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Although a well proven concept elsewhere in Africa, this tented lodge is the first of its kind in Rwanda. Ruzizi is built on the shores of Lake Ihema, Rwanda’s second largest lake, in a tract of unique dry forest in the south of Akagera National Park.

© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© John Dickens /African Parks

Ruzizi Tented Lodge was completed for opening in November 2012 and officially launched in March 2013 by the Honorable Minister for Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, and Mr Rob Walton of the Walton Family Foundation who have been great supporters of the conservation efforts in Akagera over the past five years.

The lodge offers a wide variety of fun activities from meandering game drives to picnics at charming locations. Ruzizi is also a birder’s paradise with a long list of endemic and special birds to be seen such as the: northern brown-throated weaver, red-faced barbet, papyrus gonolek, white-winged swamp warbler and Carruthers cisticola. If you feel like it you can also go camping and on daytime boat cruises where, if you have your own fishing gear, can drop a line in the water.

© Bryan Harvermann/African Parks
© Bryan Harvermann/African Parks
© Kenny Babilon/African Parks
© Kenny Babilon/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Morgan Trimble/African Parks
© Morgan Trimble/African Parks
@ Bryan Harvermann/African Parks
@ Bryan Harvermann/African Parks

The lodge was designed and built by the park management and locally employed builders and labourers. Where possible, materials were sourced locally to further contribute to the economy. The lodge is designed to blend in and feel physically connected to the surrounding environment. Where possible trees and vegetation have been undisturbed during the construction, and even incorporated into the structures. Natural materials and décor have been used, most furniture either made on-site or locally within Rwanda. There is a boardwalk between the lodge and tents to restrict movement and leave a ‘light footprint’ on the ground. The lodge is entirely powered by solar energy, with solar hot water, and all effort has been taken to operate the lodge in an environmentally conscious manner.

© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© John Dickens/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Cynthia Walley/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Cynthia Walley/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© John Dickens /African Parks

There are just 9 tents, allowing for a maximum of 20 guests, contributing to a quiet and intimate retreat. Each tent has its own en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, a dressing area and either comfortable queen or ¾ twin beds, with a small patio at the front. One tent accommodates a family of 4, and one newly constructed luxury ‘tree-top’ tent is built four metres high, overlooking Lake Ihema. The special features include polished floorboards, a freestanding bath, outdoor shower and double hammock.

© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks

A thatched central reception area is made up of a lounge bar and dining, decorated with artwork by local Rwandan artists and historical photos of Akagera’s fascinating history. A large deck with a central fireplace sits under a shady fig tree overlooking Lake Ihema.

Although treated as a separate business in its own right, Akagera Management Company manages the lodge, in addition to the management of the entire park. The lodge was built as part of a Tourism Development Plan in order to develop the tourism product in Akagera and to increase park revenue for its long-term sustainability. 100% of the profits from Ruzizi Tented Lodge go towards the protection and conservation of the park as a whole.

© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© African Parks

Ruzizi has proved to be a very popular option for overnight visitor to Akagera, read some of the visitor reviews on Trip Advisor below or, for the full reviews, please click here:

“The whole experience and lodge was so beautiful and special we just stayed there for the rest of the day! … A must for everyone when coming to Rwanda!”

“This was surely one of my favorite lodges with a great service and just a unique atmosphere. I would highly recommend this.”

“The rooms are secluded and charming, clean and the perfect combination of rustic and luxury.”

“We have stayed in many tented camps in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. This simply ranks at the very top.”

© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© Sarah Hall/African Parks
© John Dickens /African Parks
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African Parks

African Parks is a non-profit organisation that takes on total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments, wildlife organisations and local communities. We operate thirteen national parks in nine countries: Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi and Benin. Please see www.african-parks.org or visit our Facebook page for more information.