Centre Pastoral Notre Dame de Fatima
Musanze is 90km and about an hour and a half north of Kigali and now the road works are complete is a beautiful drive through some of the best views in Rwanda. Looking back towards the capital has to be the best way to see Kigali after the first climb from Nyabugogo.
Musanze has abundant hotels and lodgings for pre-gorilla trekking stop-overs and boasts one of the most elite hotels in Rwanda, Virunga Lodge with spectacular views of the entire area – Volcanoes and Lakes. In the town centre there is plenty of choice for accommodation and eating out. Notably the Relay’s Gorillas Hotel is getting a makeover.
However, Centre Pastoral Notre Dame de Fatima just on the edge of town at the end of Avenue de la Nutrition on the Cyanika-Ruhengeri Road is definitely worth a visit. Owned by
the Catholic Diocese of Ruhengeri and next to the cathedral, the centre has a commercial as well as a spiritual role. As well as accommodation its facilities include a business and conference centre with separate Internet café. In terms of rooms, the centre has 35 individual rooms, a mix of twin and double at either rwf20,000 or rwf30,000 per night, which includes breakfast. Many of the rooms were refurbished in December 2012, with new bathrooms and decoration. For larger parties heading for treks and trails there is a dormitory at rwf5,000 per person per night.
So what’s it like?
The greeting from the reception team was warm and friendly; all the staff on duty for the two-night stay spoke English and French.
Shown here are (left to right) Bonaventure Nizeyimana (Front Office Manager), Celestine Sifa and Innocent Umuhirwa, both receptionists.
Booked into a twin room I found it very neat and tidy, equipped with TV with remote and as mentioned a brightly lit new bathroom suite with plenty of hot water – somewhat of a treat for me living in an area of Kigali with intermittent water supply and no running hot water! The abundance of power sockets was a nice bonus and a rarity for accommodation in this price range. Before breakfast I wondered the grounds with elaborate hedged pathways a couple of roundhouses on the terrace and found the extensive dormitory occupied by a dozen or so Brits.
No one could complain about the breakfast, plenty of bread or toast, jam and honey, perfect omelettes, tea and coffee with hot milk and enough fruit to top up the most depleted Vitamin C supplies. Service again was very friendly and accommodating.
This is a no frills hotel that doesn’t brag about a big star rating and there’s no need. Everyaspect of what it offers is good and what you would expect; many will find the internal broadcast of the Sunday service from the cathedral next door a real blessing I’m sure. It was perfect for the trip I had in mind that focussed on visiting nearby friends and needing only a bed and breakfast.
Could it improve?
If I were to suggest improvements, it would be to advise guests of nighttime security arrangements and how to gain access after 10pm; offer Wi-Fi and make the most of the ideal location by offering information about the fantastic local tourist attractions.