July 2017 trip report

Claire writes:

Thanks for your great guidebooks – always my first stop when planning a trip.

I have just returned from Rwanda and had such a wonderful time. I thought you might be interested in a couple of updates:

 

Butare/Huye 

The Shalom Guesthouse in Butare/Huye – although there is a section of the guesthouse that matches the description in the latest Bradt guide, there is also another section that is really quite bare bones. I’d suggest that it is important to mention the existence of this section, because there seems to be confusion online regarding the two sections. We booked the guesthouse through a booking site and although it described a room that sounded similar to the section mentioned in the Bradt guide (and showed pics to match), we were told upon arrival that we had paid for a room the bare bones section. I feel that if the two sections of the guesthouse are clearly articulated, it could help to clear up some of this confusion. The “bare bones” rooms are probably what you would consider “shoestring”.

Green Hills Ecotours

We had a lovely overnight excursion with Green Hills Ecotours, based in Gisenyi/Rubavu. I noticed that the Bradt guide calls this tour operator “new” but in fact they have been operating for over 10 years, according to the owner, Innocent. The tour might be worth mentioning – we trekked a little over 30 km along Lake Kivu on the Congo Nile Trail, passing through villages and countryside, to arrive at Kimbiri fair-trade coffee plantation. We stayed overnight at the guesthouse there, having dinner and breakfast at the guesthouse and relaxing on the little beach before sunset. In the morning we toured the plantation and returned to Gisenyi by boat.

Public transport and Nyungwe

We took mini buses around the country. The only place that we found this really difficult to figure out was leaving Nyungwe Nat Park to head to Kibuye. The staff at the Gisakura Guesthouse helped us – you can take a moto taxi to Buhinga (crossroads town) a few km west of Gisakura and from there take the bus to Kibuye. They can book a ticket for you in advance and there is an agent at Buhinga who will hand you your ticket when the moto taxi drops you off. Incidentally, the park office at Gisakura is no longer on-site with the Gisakura Guesthouse – it is a couple of km east. The building where it used to be is now occupied by Wildlife Conservation Society.

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