Ruzizi Tented Lodge, Rwanda
Right on the shores of Lake Ihema, Akagera National Park’s largest lake, Ruzizi Tented Lodge brilliantly blends in with its riverine forest surroundings. Nature is part of the fabric of Ruzizi, with Akagera’s patchwork of marshland, open plains, woodland and lakes seemingly steps away from the lodge, such is the immediacy of the environment around you. Wildlife never escapes your attention, too, from being woken up by the dawn chorus to watching hippos frolic in the lake and nights under the stars being soundtracked by frogs croaking like crazy. Eco-conscious and community-orientated, Ruzizi operates entirely on solar power and all proceeds from the lodge go towards protecting the national park and the nearby villages. With only nine safari-style tents, privacy and peace among your surroundings is guaranteed. This just leaves you the enviable task of soaking up the fine lakeside views on the large decking area beside an open fire.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge
Each tent is simple but very comfortable, decorated with traditional fabrics, artwork and wooden furniture, and fitted with hot showers and cosy queen-sized bed. However, at Ruzizi you’re not meant to be cooped up inside for too long – every tent comes with its own private patio and when you’re not on a game drive or out on the lake, that’s where you should be to watch the wildlife go by.
Meals are usually served either in the lodge’s restaurant or out on the terrace overlooking Lake Ihema. Breakfast mainly consists of fruits, breads, eggs and fruit juices, along with a side of kingfishers and weaver birds darting along the lake’s surface in front of you, while the dinner menu is a mix of continental dishes and traditional Rwandan meals like sambaza (a sardine-like fish), washed down with urwagwa (banana beer). If you’re heading out on a game drive, packed lunches can also be made to take with you.
Even though the lodge is a great vantage point for spotting wildlife, you really need to get out and explore Akagera National Park deeper for richer animal encounters. Ruzizi offers daily game drives so you can spot the Big Five, as well as side-striped jackals, Masai giraffes and blue monkeys. There’s nearly 500 species of bird here as well, including shoebills, red-faced barbets and papyrus gonoleks, so make sure you keep your eyes on the sky when you’re driving around Akagera’s landscapes, too. Night drives offer another perspective on Akagera, where you’ll have the chance to spot some of its nocturnal residents – if you’re lucky, possibly leopards and hyenas. With its lakeside location, Ruzizi is also perfectly placed to offer boat trips on Lake Ihema, so you can glide alongside hippos, crocodiles and bathing elephants.
There’s no spa at Ruzizi but with no WiFi and nature at your tent, your mind, body and soul will be cleansed by the great outdoors. Relax on your patio to the sound of birdsong and monkeys scampering along the boardwalk and grab a cocktail so you can watch the sunset over Lake Ihemu from the lodge’s terrace.
Where is Ruzizi Tented Lodge?
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