24 Jul

It's a hot afternoon here in Kabarore Sector, Gatsibo District. I am writing this piece from Cactus Hotel's restaurant. While the rest of the hotel is under renovations, its restaurant is open. Built by the same Rwandan investor who owns Kingfisher Resort, Cactus Hotel is set to contribute to the development of tourism and the creation of jobs in Gatsibo.

Despite its proximity to Lake Muhazi and the Akagera National Park, Gatsibo District is lagging behind when it comes to attracting tourists. In a bid to channel traffic through the usually-bypassed Eastern Province district, Cactus Hotel is creating an unbeatable package connecting both attractions.

In partnership with its Muhazi sister hotel, Cactus is brewing epic adventures, tailored for domestic and foreign tourists interested in exploring the uniquely shaped lake and Rwanda's only Savannah national park. The plan is to offer boat rides from Kingfisher Resort to Kiramuruzi, followed by Akagera game drives and sojourns at Cactus Hotel.                  

Lake Muhazi spans from Gasabo to Gatsibo through parts of Gicumbi, Rwamagana and Kayonza. Along the way, it forms several scenic off-shoots. From the sky, the flooded valley lake looks like a tree lying horizontally on the surface of the earth. The proposed trans Muhazi tour, aboard Kingfisher's floating restaurant, will undoubtedly attract travel enthusiasts.

Located on the Gasabo side of the shore, Kingfisher is popular with residents of Kigali in pursuit of a lakeside getaway. One can drive directly to the resort via Rutunga or board a boat from the Rwesero side of the lake. Most visitors prefer the latter because the parking lot on the other side is more spacious. Besides, the route offers an opportunity to indulge in a boat ride at a special rate.

As the need to introduce more activities arises, the private sector is playing an important role in product diversification. Known for its famous mountain gorillas, this remarkable destination has a lot more to offer, and the best is yet to come. 

Tourists who exit the neighboring Akagera National Park through the northern gate pass through Gatsibo. It is common to see safari cars cruising past Gatsibo -- returning tourists to Kigali or transferring them to the Volcanoes National Park and beyond through Gicumbi. Cactus Hotel is positioning itself as a recharging place of choice after a long day in the park.

As mentioned above, the hotel is under renovations. The good news is that the reopening date is approaching. When its thirty-three rooms start hosting guests in a couple of weeks, preparations for the launch of the aforementioned package will be underway.