Setting sail in early 2022, the Mantis Kivu Queen uBuranga is a luxury houseboat hotel that will cruise Rwanda’s Lake Kivu. Jenny Southan reports
Designed to emulate a floating boutique hotel, the Kivu Queen uBuranga from conservation-focused, hotel group Mantis will have ten cabins, a swimming pool, a spa, a viewing deck with a hot tub, a restaurant and bar.
An alternative to land-based safaris, this peaceful lake cruise in the country’s Great Rift Valley will take passengers through one of the most biodiverse ecozones of the world. From the boat, open-air decks and floor-to-ceiling windows give expansive views.
Lake Kivu is one of Africa’s great lakes and the largest in Rwanda, with pristine fresh water that stretches for over 1,000 square miles. It’s safe, too, with no hippos or crocodiles present.
There will also be stops along the way to explore the Albertine Rift montane forests, guided hikes and birdwatching sessions. In Volcanoes National Park, visitors can also observe endangered mountain gorillas.
In line with Mantis’s conservation and community pillars, the Kivu Queen uBuranga has been created to add value to the environment and communities living along Lake Kivu, providing onboard work for locals and income to small businesses along the river.
Trips aboard the Kivu Queen uBuranga cost from US$990 per person sharing for two nights.
Travellers can also book through Scott Dunn, which says itineraries include time with ancient Idjiwi pygmy tribes and a visit to the Nyungwe forest in search of chimpanzee troops and Angolan colobus monkey.
For guests looking for total exclusivity, the boat can also be booked on a fully private basis.