Longer blog posts will follow soon about my recent 8 day vacation in Burundi, but before that I really need to tell you all about the hidden paradise I found in Burundi - Tanganyika blue bay an amazing resort on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Rumonge, Burundi. I went to Rumonge, searching for answers, seeking solace after weeks of stress that saw me get diagnosed with fatigue by the doctor. The doctor pretty much recommended I take a break - from consulting, from book launches, from hectic travels etc. I decided there and then that I wanted to go off to somewhere remote by a lake, river or ocean and take the time for introspection. I could not have chosen a more amazing place for this than Tanganyika Blue bay. What did I love about the place? Everything.
1. The amazing beach - I had fallen in love with the location from the pictures on the website. Usually one should not trust website pics as of course they are taken from the best angles, with the best lighting and with great cameras. In this case though, the actual beauty of the place even surpassed that of the pics on the website. As soon as I arrived after my long long flight (that's what I get for getting the cheapest ticket that has you stop in Addis, Kigali and finally Bujumbura..:-) I thought I would get to the location and pass out, but I was immediately mesmerized by the beauty of the lake and the beach. I found myself sitting on the pier, singing and writing poetry - that is how inspiring the sight was.
2. The exceptional service - Even before getting to Burundi, I was impressed by how prompt they were to reply to all my emails with information requests (I asked about everything - the weather, ease of changing money etc, and they were always so detailed and polite in their responses.) On arriving in Bujumbura, I was warmly welcomed at the airport by the lady who had helped with my booking. At the resort, I was warmly welcomed by the owner and his family. During my time at the resort, the staff gave me all I could have asked for and more. They would set my breakfast table right by the lake and under a tree. Next to me they would set up my day bed as they knew I enjoyed swimming after breakfast. When the skies turned grey, they invited me to the lovely VIP section which allowed me to have an outdoorsy feeling, but still remain dry. They let me and my friends use this section as much as we wanted during our stay. The waiters always recommended new places to set up the dinner table "Today's sunset is lovely. We can put your dinner table on the pier." I was so impressed by how much they paid attention to detail and went out of their way to spoil us. We never lacked for anything during the vacation. I give special thanks to the owner, his wife and his lovely family, Susan, Joseph, Celestin, Nestor and Joseline for making our stay at Tanganyika blue bay such an amazing experience.
3. Rooms and the amazing outdoor spaces - I remember one morning I spent in the VIP lounge outside, lying on my wonderful day bed, watching it rain on the lake and marveling at the wild waves on the lake - as I was covered by my blanket in this lovely outdoor structure made of bamboo and fiber. It was beautiful! To be outdoors in the rain, napping and still dry - it was beautiful. While the rooms were basic, I really loved how they used a lot of local materials. I have always had an appreciation for lovely cottages, and this cottages were exactly that. They did not try to be excessively modern - a feature that I think can look inauthentic at times. They were cottages that felt like cottages - they were warm, inviting, comforting, familiar and so Burundian - bamboo decorations in the rooms, hard wood tables on the balcony with wooden chairs from where one could watch the beautiful view. All the rooms had amazing views. I never ever closed my curtains as I loved the feeling of waking up to a room filled with sunlight at 6:30am. This truly was paradise. The one improvement though that I would suggest for the rooms is additional lighting. The lighting was romantic - as I guess it was meant to be, but I remember the first night, struggling to find my black night dress in my suitcase - as the light was too dark in the room:-) Maybe the lighting should have two settings - honeymoon or solotravel....heeee heeeeee
4. Little knick-knacks - The attention to detail at Tanganyika blue bay was amazing. I have already told you about the amazing VIP sections, but have I mentioned the trees right by the lakes that had sockets? Yep, you could lie on the beach and charge your phone....Where else have you seen that - and in the middle of nowhere for that matter. For wifi lovers, the location has wifi. For those who love watersports, the resort has jetskis, boats etc. It's the little things in life that make us so happy
5. and most importantly......The Food - I have never eaten amazing fish like the ones I ate at Tanganyika Blue Bay. Every day the waiters would recommend a different type of fish that was a fresh catch - straight from the lake to your plate. The chef would work some magic on the fish in the kitchen and bring you really really delicious meals. The bread, the cheese, the fish, the fresh fruits, the fresh juice - they had it all. The resort had a garden where they planted a lot of the ingredients that made their way to your plate. I remember being welcomed with a glass of fresh tangerine juice - it was so yum that I took the whole jug....no shame in my game:-)
Thekenyanexplorer gives Tanganyika blue bay a rating of 9.5/10 - In short, grab your passport, pack your bags and go to Burundi - you will not regret it:-)
(Note: Thekenyanexplorer is saving her rating of 10/10 for heaven - in short, I give Tanganyika Blue bay a perfect score - for somewhere on earth:-)