or from an al a carte menu depending on the hotels occupancy. Guests can choose to eat on the veranda next to the pool, or in the inside dining room during cooler evenings. The Ziwini Cafe is located beneath the pool, and is open during the day, serving a selection of snacks and drinks.

The facilities at the Lake Kivu Serena are excellent. There’s a large swimming pool overlooking the lake, with plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas dotted around. A shallow children’s swimming pool adjoins the main pool, although parental supervision is recommended. Loungers and umbrellas are set out, too, along the beach that runs in front of the hotel. There are tennis courts that guests can use as well as a watersports centre with catamaran, jet skis and more. A spa provides Elemis treatments, with prices from US$65 for a 90-minute massage. And a little shop sells trinkets and souvenirs from Rwanda, Kenya and the Congo, as well as useful items such as toothpaste and sun cream.

Rooms & Amenities

The 66 en-suite rooms at Lake Kivu Serena are set in two diagonal lines, one overlooking the gardens and the other facing the communal areas below and with views over the lake; we would definitely recommend the lake-view rooms. As you would expect from a Serena property, the rooms are finished to a good standard, but lack the character or individuality that you might find at a smaller or independent property.

The Lake Kivu Serena is the most comfortable option along the shores of the lake. What it lacks in character and individuality, it makes up for in facilities. For a few days relaxation before or after gorilla trekking, this is a lovely option.