I’ve been using and appreciating your guide during my two months in Rwanda this summer. I wanted to send along a couple of quick updates.
The first is about Kageno Eco Lodge, listed for Nyungwe National Park on page 167 of the 2012 edition of the guidebook, and now finally open (http://www.kageno.org). It’s a delightful place (and Banda is a beautiful, if remote and inaccessible village). But you have it listed as “Upmarket”; in fact, it’s very much a budget hotel. There’s no electricity or indoor toilet. Anyone coming here expecting an upmarket place will be in for a rude surprise. That said, I think it should definitely be listed. We loved it and stayed twice, and Christine, who prepares the food and looks after the place, does a terrific job. But it’s an out-of-the-way, difficult-to-reach, very simple budget guesthouse. For tourists with slightly rugged inclinations, it’s great to hike down through the Nyungwe forest from Uwinka (where the main tourist reception center is) to Banda, spend the night at the Kageno lodge, and then hike back up a different trail the next day. The views are terrific, and the village is beautifully situated.
Secondly, a new upscale hotel has just opened in Kamembe (next to Rusizi-Cyangugu), right on the waterfront. It’s called the Emeraude (see also http://bradtrwandaupdate.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/emeraude-kivu-resort-at-rusizicyangugu/). It has been open only two months–but it’s a gorgeous place. Each room has a balcony opening out over the lake, and the Belgian owners have put some effort into the design and the restaurant, which serves good food. It seems a cut above anything else in town, so it’s definitely worth including in the guide.