Welcome to Rwanda! The smallest, innovative and new luxury destination in the East African region. Though covid has affected the tourism industry globally, Rwanda with its partners has so far gone ahead to modernize the tourism service industry with the introduction of new facilities. The Mantis Kivu Queen, M.V. uBuranga, a floating luxury hotel is scheduled to cruise along one of Africa’s great lakes, Lake Kivu in Rwanda.
The first lake cruise ship to be commissioned on an African Great Lake, she is currently being assembled from parts fabricated in South Africa and shipped to the Coza Bay Maritime Complex on Lake Kivu via Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Mantis being a leading conservation-focused hotel group, ensures that it places as little pressure on the environment as possible and will therefore enjoy solar-generated electrical power and is fitted with advanced waste-management and heating/cooling systems.
The method of building ships in foreign lands and ‘shipping’ them by sea and then overland to the Great Lakes was started as far back as January 1859 when David Livingstone deployed the world’s first steel boat, the Ma-Robert, on the Zambezi River. Most of the great steamers on the lakes had been made in Europe and assembled on the lake shores, but with the building of the Coza Bay shipyard in Rwanda, the manufacture and assembly of boats and ships will be done locally.
The “M.Y. uBuranga”, which in Kinyarwanda means beauty, is just the start of an amazing adventure of expansion into the African Great Lakes region in the coming years – the start of what is sure to be an epic saga.
“The uBuranga is a pathfinder to a much larger collection of luxury cruise ships being planned for rapid and relentless deployment across other lakes and rivers in the region. We chose to conclude a contract with Mantis based on their reputation and experience in running an award-winning and exclusive waterways collection; coupled with the accolades that they have collected in the international boutique hospitality market. No longer just a contract, we have forged a very effective and close working relationship with Mantis with the singular goal of ensuring Africa’s new luxury cruise ship collection will vie for the world’s top ranking. In Mantis we have found a partner who will transform river and lake luxury cruising into an entirely new genre within the global market – the African Safari Cruise.” – John Fleming, Afrinest Engineering
Finding opportunities where no other hotel group competes in
Using our expertise gained from the success of the Zambezi Queen Collection, a waterway experience that sees high occupancies for a once in a lifetime bucket list experience, our team was able to consult on the design of the boats, the staffing schedule, the procurement, on-boat as well as on-land operations, development of an itinerary, and more.
This speaks to what we offer – tailormade solutions for bespoke products, says Ignus le Roux, Head of E-Commerce at Mantis.
Being the first dedicated luxury lake cruise ship on an African great lake
The uBuranga is the benchmark for all the Queens to follow to a much larger collection of luxury cruise ships being planned.
On the lower deck are eight cabins that are designed and finished to the exacting standards of Mantis, along with the industrial kitchen, staff quarters and the forward pool deck. The middle deck is an open space with the lounge, dining, grand bar and the captain’s wheelhouse forward overlooking the pool deck below. The upper deck is dedicated to an even higher standard of accommodation with a private serviced parlour, decks, jacuzzi and two-state suites. A ‘pilots’ cabin is located here too, which based on the nature of the occupancy of the upper deck, would also function as a spa treatment room with the adjoining parlour dedicated to a juice bar, lounge and yoga deck.
This unique cruise experience will take passengers on a luxury tour in the mild equatorial montane climate. Guests will be able to escape to the onboard wellness center as the boat lays up alongside one of the most biodiverse ecozones of the world – the Albertine rift montane forests. In addition to guided hikes and bird watching, guests will be provided insights into the quaint Rwandan villages through a variety of interactions based on culture and cuisine, center to the Mantis brand pillar which celebrates its location.
This intimate cruise boat boasts a local staff complement, enabling us to curate an exceptional experience for each guest while providing a much-needed income to the local community. In line with Mantis’ community and conservation pillars; the Kivu Queen has been created to add value to the environment and communities of Lake Kivu.
Operating in Rwanda
Rwanda has rebranded from the middle class to the luxury destination, and it is the new luxury travel destination in East Africa. Rwanda has welcomed new luxury hotel chains to Kigali city and have added others to their celebrated national parks – embracing the mountain gorillas in the west and the sweeping safari plains to the east.
The Mantis Kivu Queen uBuranga will be the first large touring vessel to sail on Lake Kivu. That body of water may not be well known to many international travellers, but it’s impressive: one of East Africa’s great lakes and bordering Congo, it sits almost 1.5km above sea level and is 90km long and 40km wide. Both uninhabited and populated islands are scattered across the lake; towns and villages line its banks.
Get in touch
Want to learn more about Mantis as a hotel partner and get in touch to discuss a future partnership or development project, visit here: https://www.mantiscollection.com/mantis-hotel-operator/