rwanda & uganda

For those of you who have summited Kilimanjaro, witnessed the Great Migration and kayaked the Okavango, but remain in search of the next great African adventure; we bring you Rwanda and Uganda. These destinations take you into the heart of Africa to discover more than just the Big Five. Here, you will have the chance to have a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with Africa’s largest primates, the mountain gorilla.

the bespoke to do list

Below, are the can’t miss highlights every traveler needs on their list, when traveling to Rwanda & Uganda.

• Track the elusive mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, the Virungas and Bwindi Forest
• Enjoy guided visits to nearby hillside communities
• Hike to Dian Fossey’s Grave and Karisoke
• Guided Walks in Volcanoes National Park; and for the adventurous, hike to the summit of Mount Bisoke (3711 m)
• Trek the lush trails of Kibale National park alongside playful chimpanzees and do the only canopy walk in East Africa.
• Visit the Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali which gives an incredibly moving account of the genocide through written and video testimonials, photographs and physical remnents of weapons used and possessions destroyed.

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recommended lodges and camps

We recommend the below lodges and camps based on their prime location, experienced management and the range of activities on offer.

rwanda

Rwanda is our top choice for a high-end gorilla safari – each year a privileged few are afforded the chance to encounter these majestic animals up close in the mist-shrouded forests of the Volcanoes National Park.

sabinayo silverback lodge

Adjacent to Volcanoes National Park   The lodge, situated in the foothills of the mighty Virungas, the chain of 15,000 ft volcanoes stretching through Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, affords wonderful views of the volcanoes and the surrounding countryside. Guest cottages and the main lodge building have been beautifully constructed and appointed and the lodge is the perfect base from which to explore this unique and fascinating corner of Africa. Sabyinyo Silverback 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, which uses rentals and community fees from the lodge to drive socio-economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the National Park. This year Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge celebrates 10 years of operations and in that time the Lodge has had a significant impact in uplifting the lives of its community neighbours. Visit the hotel website.

 

bisate lodge

Adjacent to Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda  Also located in the Virunga Mountains area is Bisate Lodge which opened in June 2017, and is operated by Wilderness Safaris, Adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park, combines the bucket-list gorilla trek with a pioneering vision of reforestation and community partnership. Bisate is built in a remnant of an old volcano crater, the lodge has just six spacious en-suite forest villas and offers a luxurious base from which to enjoy extraordinary gorilla conservation experience and life-changing journey to this beautiful region. Encountering one of the gorilla groups 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 programme. Bisate is Rwanda’s first genuinely luxurious and eco-sensitive safari camp, centered on Africa’s most immersive wild primate experience. Visit the hotel website.

virunga lodge: the luxury gorilla experience in rwanda

Rwanda   The magnificent Virunga Lodge is the premier luxury gorilla lodge of Rwanda and one of Africa’s finest and most renowned lodges. The lodge is perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east. It offers the finest views in Africa, uniquely decorated rooms in the Rwandese style, fantastic food and exceptional and personalised service by our carefully trained staff. It is the first accommodation choice for the luxury traveller tracking the endangered mountain gorilla. Each of our ten luxurious bandas has a private terrace from which our guests can watch the sunrise over the dramatic landscape of mountains and lakes. Luxuriously appointed, with the accent on vibrant Rwandese fabrics and stylish locally inspired furniture. Each Banda has an individual fire place, a luxury shower room with a double vanity, and charging station.The two deluxe bandas – called Ibirunga and Ibiyaga have their own private sitting room and more refined interiors. Visit the hotel website.

 

Uganda

Uganda is a larger country to explore than Rwanda and there is more travel involved to reach the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in south-western Uganda where there is a population of approximately 350 mountain gorillas living under the canopy of the 25,000 year-old rainforest, which is only accessible on foot.

