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“Simple and overpriced hostel next to Gisakura Booking Office”

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Gisakura Guest House
Ranked #1 of 2 Gisakura B&B and Inns
Reviewed October 13, 2012 via mobile

We have stayed in many budget accomodations in Rwanda and the Gisakura Guest House was the most disappointing.

Although there was hot water and the rooms are simple but sufficient, the whole experience here feels like a rip-off. The reason is that they charge extra fees for everything. The breakfast consists of an omelet with bread only, which is just not enough for us (and probably most other travelers who are preparing for a day in Nyungwe Forest). For additional eggs with toast you have to pay. Also, you have to pay bills for every night and every meal directly and separately.

The people that work at the guest ouse aere friendly and willing to help, but it seems they are just following instructions from the owner. Also I have to say that the guides working at the ajacent Rwanda Tourism Board are very kind and knowledgeable. They did everything to make our Waterfall Trail experience perfect.

Unfortunately there are not many better alternatives for those who want to stay in the near area. We actually found three in Gisakura:
1. Mama Kuku. Sleeping with a local family in the village, hosting up to 3 people. Ask any local how to get there RWF 10,000 for double room.
2. Vedaste. Small and simple guest house in Gisakuru town near the road. RWF 15,000.
3. Top View Hotel. Just opened luxury hotel/lodges on top of the hill with a stunning view from the restaurant, and a client base that is still small. Prices for rooms might be a little higher, but even if you don't stay, try eating here. A 3-course dinner of $15 is a welcome change after days of not so refined Rwandese food.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank EazyK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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59 - 65 of 86 reviews

Reviewed July 1, 2012

We stayed at the Gisakura Guest House for 3 nights as part of our tour of our Rwanda tour. To be honest our tour company gave us only 2 options; this guest house or the Nyungwe Forest Lodge which was way out of our price range, never-the-less we had a lot of fun while staying here.
We had our own double room which had definately recently been freshly painted (very freshly, the smell was a clue). There were 3 double rooms in total in this section sharing 2 bathrooms. It is a pain to have to share bathrooms but they were kept clean so it could have been worse.
On the first day the hot water was not turned on but once we spoke to the manager it was switched on and we had an unlimited supply of hot water from then on.
The manager Sam is brilliant, he cannot do enough to help and is always friendly and chatty, curious to learn about you and also tell you about his life and experiences. He is only 21 and studying as well as working, an impressive individual.
The food at Gisakura is fine. It is basic and often the meat and fish was over-cooked for my taste but better than it being under-cooked!! The salads and soups were always very nice. As was breakfast. Little tip - ask for your bread to be toasted and ask for ketchup they do have it hidden in the kitchen.
I also recommend tipping as you go for better service. We didnt do this at first but noticed a world of difference once we did.
From this lodge we did a trek into the forest to find Chimps, the canopy walk and went to see the colobus monkeys.
The chimp trek was amazing, though events conspired for us to arrive late and miss them waking up so it took around 3 to 4 hours to find them on very tough terrain. Slipping down steep slopes, climbing back up, jumping over safari ants that seem to find your ankles no matter how careful you are but once we got to the chimps it was worth everything. We saw 12 in total and around 5 on the ground coming to meet the others in the trees. The trackers were amazing and quick to take my backpack from me when they saw i was struggling.
The canopy walk is interesting as it is SO HIGH, not for anyone with vertigo. Also we did not see any wildlife so it depends on your interests.
The colobus monkeys are a short and easy walk at the Gisakura Tea Estate. There are more than 180 and almost 100% guranteed sighting (unless it rains) so they are well worth a trip and great easy photo opportunities.
If I am honest if I returned I would probably upgrade to a hotel with a few more creature comforts but thats just me...... If you are on a tight budget and would like to meet local friendly people and stay in a fantastic location then look no further!!
Little tip: take a walk through the village just down the road to the Hill Top Hotel for a taste of local life then a cold beer with fabulous views.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank JojoCC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2012

We stayed 13 nights in 9 different Hotels in Rwanda.
This one is the worst and it's not worth the price:
- small room.
- no energy / no generator at night.
- cold shower.
- shared, dirty bathroom.
- 65 $.

