If you are arriving by bus in Gisenyi, the Presbyterian Guest House is virtually in front of you. They offer some nice gardens and budget accommodation. They have dorms with individual mosquito nets for $4. If you want a room in the lower gardens with shared bathroom then its about $7. They actually have a nice little restaurant in the grounds with a cheap buffet at night and a reasonable breakfast at a low price. Just don’t expect any alcohol and you will hear choir singing in the late morning in the near distance. The receptionist, Innocent, was a cracking guy who let me charge up my batteries and cell phone in his office. Security is on the gate 24 hours a day.
My room has a comfy enough bed(s), mosquito nets and screens on the windows. It is set under lots of trees and the rooms stay cool during the day. Hot water is not an issue. The lower rooms are actually near the main road, but traffic virtually stops at nightfall and the town is quiet at night.
I stayed here twice and was made to feel very welcome. My room was inside a locked building and I only shared the bathroom with 3 other rooms – mostly unoccupied. If its clean, cheap and well located accommodation you want – this is it. If you need a drink, the bars are 50 meters away. The beach area is a healthy 15 minute walk or cheap moto-taxi ride away. The market is 75 meters and the bus station on your doorstep.
Please note - it is called the Centre d'Accueil de l'Église Presbytérienne - in French
The Hôtel Palm Beach was once a very nice hotel on the shores of Lake Kivu. It is not just closed, it has been demolished. Quite a few guidebooks still list this hotel. I asked some local people what happened to it as it looks like it was blown-up. They said the government had ordered it’s demolition in 2008. They did not know the exact reason. When I went back to Kigali I read a newspaper article about a fugitive member of the Interahamwe, the organisation which organised the mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Apparently the key meeting of the Interahamwe that finalised the organisation of the genocide occurred at this hotel. I don’t know for sure the exact reason, but you don’t often obliterate a relatively modern hotel and leave the ruins.
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