Welcome to Rwanda the Land of thousand hills.
Before and today Rwanda is famously known for the mountain gorillas experience in the Volcanoes National Park that is bordering Democratic Republic of Congo with the bloc known as Virunga and then Uganda with the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
Rwanda has so far positioned and rebranded it self as now the new luxury destination in the East and Central African region.
Rwanda last year come up with the decision of increasing the gorilla permits from $750 to $1500 USD per person and it is 80 permits sold a day.
After this moved the country has gone ahead to attract most international hotels, lodges and exclusive camps in the cities and parks and these include the Singita, One & Only Resorts, Bisate and soon we may see the Four Season Lodges joining Rwanda tourism market.
Some of the most loved lodges to stay in Rwanda before and after the Rwanda Tours include the following that we have tried to highlight the services and amenities to enjoy while on these lodges and exclusive camps.
Some of these high end lodges offer a minimum of 2 nights stay and the services are extraordinary.
Singita Kwitonda Gorilla Lodge, Rwanda
The Singita Kwitonda Gorilla Lodge is set in Rwanda’s northwestern reaches, right on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, Singita Kwitonda Lodge’s unparalleled position puts life-changing gorilla trekking experiences within easy reach.
In response to its exquisite location, each of the lodge’s eight luxurious suites features a private heated plunge pool, in- and outdoor fireplaces and large timber-framed windows that welcome the breathtaking scenery and volcano views inside.
Elements like woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brickwork crafted by local artisans highlight the authentic East African appeal of this remarkable lodge.
Further raising the bar on sustainable luxury ecotourism, Kwitonda’s farm-to-table food journey celebrates Rwandese cuisine and fresh produce from the on-site garden, while the Akarabo Nursery is a fundamental part of Singita’s ambitious undertaking to contribute to the long-term conservation of endangered mountain gorillas by increasing their habitat through reforestation.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge is set within a landscape of wetlands and lush meadows with magnificent views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes in the Park.
Designed around local materials, the buildings have been crafted using volcanic rock, river stone, handmade ceramic tiles and oven-red clay bricks made by surrounding communities; connecting the structure to the landscape and its culture.
These influences, interpreted in a contemporary style come together in a current, authentic and entirely unique architectural layout that is sensitive to its context and enjoys the privilege of remarkable views.
Mountain bamboo, ferns, giant lobelias and forest trees provide a natural backdrop that over time will engulf the buildings and reclaim them back into the forest.
Dramatic stone walls rise out of the volcanic boulders, and from these the architecture is suspended.
A combination of green-roofed, stonewalled, organic cabin-like structures set alongside light verandas offers a dynamic play on shape and texture.
The interiors have been carefully curated with a focus on handcrafted details.
By layering texture and color and introducing detail through artisanal and handmade pieces like woven panels, handmade tiles, and clay feature pots, the space is both reflective and interactive.
All elements combine to create a rare and richly textured experience that is true to this extraordinary place.
A central hub with beautiful indoor and outdoor living spaces serves as the heart of Singita Kwitonda Lodge.
This space forms an experiential enclave with lounges, dining areas, an outdoor fire pit, an interactive kitchen, bar deli and a wine cellar for guests to enjoy.
Private, self-contained bedroom suites and amenities lead off of the main lodge via a network of volcanic rock pathways.
Affectionately known as “The land of a Thousand Hills”, this tiny country in the heart of the African continent offers a range of other attractions too, and unspoilt forests, lush meadows, picture-perfect Lakes and the vibrant streets of the capital Kigali all contribute to the increasing demand for Rwanda on East African itineraries.
Today, some of the East African safari operators do offers suitable combined safaris say from wildebeest migration in Kenya or Tanzania and then to Rwanda and staying in these luxury lodges and a case in point is Nature Adventure Africa offers a 10 Day Luxury Tanzania Rwanda Safari and it is customized trip based on private, family or friends.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge offers:
7 one-bedroom suites (sleeps 2), each with indoor and outdoor showers, an indoor bath, a sitting/rest area, covered veranda, dressing room, mini bar, an in-room massage area, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and a heated plunge pool.