Every youth hostel in Europe is better an half the price!!!

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank ittam-81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2012

The accommodations were very basic, with thin walls and shared bathrooms. Think summer camp. The saving grace was Samuel, the kind and friendly manager. He and his staff were accommodating, and the kitchen staff prepared good food. I booked our block of rooms (the whole house actually) through a travel agent in Kigali for $40 per night, which seemed reasonable. But when I went to pay, I was told the price was $60 per night per room. I showed the printout I had from the travel agent, but they insisted our travel agent had quoted the wrong price. The owner wouldn't budge on the price. I was very disappointed that they wouldn't at least meet me half way. As a previous comment said, the owner seems only concerned with money. Beware!

Stayed: March 2012
Thank davekimkennedy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2011

As a place to stay, the location is convenient, but it's overpriced and the management is rude.

As you can expect, things like reserving a double room and being given a twin room just happen without explanation.

However, the larger issue we had is that the owner, who spends his time onsite, is an insensitive jerk who cares more about money than the experience of guests. We had a car accident while on a morning hike in Nyungwe, meaning that we were late by a few hours to pay upon checking out. The owner's response was to accuse us of trying to cheat him by leaving without paying and withhold $18 in change that we were owed.

So, if you want something basic for Nyungwe and don't mind paying 50% more than it should cost, this place is fine. But be prepared to be treated badly, especially if something should happen to go wrong.

As it happened, we experienced much better hospitality when we stayed overnight in the park rangers' hut in the forest without electricity or running water while we were waiting for our car to be fixed.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Nathan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2011

We stayed for 2 nights and were very glad to leave.The only thing in its favour is that is right next to the ranger station, ready for the chimpanzee treking in the morning. The rooms are very basic and look unsafe, ours had the door smashed in around the lock, so we took everything we could with us when we went out. It has one bulb in the room, so it is dark during the evening, no reading or writing in this room. The matress was uncomfortable and looked pretty ancient. The guesthouse is next to the road which seems to be be main truck route so be prepared for a noisy night.The shared bathroom was next door and reasonable, there was hot water for a shower. We were lucky as there was only one other couple sharing the block we were in, but then I dont think they have a lot of tourist anyway. Food was just what you got given, it took 2 hours to to get it from ordering, so make sure you put your order in the day before. There is no choice at all so if you dont eat meat you will have nothing. Most of the staff dont speak much English but the manager does, when he is there. If I went again I would definately try and fins somewhere different even if it I had to pay a lot more.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Gilllian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2011

Considering the tiny number of western tourists that come to this area each year (188 in 2010, the year before I travelled there) the Gisakura guest house is a very well located find at the edge of the park. The only other option is a 5 star hotel which was out of my price range. The accommodation is basic but clean, as was most of the accommodation I have stayed in in Rwanda. You have to plug in the water heater to take a shower and you share a bathroom with other guests in your 'block' but that is a max of 5 other people so it could be worse. The food is basic but plentiful and the beer is good and cold. There is a shelter with open fire round which you can enjoy a beer after a long days trekking but that is about it - but then what more do you want! Most people come to Nyungwe to trek chimps and go home again, the Gisakura guest house is a great base with enough facilities to do that and spend a few days in relative comfort, you probably wouldn't want to spend much longer... As for previous reviews about language, you are in the heart of central africa and broken english or french will get you by, other than that you probably are relying on your driver to get you through but then it's not tourism central and for me, that was half the charm! Would go back tomorrow!!

Room Tip: A few words of french go a long way...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled solo
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Thank enski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gisakura Guest House

Address: Gisakura Tea Estate | Nyungwe Forest, Gisakura, Rwanda
Location: Rwanda > Western Province > Gisakura
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Gisakura
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Gisakura Guest House Hotel Rwanda

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