Rwanda – Luxury houseboat to sail Lake Kivu

The luxury houseboat, Mantis Kivu Queen uBuranga, is ready to welcome guests aboard for voyages along one of Africa’s great waterways, Lake Kivu. This magnificent lake forms Rwanda’s western boundary and is renowned for its fishing industry, preserving the traditional methods of the Rwandan people. The vessel is the first of its kind to sail the region, traversing the lake South Bound from Gisenyi to Nyamasheke and North Bound from Nyamasheke to Gisenyi, it serves as a gateway for travellers to explore Rwanda’s treasures.

The houseboat offers 10 cabins, including two executive suites and two deluxe cabins. The vessel also has a restaurant and bar, a plunge pool and various outdoor spaces where guests can relax and enjoy captivating vistas. 

“The Mantis Kivu Queen uBuranga promises an extraordinary experience that marries luxury, exploration and conservation against the background of Lake Kivu, celebrated for its beauty and ecological significance. On their voyage, guests will have the opportunity to explore the region while immersing themselves in a range of activities that encompass Mantis’ core values: celebrating locality, sustainable adventures and conservation,” said Craig Erasmus, Vice President Operations, Sub Saharan Africa for Fairmont and Mantis.

As the Kivu Queen uBuranga is part of Mantis, Accor’s conservation and sustainability brand, the vessel has been created to add value to the environment and communities living along the lake. As part of an all-inclusive, two or three-night itinerary, guests will have the opportunity to take guided excursions to Kinunu (famed for its coffee plantations), visit local fishing communities to learn their traditional techniques and hike subtropical trails. Guests can also explore the smaller islands dotting Lake Kivu, including Napoleon Island, Teddy Bear Island, Monkey Island and Peace Island. One of the highlights of this journey is the unique opportunity to connect with nature by visiting the renowned mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park or the chimpanzees at the Nyungwe National Park, pre or post sailing Lake Kivu.

Stephane Castell, Regional Manager for Mantis Rwanda, said: “We are thrilled that, for the first time, travellers to Rwanda will be able to see the mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park and the chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park without having to endure an arduous six-hour road trip. We are also pleased to connect travellers to our other three properties in the region: Mantis Akagera Game Lodge (within Akagera National Park, Eastern Province), Mantis Kivu Marina Bay Hotel (in Rusizi, Western Province) and Mantis EPIC Hotel & Suites (in Nyagatare, Eastern Province).”

Insider tip 

Plan your Rwanda adventure in the dry seasons between December – February and June – September. But for a more intimate experience, venture off-peak season to discover the serene beauty of the forests, lakes and mountains with less crowds.

How to get there 

There are daily international flights to Kigali International Airport in Rwanda. Once in the country, there are two ways in which guests can board the vessel: either a road transfer to Gisenyi (also known as Rubavu) or Rwesero (Nyamasheke).