A two-bedroom suite (sleeps 4) with two identical bedrooms featuring indoor baths, indoor and outdoor showers, in-room massage areas and dressing rooms.
The suite offers indoor and outdoor fireplaces, a more spacious sitting/rest area, a mini bar, covered veranda and a heated plunge pool
Singita Lodge in the Volcanoes National Park also includes an exclusive-use four-bedroom villa, Kataza House (sleeps 8), featuring indoor baths and showers, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, informal living and dining areas, an interactive kitchen, covered veranda, heated plunge pools, cinema room, massage treatment room, fitness centre and small cellar
In-room massage treatments
Central fireplaces in suites and the main lodge
Private outdoor heated plunge pools
The on-site Akarabo Nursery and garden
Wine cellar and tastings
A dedicated Gear Room
Two Boutique & Gallery cabinets in the main area of Kwitonda Lodge
Complimentary WiFi throughout the lodge
Electricity/power available: 220V. Converters are also available and hairdryers are supplied in each suite
Children of all ages are welcome at the lodge, but please note that the minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15.
One & Only Gorilla’s Nest Lodge
Eye to eye with swaying eucalyptus trees, One & Only Gorilla’s Nest is the closest resort to Volcanoes National Park – a historic rain forest home to a diverse tapestry of wildlife, including over 200 mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, and 300 bird species.
In and around the resort, there is an incredible topography of peaceful sleeping volcanoes that defy gravity, creating an awe-inspiring atmosphere and perfect setting for cyclists.
One & Only Gorilla’s Nest is a 2.5-hours’ scenic drive from Kigali international Airport. In your luxury SUV, let your heart be captured by the rolling vistas and local communities that pass by.
One & Only Gorilla’s Nest is set against the historic volcanic mountains of Volcanoes National Park – the first national park in Africa and home to endangered mountain gorillas.
This is a place that has fostered a spirit of love and protection over the years, most notably from renowned primatologist Dian Fossey.
Volcanoes National Park and the protection it offers endangered species and its precious land, tells a story of Rwanda. A country that is always looking ahead, fueled with positivity both nationally and locally.
From the nationwide ban on plastic bags to the regular ‘Umuganda’, national community cleaning efforts, Rwanda celebrates unparalleled pride in community and the natural world.
At One & Only Gorilla’s Nest, there is a perfect ecosystem that connects the resort with the local areas of Kinigi and Musanze. Employing largely locally, the lodge has largely employed locally, building on a booming tourism industry.
The team themselves contribute to the ‘Umuganda’ in Musanze with great pride. Regular visits and donations are made to local schools and guests are also able to purchase Imigongo art from local trades-people.
The seasonal dishes crafted in the kitchens are part of a rich eco – conscious cycle.
Delicious local coffee benefits from pesticide free growth and the chefs there ensure any unused ingredients are returned to Musanze where they are used in fertilizer to grow produce which is then sold back to the One & Only Gorilla’s Nest culinary team.
In your luxury rooms, you will experience an undisturbed connection with the vast forest beyond, lounging in your luxurious king-sized bedroom, sound tracked by the soothing crackle of local wood in the fireplace.
Watch the floor-to-ceiling glass disappear and let the scents and sounds of nature flow in. Follow them out to your secluded open-air viewing deck, enjoy an invigorating al fresco shower or spend precious time relaxing in your standalone bath with undisturbed private views.
Guests will be welcomed by an impactful view of the Main Lodge, up the volcano stone drive complete with traditional Rwandan welcome and signature One & Only Gorilla’s Nest drink.
The resort comprises of 21 guest lodges and suites – 14 guest rooms (king), – two 4 Bedroom Forest Lodges and seven one-bedroom suites, including two super suites.
Modern in design, yet with traditional Rwandan influences, each overlooks the vast African terrain with private decks and in-room fireplace.
Meanwhile, the permit to view mountain gorillas not only allows the most respectful encounter, with limited numbers, controlled by experts but also contributes to both the local environment and national initiatives.
