It’s a bit like a relaxing treehouse stay, with boardwalks through the trees and views over the water…
Ruzizi is right in the wild, with birds and animals all around. It’s on the edge of Lake Ihema in the south of the Akagera National Park, sitting in the lush forest. It is a bit like a relaxing treehouse stay, with boardwalks through the trees and views over the water. You have the sounds of hippo throughout the night and some really spectacular forest birds.
It was launched at the end of 2012 with seven twin and double rooms; we added the Family Room and Treetop Room (our honeymoon suite) two years later. At the time, Akagera had limited mid-to-high-level accommodation options, particularly with an authentic safari feel. Ruzizi was a means of meeting the needs of guests wanting to stay in the park with a bit of luxury and also ensuring that all the income could be invested straight back into the conservation of the park.
It’s elegantly simple and tented, so you feel you’re in nature, with all the things you need to feel very comfortable. Our materials were sourced locally and the lodge blends in completely with the environment. No trees were cut at all during the building – they were incorporated into the design. Over the years we have renovated and refurbished the accommodation and main areas to keep everything beautiful and added a special massage room hidden away in the trees. We aim to be low-impact; the lodge is 100% solar powered and we have largely eliminated single-use plastics.
Our menu is a blend of international, African and Rwandan cuisine. We focus on creating delicious and satisfying meals using locally available products rather than complicated and fancy offerings with international products. All meals, if the weather allows, are served on the deck outside under the trees and overlooking Lake Ihema.
There are many activities in the park that guests can enjoy, from game drives to hot-air ballooning, and we will be starting sunset cruises on the lake. You can also see plenty of wildlife, such as vervet monkeys, baboons and bush babies, without leaving the lodge; sometimes, elephants even come to swim in the lake. A few years ago, a python killed and ate a small crocodile just in front of the deck. We had a TV crew visiting us at the time, so their cameraman was able to film it.
As I mentioned, 100% of the income is directly invested in conservation and the local community – so a guest’s stay is impactful in securing the future of Akagera National Park. Around 80% of our staff are from the immediate communities, and we run a training and internship program which the majority have undergone to help them gain work at the lodge. Its success is shown by the fact we always receive compliments on our friendly service, as well as the great food and beautiful setting.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Vicki, who's travelled extensively in Rwanda. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the guides who track mountain gorillas day and night to ensure you get the best sightings, the Kigalians who'll give you a real insight into their vibrant city and the coffee-growers who'll tutor you in the art of tasting.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656