The Retreat By Heaven – Kigali – Rwanda

The Retreat By Heaven – Kigali – Rwanda

 

General

Town & Country and The New York Times call The Retreat in Rwanda one of the top new hotels in the world in 2018.  The American owners of Heaven Restaurant created The Retreat, a 12-room luxury boutique hotel located on a tree-lined street steps from Kigali City Center and 20 minutes from the airport.  Due to great success in our first 2 years, we are expanding! 8 new luxury pool villas and a new wine lounge are under construction and will be open by October 2020. The Retreat is Kigali’s first eco-friendly resort and features solar electricity, organic toiletries, locally-crafted furniture from a Tanzanian sustainable teak farm, outdoor showers, private terraces, a yoga and meditation room, spa, large heated saltwater swimming pool with jacuzzi and diving rocks, and an open-air fitness center.  Fusion Restaurant and its Swahili-inspired bar, located at The Retreat, offer delicious farm-to-table international cuisine, while Heaven Restaurant (reached through the Retreat’s “Stairway to Heaven”) offers an innovative modern African menu. The Retreat is the perfect choice to host guests for 1 night or several days as it offers innovative, curated cultural experiences and exciting activities in and around Kigali. Josh Ruxin is the author of the book “A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope & a Restaurant in Rwanda” which shares the whole of the Ruxin family story.

EXPLORE KIGALI

Our Kigali City Tour is designed to give you an intimate view of Kigali on an entertaining packed day. Our curated tours are customized according the the specific interests of each client. We plan the day with a blend of Rwandan arts, history, food and culture. A sample day might include a drive through the old neighborhood of Nyamirambo, tour a local market, stop by a milk bar, taste of Rwandan coffee, and a visit to an art gallery or fashion designer. We include a local Rwandan traditional lunch and banana wine making demonstration at Heaven Restaurant, and often end each tour with a visit to the Genocide Memorial.

FASHION TOUR

With international accolades and a New York Times writeup, fashion in Rwanda is a bright example of hope and creativity coming together. On this Fashion Tour, our guests have the chance to visit the best local Rwandan fashion boutiques and often enjoy the unique opportunity to meet with designers and artisans. Our guests can enjoy an optional tour of the vibrant African “kitenge” fabric markets, and place a custom order with our in-house tailor to make custom clothing during their stay with us! Guests enjoy a coffee or tea and snack en route to see artisans in action at their workshops. Return to Heaven & The Retreat for visit to our own Made in Rwanda retail boutique and the onsite AZIZI Life Fair Trade Crafts Boutique!

ART & CULTURE TOUR

Art has not only been an essential part of Rwandan history, but it remains a vibrant part of modern life. We customize every Art & Culture tour based on each clients’ interests. Clients will have the chance to meet with the contemporary artists of Kigali, engage with local artisans in a crafting workshop, appreciate public art and potentially enjoy a traditional dance and drumming with a stop for refreshments at a local cafe or traditional milk bar.

NATURE IN KIGALI

As important as it is to see the sights of a city as energetic as Kigali, it’s equally important to get out into nature and explore. Take an easy hike up one of the Thousand Hills of Kigali through lush forested hills with our guides and enjoy tropical birdlife, flora, spectacular views and a picnic lunch provided at the top! Sample Itinerary: • Hike Mt. Kigali – spend a few hours hiking up the hillside and enjoy expansive views of Kigali. • Extra Activities – You have the option to do archery, zipline, horseback ride in the arena or on trails, bocce ball, trampoline, badminton. If you are lucky, you might see monkeys living in the forest at the top!

CULINARY TOUR

Delve into a Rwandan culinary extravaganza! Taste the local fruits at a farmers market, and look for special ingredients needed to create modern African recipes. Enjoy the hands-on experience of making Rwandan banana beer (urwagwa), and participate in a private cooking class with our Chef featuring some of our signature recipes. Our bartenders may teach you how to make one of our innovative cocktails.. shush it’s top secret!

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Hotel Des Mille Collines – Kigali

Hotel Des Mille Collines  – Kigali

 

General

Set in Kigali, within 1.5 km of Belgian Peacekeepers Memorial and 10.5 km from Kigali International airport, Hotel des Mille Collines offers a tennis court.

This property is situated a short distance from attractions such as Kigali City Tower. The property has a fitness centre, evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk. At the hotel, every room includes a desk. With a private bathroom equipped with a bath and free toiletries, rooms at Hotel des Mille Collines also boast free WiFi, while some rooms include pool view. At the accommodation the rooms come with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. The daily breakfast offers buffet and Full English/Irish options.

