Twin Lakes Burera & Ruhondo

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Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo are the two most neglected lakes of Rwanda. These are beautiful lakes located at the base of volcano Muhabura and close to the border with Uganda. They are surrounded by steep hills and large waterfalls with a backdrop of the Virunga volcanic mountains. These twin lakes are great spots to be visited after watching the gorillas in the Rwandan mountains. Lakes Burera and Ruhondo are close to the gorilla-tracking centre of Ruhengeri and used to be  refered to as neglected gems but things have changed and Burera and Ruhondo are popular with tourists. Their deep blue waters ringed by steep hills and tall waterfalls with the outlines of the nearby Virunga Volcanoes provide a spectacular backdrop, particular as seen from the comfortable Foyer de Charité guesthouse on lake Ruhondo.

Burera and Ruhondo are separated by a 1km wide strip of land (thought to be an ancient lava flow from Sabyinyo).

Scenery is breathtaking here as the shores of the lakes are heavily  terraced and cultivated with crops and volcanoes loom ominously in the distance.

 

 

 

In the middle of both lakes but just on a ridge above Burera lies a luxury Virunga Volcanoes Lodge. It has eight spacious stone rooms, all with wooden floors, chunky wooden furniture and large verandas. Each is connected by a short covered walkway to a private toilet and shower. The toilets are low-flushing eco toilets and the shower has solar heated hot water. Virunga Lodge offers incredible views accross to the volcanoes and it widely regarded as the finest lodge in all of Rwanda.

There is a striking bar and restaurant that specialise in organic foods and is highlighted by a 360 degree view of the two lakes and volcanoes. There are incredible views.

 

Virunga Lodge is quite a sociable place to be as everyone eats at one large table in the evening. Aside from gorilla-tracking, a local 'Intore' dance troupe perform here and massages are available. However the lodge is not cheap. A single room will cost you  720 $ and 600$ sharing. 

 

For those on Budget, there is a good news as a single room would only cost you RWF 8000 single per night at Foyer de charite, a church run Guesthouse.

Ruhondo is northerly lake, an erratically shaped body of water whose shore follows the contours of the tall, steep hills that characterise Rwanda. Ruhondo lake is more accessible from the southwest, where the guesthouse is located.

Foyer de charite has a superb location on hilltop overlooking the lake with sweeping views accross to the volcanoes in the northwest and portencially stupendous sunsets. Several footparth lead down the steep slopes below the mission to the lake shore. The guesthouse remains foremost a religious retreat but respecful lay visitors are usually permitted to stay provided they make advance arrangements. It has confortable rooms with wash basins are available as are communal solar-heated showers. Inexpensive meals and cold beer as well as soda available at low cost.

Do not expect any formal entertainement apart from the lovely and beautiful singing at the evening mass in the chapel!

 

Rooms rates are negociable but expect to pay  RWF 8000/ RWationF 12000 single and double. Reservevations can be sent to uzaze.com

At lake it is easy to negociate a fee to take a pirogue to one of the islands or the to the hydro-electric plant on opposite shore where a waterfall connects lake Ruhondo to Burera.

 

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