Kyambura gorge lodge

Cape Town, South Africa  This eclectic contemporary safari lodge, fully upgraded during 2018 with entirely remodelled public areas and gardens, has been converted from an old coffee store to create a breathtakingly beautiful space. The lodge is located on the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park with sweeping views of the rolling savanna, the distant mountains of the moon, and the sunken Kyambura Gorge. The stylish bandas also have a contemporary theme with the accent on local artefacts re-imagined in a new context. Each banda offers a unique view either across the savanna or the gorge. 4 Deluxe Bandas will be launched in 2019. The swimming pool has been redesigned and upgraded. A new spa is being built.The lodge is the ideal location for tracking the lost chimps in the sunken forest of Kyambura Gorge nearby and seeing the amazing game in one of Africa’s most beautiful and varied parks, centred around the waterway of the Kazinga Channel where animals come to bathe. The park has six hundred amazing bird species, the highest in an African park. New walking safaris have been created around the lodge to experience the dramatic landscapes of Kyambura gorge and the Queen Elizabeth savannah, and visit a reclaimed wetland. Guests can walk along the Kyambura gorge buffer zone we have created to protect the fragile ecosystem from encroachment and contribute to its long-term conservation project by planting a seedling.Visit the hotel website.

Ndali Lodge

Uganda  Perched on the edge of an ancient volcano, Ndali Lodge is a traditional colonial lodge perfectly located for chimp trekking in Kibale National Park, home to one to one of the world’s largest concentrations of chimpanzees. This rustic and intimate lodge perched on the rim of an extinct volcano which, since its demise, has filled with water over centuries to become the vast Lake Nyinambuga in the Bunyaruguru Crater Field in Uganda. The lodge prides itself on its informal, homely atmosphere which is enhanced by the staff who come from local farms and villages and are professionally trained by the lodge. There are many activities on offer at the lodge and Ndali provides local guides for walks around the thousand-acre farm and to the Mahoma Waterfall, with the opportunity of spotting a large variety of birds, butterflies and primates along the way. There is also a two-person inflatable kayak available for excursions. Visit the hotel website.

Bwindi Lodge: the jungle gorilla lodge in uganda

Bwindi, Uganda.  With only eight bandas, Bwindi Lodge is one of our best-kept African secrets. Overlooking Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest,  and with dramatic views of the forest canopy across a serene stream, it is one of Africa’s unique properties. The gorillas frequently come to relax in the verdant bush around the lodge! The lodge is perfectly located for a Uganda jungle gorilla tracking experience. The luxury forest lodge in Bwindi, fully renovated in 2018, now features a redesigned guest lounge and dining area that bring the feel of the forest into the stylish interiors. The main living area has a central fireplace which acts as a focal point for guests to relax and discuss their gorilla tracking experience. A newly designed outdoor terrace gives dramatic views of the impenetrable forest and is a great place to spot the monkeys and birds hidden in the foliage. The eight individual bandas, each with a private terrace with fantastic views across the valley to the forest, have been been totally restyled with warm luxurious interiors and inviting four poster beds and locally-inspired furniture​. Visit the hotel website.

 

clouds mountain gorilla lodge

Uganda  Set on a forested ridge near the entrance to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge boasts eight spacious cottages built from volcanic stone. Spectacular views stretch all the way to the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda, as well as across the border into the Congo, where the glow of Nyiragongo Volcano can be seen on a clear night. Warm and welcoming, each cottage features a bedroom, ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower and separate lounge. Comfortable chairs on the outdoor verandas provide the perfect vantage point to admire the unforgettable vistas of the forest below. Blazing fireplaces create a cosy glow as evening falls. Meals are prepared using the freshest local ingredients and served in front of a roaring fire in the dining area or in the privacy of your stone cottage. The lodge is situated within easy walking distance of the trail where guests can begin their gorilla trekking adventure. Guided forest walks and birdwatching expeditions explore the surroundings, while local community visits give a glimpse of traditional life. Visit the hotel website.

Mount gahinga lodge: the batwa culture and hiking lodge in uganda

Uganda  Nestled at the base of the Virunga Volcanoes, Mount Gahinga Lodge is a stunning luxury adventure lodge hidden in the southern corner of Uganda. Its rustic charm is inspired by traditional design and building techniques. Gahinga Lodge is the perfect base to go gorilla tracking, track the rare golden monkey, climb a volcano, walk through local villages and most of all to share the culture of the Batwa, the oldest inhabitants of the Central African rain forest. The lodge with its beautiful living room, sun room and terrace has fantastic views of the volcanoes and the Kisoro valley below. The luxury bandas reflect the magic of the aesthetic traditions of the Bufimbira people, with their distinct colours. Each Banda has an ensuite luxury shower room, fireplace and private porch. A new Deluxe Banda has been launched in 2018 and a further one will be launched in 2019. Visit the hotel website.

featured destination:

Mount Gahinga Lodge

Looking to extend your trip?

Combine gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda with a more traditional safari in Kenya or Tanzania…