The restaurant at Hotel des Mille Collines specialises in American and European cuisine. The hotel offers an outdoor pool. Guests can make use of the business centre, rent a car to explore the area, or buy a gift at the souvenir shop. Kigali Convention center is 5.4 km from Hotel des Mille Collines and 3.4 km from Kigali genocide

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Buhoma Lodge – Bwindi – Uganda

Buhoma Lodge – Bwindi

Nestled at the gateway to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Buhoma Lodge is one of only two lodges set within the national park, and is the perfect lodge of choice when embarking on your bucket-list Gorilla trekking adventure.

Renowned for its warm welcome and attentive service, guests love the homely ambience of this Africa inspired lodge. Constructed using sustainable materials, the elevated central lounge, bar and dining area (serving delicious multi-course meals) offers a cosy spot for guests to unwind, and offers amazing uninterrupted views over the forest. The crackling fireplace adds a mystical atmosphere to cooler evenings.

Tranquil and cosy, the ten spacious eco friendly wooden chalets offer a private escape. Fall asleep to the sounds of the forest and awaken to chattering birds and monkeys as day breaks. Enjoy morning tea/coffee on your private verandah with sweeping views over the primal forest – what better way to start the day.

With Buhoma set just steps away from the trek start point, gorillas have been spotted popping in for an occasional visit, while our resident L’Hoest’s  monkey troup visit the gardens in front of the lodge almost daily, much to the delight of our guests.

Chalet ( 10 rooms )

Our ten comfortable chalets have been designed with the forest in mind, by using eco-friendly materials and applying eco-friendly building standards. The chalets may have been built with consideration for the forest, but comfort hasn’t been compromised on.

Inside the spacious chalets you will find large, comfortable beds and everything you need to make yourself at home. The well-appointed and roomy en-suite bathroom with flush toilet contains a rain shower with a copious supply of hot water and equipped with locally produced natural ranges of complementary bathroom amenities. Some chalets also offer a bath-tub for relaxation and enjoyment after the day’s activities.

Mount Gorilla Trekking

Mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However viewing success rates are over 90%. Once sighted, visitors are allowed an hour with the gorillas. Overnighting in Bwindi is required the night before tracking due to your early morning start. As tracking can sometimes take a full day, a second nights accommodation is also highly recommended. Ideally 2 to 3 nights are suggested to enjoy this region.

Gorilla tracking timings and conditions vary tremendously as the gorillas move continuously through the rain forest. It is good to be prepared and remember the weather can change with very little warning. The terrain is often steep and through areas where there are no marked paths.

It can be VERY strenuous – it may be just a couple of hours but it can also be for a full day of up to 8 hours or more of hiking in hot, high altitude conditions – please be prepared for this by being as fit as possible!

Buhoma Community Village Walk

This walk provides guests with an opportunity to support the local community whilst enjoying visiting various interesting places as you follow a walking trail through the village. Highlights include the traditional healer, banana brewery and Mukono Primary school where you may interact with the children.

Bwindi Forest Walk

This can be undertaken with a Uganda Wildlife Authority guide to allow you to hike along the trails and enjoy the forest flora and fauna. A popular choice is the 3-4 hour hike to the waterfall. Get lost in the ancient forests of Bwindi with an experienced guide on hand. These forests also provide great bird watching opportunities.

 

 

 

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Hotel no 5 Entebbe – Uganda

Hotel no 5 Entebbe 

Nestled in the leafy suburbs of Entebbe, is the new and stylish boutique hotel, Hotel No.5. From the moment you arrive, you are warmly welcomed and cared for. With luxurious rooms opening onto the garden and swimming pool, this is a great option for guests looking for an intimate stay in a tranquil setting.

Make yourself at home – unwind beside the swimming pool, pamper yourself with a spa treatment, or work up a sweat in the hotel gym. For one of the most flavoursome dining experiences in Entebbe, carefully planned menus are paired to an international wine list, and served with pride.

Attention to detail and an attentive guest experience are synonymous with Hotel No. 5, making it the perfect choice for a restful stay in this busy town.

Luxury Twin Room ( 5 rooms )

The luxury twin rooms are located on the ground level. Each room has a small outside seating area opening onto the gardens and swimming pool, and ensuite bathroom with shower. All air conditioned rooms offer Wi-Fi internet access, a guest safe, flat screen television, direct dial telephone, filter coffee making facility and mosquito nets over the beds.

