We’re here for four days in the Discover Rwanda- Gisenyi Beach Hotel. We booked this place on a last minute deal with Expedia and we’re really pleased with our choice.
This old colonial house is part of a group of hotels run by the Discover Rwanda Group which is linked to AEGIS Trust a charity supporting the country following the 1994 Genocide. They also run the Youth Hostel where we stayed in Kigali and the Genocide Memorial in Kigali. From AEGIS’s own blog the following quotation
Through the Museum Cafe, the Museum Gift Shop and the Discover Rwanda Youth Hostel we offer beneficiaries career opportunities in various industries by providing training in high-demand areas such as tourism, customer care and the culinary arts. We are committed to providing top-level training in skills that will create the best career opportunities for our beneficiaries and put 100% of the proceeds back into Aegis’ continued work in Rwanda
This also applies to our location too. We’re in a family room with a great view overlooking the garden towards the beach.
Gisenyi Beach Hotel has a relaxed home from home feel. A place to chill and unwind.
Food is excellent and in the evening as it cools to a chilly 21°C (for us that is cool!) they light the open log fires.
The hotel is a stone’s throw from the beach, just beyond the palms which are alive to the chatters of the hundreds of fruit bats hanging in the branches. The noise is actually quite soothing as you drift into sleep.
The waters of Lake Kivu are warm and though the sand beneath makes the water brownish the lake is clean.
We are staying in a beautiful place. The wildlife is amazing, crabs of numerous variety scamper sideways across the beach, waders wade the shallow seas and the sands for Crustacea and palms sway gently in the sea breezes and yet….
…even here the scourge of Tanzania prevails. Plastic!
Bottles litter the beach.
This is a small fraction of those I picked up in the last 100m of a walk back to Peponi – I could not carry more with ease.
Many Tanzanians, sadly do not dispose of rubbish wisely – plastics are dropped or purposely swept overboard from boats – there is no regard for the environment here. So a place as isolated as this stretch of coast is blighted.
In truth it is possible to overlook the litter – there are not great clumps of rubbish. However, dotted along the beach are bottles and bags, lids and tops, sacks and rope all plastic all dumped, only slowly (very very slowly) degrading on the sand.
The previous photo blown up!
Day two of our travels and after 18 hours on the ‘road’ yesterday a more relaxed morning. We were staying at Rafiki Backpackers where we had stayed one night in the summer on our journey through Moshi on our trip from Lake Victoria to Victoria Falls.
The previous night I was asleep as my head touched the pillow and I woke up refreshed after a solid night’s sleep. A leisurely breakfast and a trip to Nakumat (the lack of a proper supermarket in Mwanza makes this a must if only to pick up some coffee supplies and a Valentine’s present 💝, secretly smuggled out when Anita was unaware!).
Back on the road we headed South East past stunning mountain landscapes (Pare and Usambara Mountains) and on towards Tanga. One day we must return and visit these mountains and see for ourselves this amazing landscape).
A five hour journey to Tanga and a half an hour on a rough unsurfaced road brought us to our final destination of Peponi Beach along a stretch of coast near Pangani, this to be our home for the week.
Pitching the tents in the light for a change and eating a tasty meal complete with a free Valentine’s Day pudding!
Fatigue set in and after two days of travel we needed to sleep. There was a lovely breeze, but even with the fly sheet open we sweated buckets in the hot night time air. The ocean climate being significantly more humid than we are used to in Mwanza. This and the slowly deflating air bed meant a fitful night’s sleep – we’ll need a puncture repair kit!
It’s gone far too quickly but we’ve had a couple of days here on Kipepeo Beach Village just South of Dar Es Salaam.
A night here staying B&B in a chalet for paying guests is $85 (£56) which makes it a little more than a Travel Inn back in the UK, but a little pricey for us. However, we won the stay here in a silent auction earlier this year so it has been a little luxury for a fraction of the price, our bid was 30000TZS (£9.31). Cheap flights bought well in advanced added little more to our costs overall.
We have stayed in a two storey beach chalet. Locally made these stilted chalets have an upstairs bedroom with a balcony overlooking a forested area and ground floor shower/toilet.
From the balcony it has been possible to see all manner of bird life including bee-eaters, tinker birds, bou bous, batises as well as the ubiquitous bul buls, mousebirds and sparrow.
The houses are sited at the rear of the complex through a tree-lined “tunnel” which is illuminated at night.
The main beach complex consists of a bar/restaurant and a beach front lines with mwanvuli (thatched umbrellas).
South Beach is the best beach to be at not least because the current runs South to North here so that none of pollution of Dar comes this way.
The sand is white, the sea azure blue, small islands on the horizon and in truth an ugly red tanker off-shore, a reminder of our proximity to the natural deep water harbour of Dar Es Salaam.
Even so the tanker does not detract too much and the waters are lovely and warm, there are dhows aplenty sailing over the waters and corals washed up on the beaches along with some unfortunate starfish.
The whole stay has been relaxing and peaceful. We have enjoyed our weekend.