New way to explore Rwanda: a luxury solar powered houseboat


Launched in the summer of 2021, this floating luxury hotel with 10 cabins will take you to see a different side of Rwanda.

Float in one of the most biodiverse ecozones in the world

Rwanda is known to most travelers for its mountain gorillas and for the wildlife – including the “big five” – that you can see on safari. For those who want to see a rarer side of Rwanda, try this new luxury houseboat cruise on one of Africa’s largest lakes.

Lake Kivu is a freshwater lake in the Great Rift Valley located on the western border of Rwanda with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is the largest lake in Rwanda and a relaxing way to see the range of what Rwanda has to offer. Without hippos and crocodiles, Lake Kivu is safe for kayaking and other water sports.

The all new Mantis Kivu Queen uBuranga offers the first luxury cruise on the lake.

Your journey begins on the northern shores of the lake, in Rubavu, the former colonial seaside resort (once called Gisenyl) with its historic mansions lining its promenade and red sand beaches. South of the lake, you’ll visit Nyungwe National Park, one of Africa’s oldest rainforests and home to chimpanzees and the rare Angolan colobus monkey. You will also stop on the island of Idjwi, DRC, the second largest lakeside island in Africa, the size of Malta. Called “the forgotten island of Africa”, here you will discover the Bambuti ethnic group. Marginalized, displaced from their traditional way of life and pejoratively called “Pygmies”, tourists who buy their pottery and handicrafts are an important source of income.

On your lake cruise, you’ll also do some hiking, bird watching, and seeing how coffee and tea are grown in a lakeside estate (tastings are an essential part of the experience. ). And you will enjoy the magnificent view of the lake, seeing small villages, picturesque fishing boats and several of Rwanda’s thousand hills with their eucalyptus and pine forests and banana terraces.

You will want to add other Rwanda experiences to your cruise because traveling through little Rwanda is quick and easy. The northern edge of Lake Kivu is just an hour from the Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Home in Volcanoes National Park, for example. The 11-Day Rwanda Hidden Luxury Itinerary To Allure Africa takes you to Kigali and three national parks – the Savannah, Hills and Wetlands of Akagera; the mountains of volcanoes; and the Nyungwe tropical chimpanzee forest.

Queen Mantis Kivu uBuranga

This new vessel runs on solar energy and will be the first motorized yacht to sail on Lake Kivu.

The Mantis Kivu Queen uBuranga has three decks and only ten cabins, in addition to a swimming pool, a hot tub (ideal for admiring the view), a wellness center, a restaurant and of a bar. Each cabin has a private bathroom, satellite TV, mini fridge and air conditioning. You can choose from six luxury cabins, two luxury cabins and one VIP cabin and one Presidential cabin. Free Wi-Fi is available on board. The whole ship can be booked exclusively. The launch of the Mantis Kivu Queen uBuranga is scheduled for July 2021.

The ship’s crew are local to the area in order to provide essential income to local communities and to help you learn more about the cultures and traditions of Rwanda. On board, you will admire the local art of decor and taste ingredients grown in Rwanda. The sustainability of the environment and of local communities is at the heart of tailor-made experiences.

The ship is operated by Mantis, an international conservation-oriented hotel group affiliated with the Accor brand since 2018. Mantis’ collection of luxury hotels, eco-lodges and luxury eco-barges are located in Rwanda, Africa South, Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania. , In Nigeria, Cape Verde, on the island of Saint Helena, as well as in Antarctica, Costa Rica and London, England. The brand’s goal is to take travelers off the beaten track and offer unique and lasting experiences.

Mantis and Accor take responsible tourism seriously and have created the Community Conservation Fund Africa. It is both a registered non-profit and a grant-making organization and its projects protect wildlife and its habitats and empower local communities. A stay at any Mantis property – on land or on the water – supports these initiatives.

Rwanda open to travel

Rwanda has had one of Africa’s most successful Covid responses – including vaccinating its most vulnerable citizens – and began reopening its arms to international travelers in August 2020.

For now, entry requirements for Rwanda’s Covid include proof of a negative RT-PCR test performed within 72 hours of departure. You will be given a second test upon arrival and then stay at a designated hotel until the results are confirmed negative, which usually takes around 24 hours. Additional testing may be required depending on the length of your stay in the country and the national parks you plan to visit. A negative PCR test is also required to fly outside Rwanda.

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