Bisate Lodge, Rwanda
Bisate Lodge, adjacent to Volcanoes National Park, combines the bucket-list gorilla trek with a pioneering vision of reforestation and community partnership.
Bisate is located in the natural amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, with dramatic views of the peaks of the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes rearing up through Afro-alpine forests.
Encountering one of the gorilla groups/families in the nearby Volcanoes National Park is a unique experience.
Bisate is within easy driving distance of the Park Headquarters, from where gorilla treks depart daily.
Walks on Bisate’s property offer birding and participation in the reforestation program. Bisate is Rwanda’s first genuinely luxurious and eco – sensitive safari lodge, centered on Africa’s most immersive wild primate experience.
Accommodations at Bisate Lodge comprise of eight very large en suite rooms including one family unit. Throughout, the standard is that of a luxury hotel.
The rooms are beautifully laid-out and designed with features including fireplaces set into the walls, stretches of tastefully exposed brick and stone, and traditional Rwandan rugs and crafts.
Bathrooms feature baths, showers, twin-basins and large mirrors, often underneath chandeliers and domed thatch ceilings. Please note that bedrooms feature a range of double and twin bed options.
The conically shaped thatched forest villas are tucked into the lush forest setting, spacious verandas opening out onto magnificent views of the surrounding peaks.
The traditional shapes of the suites are a nod to Rwandan culture, while the sumptuous interiors maximize comfort and warmth while making the most of the scenic views.
Blending the tradition with the modern, the exquisite guest areas feature floor to ceiling windows through which guests can marvel at the world outside while enjoying a refreshing drink at the elegant bar or the contemporary wine cellar.
Activities in the area include; of course gorilla trekking, cultural encounters, sightings of the golden monkey, birding, and tours to places of interest such as Lakes Ruhondo and Burera, the Musanze Caves and the grave of Dian Fossey.
With food and service, Bisate Lodge announces itself as a truly deluxe offering, and thus the service is formal and refined without sacrificing friendliness and local charm.
The cuisine is top-class; contemporary and cosmopolitan yet fully incorporating local heritage and produce.
Menus can be adapted for individual tastes and requirements, and the wine and drinks lists are excellent. As always with Wilderness Safaris, the guiding on offer will be first-class.
Governors’ Camp – Sabyinyo Silver Back Lodge:
Sabyinyo Silver Back Lodge is located close to the headquarters of the Volcanoes National Park from where clients trek on foot to see the magnificent Mountain Gorillas.
Adjacent to Volcanoes National Park, in North-western Rwanda, the property is approximately 3 kilometers from the main entrance to the Park, and like two and half hours’ drive on good roads from Kigali.
Sabyinyo Silver Back Lodge is Rwanda’s first ever community owned lodge.
The lodge was built and is operated by Governors’ Camp Collection, but the ownership rests with a Community Trust, SACOLA (Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association) which uses rentals and community fees from the lodge to drive socio – economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the National Park.
The lodge is located close to the headquarters of Volcanoes National Park from where clients trek on foot to see the gorillas.
Situated in the foothills of the mighty Virunga’s, the chain of 15,000 ft volcanoes stretching through Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sabyinyo offers wonderful views of the volcanoes and the surrounding countryside.
The property’s guest cottages and the main lodge building have been beautifully constructed – the perfect base from which to explore this unique and fascinating corner of Africa.
Accommodation at Sabyinyo Silver Back Lodge comprises of six cottages, two suites, and one family cottage.
All are stone buildings with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs, and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish en-suite bathrooms finished with Venetian plaster a dressing room and a sheltered veranda.
Heat exchanger in the fireplaces provide a plentiful supply of hot water. The family cottage comprises of two independent en suite rooms connected by a shared verandah.
The main lodge building comprises of reception, sitting room with snug area, dining room, library / games room, a responsible tourism / community awareness room, shop and bathrooms.
Three large fireplaces provide warmth and all rooms are finished with a polished wooden floor.
Two patio areas afford wonderful and dramatic views to the Virunga Volcanoes and the surrounding lowland farmland.
The property also offers a range of spa treatments which can be done from the comfort and privacy of your room.
