The festive season is on, and to some, it calls for bigger spending and yes …there is also that peculiar craving for bigger space. After all, it is the time to sit back, throw one’s legs up in the air, relax, and generally unwind.
If you subscribe to this school of thought, just tag along with HotSpots this week, as we unveil one of the newest gems on Lake Kivu; the Emeraude Kivu Resort. Located right on the shores of Lake Kivu, in Cyangugu, Rusizi District, the resort is just over five months in business, and is, without a doubt, the only such facility in Cyangugu area.
Emeraude Kivu Resort is what you would like to call a high-end boutique hotel, very unlike the middle-class-residential-house-turned-boutique hotel model that is currently trending in Kigali. While it offers the cozy warmth and homely delights of a boutique hotel, Emeraude goes a notch further than that; it is the ultimate conservationist’s and nature lover’s abode.
Clearly, the name Emeraude, the French version of Emerald, which means Green, was not conferred upon the place by mistake. To that end, the proprietor, a modest and amiable man called Eugene Rutagarama had this to say: “In setting up this place, I wanted to reconcile the conservation symbol, Green, with natural beauty. Emerald is a beautiful stone, so to me the question was; how do I get an asset that’s beautiful, but with its soul rooted in conservation?”
The first feeling that engulfs you on setting foot here is one of ownership: you will feel like the man or woman with the land (or is it lake?) title to Lake Kivu. The guest rooms, eight in all, are built in such a way as to each command a clear view of the outlying lake, and not just that, beyond, into the border areas of the DRC.
A sight to behold on the lake is that of the local fishermen rowing away to yet another fishing expedition come mornings and evenings. On a really good day, when their catch of the Sambaza (silver fish) is bountiful, you will hear their crackling voices rise up in celebratory song.
Management boasts a modest fleet of three engine boats, and at a small fee, the local boatmen won’t hesitate to take you on a short cruise to one of the many outlying islands, or better still, on a bird-watching expedition.
Worthy of note in the guest rooms is the art décor, which strikes a delicate balance between the traditional and modern. Each of the rooms is adorned with the much-sought after Migongo crafts, which are basically local art pieces embellished with cow-dung. The rooms go for a cool $100, but should you wish for a closer-to-nature experience, the two luxury tents pitched right on the beach will offer solace. Decked with timber floors and concrete bathrooms, the tents go for $150. The tents are the best place to catch the magnificent golden sunsets that almost exclusive to Kivu.
Emeraude also caters to the whims of gardening freaks, or people that simply align to the concept of “garden fresh.” About half of the menu is catered for by the on-site vegetable garden, which we found blooming with green banana trees, lettuce, carrots, and all sorts of vegetable spices. The garden is open to guests, be it for gardening, or harvesting expeditions.