I cannot express enough how incredibly majestic Nyungwe Forest Lodge is. I don’t want to use the word hotel or lodge, that is an injustice because it is much more than that. It’s an experience not to be missed if you’re traveling to Rwanda. You won’t typically find Nyungwe Forest on a regular 4-5 day itinerary when searching the net or contacting a travel agency. It’s location is a bit out of the way and situated in some rocky terrain. There are no domestic flights from Kigali to an airport near to Nyungwe Forest, they don’t exist. Public transportation is available and will take 6 hours from Kigali. Hiring a private car is the better option as you can make a stop in Butare with sights to see, a good way to break up the journey.
Another option is to make Nyungwe Forest your destination after Lake Kivu, with a driving time of about 4.5 hours. It’s a scenic drive as you pass through green plantations. It’s all worth it, I promise.
About Nyungwe Forest
A little about Nyungwe Forest before I rave about the hotel. Nyungwe Forest National Park is spread over 1,000km² of dense tropical rainforest and possesses the largest area of mountainous forest in East or Central Africa. Its home to hundreds of bird species, flora and fauna and a large number of mammals, including primates. It got its National Park status in 2004 after Rwanda looked to increase their tourism.
There are plenty of activities, not all for the faint hearted, including the Canopy Walk which I attempted. I made it about half way before I was struck with panic and vertigo. It’s completely safe and will give you the best insight into just how vast the park is. Aside from that, there are treks, with feet on the ground, that allow you to explore the Golden Monkeys and various exotic flower species. Gorilla trekking is also possible here if Volcanoes National Park is not on the itinerary. Nyungwe Forest Lodge will provide transportation to and from activities but make sure you book in advance of your stay as there are limited spots and most require an early start and afternoon transportation to the forest is not always available
Nyungwe Forest Lodge
Now back to Nyungwe Forest Lodge, its stunning. The grounds, the main hotel, its 22 bungalows, the service, the food. It offers great value too compared to other hotels in this category. Every amenity is offered and the staff are friendly and attentive. You’re transported to a different universe with endless views of tea plantations and rolling hills.
The bungalows are immaculate and decorated beautifully and put the forest right in your balcony. Be careful though, don’t leave any food or prized possessions outside as you may discover that an inquisitive monkey has stolen it. As you enter your bungalow, a complimentary bottle of wine and yummy treats welcome you. The bathrooms have fabulous showers, a tub, double sinks, private toilets, towel warmers. Everything is all inclusive including house alcohol.