Luxury Double Room ( 5 rooms )

The luxury double rooms are located on the second floor. Each room has a small outside sitting area facing the gardens and swimming pool, and an en-suite bathroom with shower. All rooms offer Wi-Fi internet access, a guest safe, flat screen television, direct dial telephone, filter coffee making facility and mosquito nets over the beds

Property facilities

  • Gym
  • Laundry Service (Available)
  • Pool
  • Restaurant
  • Secure Parking
  • Spa

Activities Nearby

  • Animal Encounters
  • Bird Watching
  • Catch-and-release Fishing
  • Cultural Tours
  • Garden Tours
  • Wildlife Tours

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Ishasha Wilderness Tented Camp – Uganda

Ishasha Wilderness Tented Camp

Ishasha Wilderness Camp is an idyllic retreat for people who truly enjoy the wilderness, coupled with superb accommodation and exceptional service.

The thatched central lounge and dining area provides a cosy and relaxed space for guests, although meals are often served ‘al fresco’ beside the river. In the evening, the outdoor fireplace beside the river is the perfect place for guests to relax over sundowners and share their day’s experiences.

Each of the ten spacious framed canvas rooms, privately nestled along the riverbank, is comfortably furnished and feature en-suite bathrooms. Wake to the delicious aroma of morning coffee served on your private verandah.

Resident troops of Black-and-White Colobus and Vervet monkeys abound and if you are lucky you’ll spot Henry, the lone hippo, wallowing lazily below our viewing deck. Game roams freely through camp, with Elephant making frequent guest appearances.

Designed to respect and complement the environment, this low impact, eco-sensitive camp is really something special, and after a few days unwinding here, you may well not want to leave.

Framed Canvas, Luxury Tents

(10 ROOMS)

Each of the ten framed, spacious canvas tents, set in a wooded area beside the Ntungwe river, is comfortably furnished, with an en suite bathroom offering running water, hot water ‘bush’ showers and a flushing eco-friendly toilet. The appeal of camping that doesn’t compromise on comfort. A spacious patio outside each tent allows guests to take a bit of downtime, read a book or just stretch out while taking in the sights and sounds around them.

Safaris in the Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Queen Elizabeth national Park spreads over an area of 1978 square km in the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley. The park is home to a variety of wildlife including elephant, lion, hippo, leopard, buffalo and Uganda kob. Birds present are all typical of riverine and savannah habitats.

The Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park is the place to search for the tree climbing lions often to be seen in the vicinity of the camp which is situated just off the Northern circuit game viewing track. The lions also favour the large fig trees on the Southern circuit game viewing track and this offers alternative game viewing routes.

On early morning and late afternoon game drives, either in your safari vehicle, or for fly-in guests – in our dedicated camp open safari vehicle, you may explore the area’s game routes in search of the different species. The area is still pristine and untouched with only a handful of game vehicles found around the area at any time. Being the only camp within the park, it offers flexibility of timings for drives allowing guests to maximise their game sightings in this area.

Bush Breakfasts and Sundowners

Sundowners can be arranged for the late afternoon at a suitable viewing point either along the ridge area or besides the Ntungwe River to allow guests to savour the vast vistas and atmosphere of this beautiful area of the park.

Bush breakfasts are also available to camp guests when arranged prior to their stay and if the weather allows. Your own personal chef and dining set-up in the wilderness can be combined with an early-morning safari drive.

Community Tours & Visits

Agartha’s Taste of Uganda Tour: Situated in a small village on the fringes of the Queen Elizabeth National park, Agartha is a strong member of the local community group and tirelessly works to improve not only her family’s well-being but also her neighbours.

Agartha takes great pride in sharing with you how the women of her tribe, the Bakiga, prepare their favourite food. Not only do you hear how the ingredients are grown and harvested but you can witness how to shift, grind, cook, and most importantly, keep the much-loved food warm for their husbands.

During the tour Agartha weaves in stories of what it’s like to be a Bakiga wife whilst encouraging you to taste what you may have helped prepare together. She then sends you off on your journey with a packed traditional snack and a taste of the local brew if you wish too!

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Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp – Uganda

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Once-in-a-lifetime encounters with Uganda’s endangered gorillas await when you stay in one of these eight private luxury tents in the heart of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Ecologically respectful, contemporary-yet-classic in style, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp blends in sensitively with the dramatic African mountain landscape and, situated uniquely inside the national park, you are only minutes away from the start of your gorilla trekking adventure.

Located in one of the remotest areas of Africa, these comfortable canvas spaces are dressed with indigenous prints and furniture made from natural materials. Beds are draped in neutral-toned linens, and local artefacts set a scene that ensures memorable moments both inside and out the accommodation. Each tent has a spacious, stone-walled bathroom with private sections, and a free-standing bath for a relaxing soak after a day’s trekking. The trees around the camp light up in the morning when the sun starts shining, and thanks to there being so few tents, the camp retains an intimate, exclusive feel, enabling you to experience Africa’s magic with the lightest of footprints yet with practically every mod con.

