When you ascend the stairs leading to the arched bamboo entrance into Ruhondo Beach Resort in Musanze in Northern Province, Rwanda, you are impressed by the expanse of the resort.
The resort sits on a peninsula, and has a campsite, dining area and bar, bungalow-style cabins, behind which lie five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains range.
It is a sight to behold with breathtaking views from all corners of the resort, and the peaceful silence only interrupted by the chirping of birds and the soft breaking of waves.
The 10 bungalow-style cottages face the lake. The thatched huts, bar, lakeside gardens and bamboo chairs complete the eco-friendly beach look at Ruhondo.
After a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Kigali and a 20-minute boat ride from the Ntaruka power plant, we checked into the deluxe room. The rooms are well-furnished with beige curtains.
In keeping with the Rwandan chic theme of the resort, the walls are adorned with local imigongo art and paintings of gorillas.
The executive bungalow and deluxe rooms overlook the lake. The suite has a dining table with a safari-style chair, as does the twin room.
We settled into the dining room, where there was a bonfire, as we got acquainted with the resort and discussed the activities we were going to do the following day.
Ruhondo Beach Resort opened in 2012, and is situated about 15km from Musanze town, about a half-hour drive from the Uganda border.
It is the only resort in Rwanda with a view of the five volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains range. It also overlooks the first Rwandan hydropower plant built during the colonial period.
Sitting under the thatched huts looking across the calm waters with boats and canoes crisscrossing the lake makes you forget about all the hustle and bustle of Kigali, and that you are at the edge of active volcanoes.
Resort manager Jean Nepomuscene Bazimaki showed us around. The resort is small and intimate and sits in the middle of bamboo and eucalyptus trees. It has winding paved walkways that lead to the rooms.
We went on a boat ride to all the islands on the lake. We saw marabou storks, gulls, ducks and pelicans as we rode in the boat. We stopped by a small island in the middle of the lake, which Nepomuscene said is the latest addition to their picnic sites.
What I loved most about Ruhondo Beach Resort is the service. The waitress and steward were professional.
The music selection at the restaurant caters to all tastes — from Nigerian afrobeats to Tanzanian bongo, Rwandan R&B, Kenyan neo-soul and Congolese Rhumba.
The restaurant offers local foods with specialty free-range chicken, locally caught Tilapia fish, goat barbecue and a wide range of freshly prepared African specialties. I enjoyed the free-range chicken, which was delightfully tasty. The goat brochettes were soft, adequately seasoned and fresh.
At Ruhondo Beach Resort you can also enjoy mountain biking across the environs, fishing in the lake, a picnic with local food from their restaurant, and hiking around the villages neighbouring the resort.
The tranquility and seclusion had me thinking how I should take a work sabbatical and seclude myself in this paradise and pen the next great African novel.