The magnificent Virunga Lodge is the luxury gorilla experience in Rwanda and one of Africa’s finest and most renowned lodges.
The lodge is perched high on a ridge with the finest views in Africa, overlooking the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and twin lakes (Lake Bulera and Ruhondo) to the east.
The iconic property has defined Rwandese Afro-chic since the lodge was built by Praveen Moman in 2004.
The understated, timeless, hand-made style has been further refined to meet the needs of today’s luxury traveler.
Fantastic food and exceptional personalized service by the carefully trained staff make it the first accommodation choice for trekking the endangered mountain gorillas.
The facility comprises of ten luxurious Banda’s each of them having a private terrace from which the guests can watch the sunrise over the dramatic landscape of mountains and lakes, an individual fire place, and a shower room with a double vanity.
The two deluxe Banda’s – called Ibirunga and Ibiyaga – have their own private sitting room and more refined interiors and will also include a hot tub and a larger terrace overlooking the majestic Virunga volcanoes or the twin lakes.
10 Banda’s, Guide cottage available
Personal butler service for all guests
Ikirunga – Spa & Sauna
Dian Fossey Map Room available for private events and conservation lectures
Wi-Fi access in the main lodge building and Dian Fossey Map Room
Charging facilities available in each Banda
Premium wine, whisky, and cocktail menus
40-minutes’ drive to Park headquarters
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge:
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is located in Kinigi in northern Rwanda and on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park, home to the endangered Mountain Gorillas.
The lodge is located on the foothills of the Mount Karisimbi, one of the volcanic mountains that make up the Virunga Massif.
The lodge is about 10 minutes’ drive to the main entrance of the Volcanoes National Park where gorilla trekking starts.
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is an eco lodge with 30 spacious chalets. To ensure the least disruption of the surrounding environment, the eco lodge was constructed with locally available material.
Every chalet comes with a sitting area with a fireplace and has a tea/coffee making machine. The eco lodge supports the surrounding rural community by purchasing farm-fresh produce that is served in the lodge’s restaurant.
Nestled on the slopes of the volcanic mountains that make up Rwanda’s famous Volcanoes National Park and only a short drive from its entrance gate, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is a great choice for a simple and comfortable accommodation at the heart of the life-changing gorilla-trekking experience.
Sensitively designed and built using local sustainable resources, the lodge’s 30 cottages are well spaced from each other and come complete with fireplaces and en suite bathrooms.
The views from the lodge and your room are amazing – rugged, forest-covered mountains steaming with mist and mystery – and you will see birds and monkeys in the gardens as you stroll around and soak up the scenery.
Daily performances of traditional Rwandan songs and dances supplement to the uniquely African atmosphere.
The main focus at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is providing easy access to one of the 21 habituated gorilla families in the Volcanoes National Park.
Your trek to find the gorillas may be as short as 30 minutes or it may be several hours (depending on where they spent the previous night) but the reward is an unparalleled wildlife experience shared by only a privileged few.
It can be tough and muddy work trekking through rain forest but a very worthy experience.
The lodge’s central area is home to a restaurant and bar as well as a large lounge that is split into three seating areas.
Low reed ceilings, comfortable seating, floor rugs and a roaring log fire all give the main building a cozy atmosphere in keeping with the friendly and informal nature of the lodge.
Step outside and there is a seating area around a fire pit – ideal for swapping gorilla stories – and extensive gardens full of wildlife.
Each night guests are treated to a display of Rwandan song and dance, put on by the local community.
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge runs on mains electricity with a generator backup, ensuring you can recharge your camera batteries and devices after a day in the rain forest.
Meals at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge are served buffet or a la carte, depending on guest numbers at the lodge. Dining is at individual tables with room service available if requested in advance.
Your day begins with a hearty breakfast buffet with both cooked and continental options. Lunch is an a la carte affair with choices such as quiche with fresh, locally grown vegetables and salad.
Dinner is a 3-course buffet, perhaps starting with pumpkin soup followed by grilled chicken with a traditional Rwandan vegetable stew. Cakes, fruit salad and chocolate profiteroles are among the desserts on offer.