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp’s communal area stars a comfortable lounge with a well-stocked bar and elegant dining area, bestowing great views over the verdant rainforest. Come dusk, under star-strewn skies, and accompanied by the night-chorus, guests gather around the central campfire and swap stories of that day’s adventures. Mealtimes lend a taste of the destination: expertly prepared dishes promise simple flavours and showcase fresh local ingredients — try traditional smoked beef in peanut sauce served with Kalo (millet bread). Candlelit alfresco dining is also available on your tent’s private deck.

Luxury Tented Rooms

Located in one of the remotest areas of Africa, these comfortable canvas spaces are dressed with indigenous prints and furniture made from natural materials. Beds are draped in neutral-toned linens, and local artefacts set a scene that ensures memorable moments both inside and out the accommodation. Each tent has a spacious, stone-walled bathroom with private sections, and a free-standing bath for a relaxing soak after a day’s trekking. The trees around the camp light up in the morning when the sun starts shining, and thanks to there being so few tents, the camp retains an intimate, exclusive feel, enabling you to experience Africa’s magic with the lightest of footprints yet with practically every mod con.

ACTIVITIES 

Gorilla Trekking

The gorillas are completely wild but have become used to seeing a few humans after years of habituation. Many of the expert guides have been involved in this process since the beginning and are able to explain the complicated etiquette involved in meeting a giant silverback. This is an opportunity afforded only to a select few, as just eight visitors are allowed to view each group every day. Tracking through dense forest with steep slopes means that participants do need to be physically fit to enjoy the track. Once the gorillas are located, spend a maximum of one hour with them before returning back to camp. Please note only children aged 15 and above can track gorilla.

A tracking permit must be bought in advance in person in Bwindi.

Batwa Tribe Experience

Learn about and interact with the local Batwa People. This full day activity involves a three hour walk followed by about an hour spent with the Batwa. The walk back to camp is two hours. The visit includes a music performance, visitation by the goddess, hunting and gathering demonstration and an opportunity to see how they live. The Twa tribe who are also known as the Batwa are the oldest inhabitants of the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. They speak the same language as the Hutu and Tutsi groups of Rwanda. Like most of the tribes in Africa, they have moved from place to place and are now found in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and eastern portions of the DRC. Statistics show that by the year 2000 their numbers were approximately 80,000 people, making them a significant minority group in these countries. The first records of the Batwa were made by the Egyptians over 4,000 years ago. They described them as short statured people living near the “Mountains of the Moon” extolling their abilities as dancers and story tellers.

Community Walk

Bwindi is surrounded on the Buhoma side by the Bakiga community and the Batwa people community. The walk takes about two hours and begins with a stroll through a small tea farming project. Here you can stop to meet the tea pickers and perhaps even learn how to pluck tea leaves along the way. Then visit a local beer brewery and see how they mash bananas to make a fermented brew which is mixed and distilled to make banana beer – a popular local drink in the area. From here walk a short distance to the local hospital which Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp supports through various projects. Learn about how it started and the work they do for the community. Continue your walk to a nearby village and visit a traditional medicine man. The knowledge of using herbs for healing has been passed on from generation to generation and he will show you some of the herbs that grow in the forest and talk about how they are used. Later, relax and enjoy a performance by the Batwa community before returning to the camp.

Birding Walk

Bwindi boasts over 350 bird species, including 24 that are endemic to these highlands straddling Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo – the so-called the “Albertine Rift Endemics”. For keen birders, we can arrange for a local expert to guide you on a fascinating 2-3 hour walk through the park.

Forest Walk

Bwindi is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a spectacular place to visit. In addition to the gorillas, Bwindi is also home to rare forest elephants, giant forest hogs and eleven kinds of primates, such as red tailed and blue monkeys, black and white colobus, baboons and chimpanzees. You can also find forest duiker antelopes, bush buck antelopes and over 200 species of butterflies. We can offer a guided forest walk on the Munyaga waterfall trail. This trail starts from the Park office and ends at the magnificent Munyaga waterfall. The walk to and from the waterfall takes about three hours and is a good way to practice or cool down a day before or after the gorilla tracking.

Queen Elizabeth National Park Drives

While staying at Gorilla Forest Camp guests are able to venture out on game drives to Ishasha, located in the south of the well known Queen Elizabeth National Park popular for its tree climbing lions, savanna elephants, buffaloes, topi, hippos, various bird species, warthogs and the occational leopard.

The Ishasha Sector is famous for its population of tree-climbing lions. The Lions are normally seen lazily lying within the branches of the huge fig trees staring down at the numerous Uganda Kobs grazing in the open Ishasha plains. This is usually a full day outing where guests are able to stop for lunch at the hippo pool. Departure is 6:30 in the morning.

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