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13 Best Places to Stay on a Rwanda Safari

Rwanda is well-known for its gorilla trekking experiences, allowing close encounters with endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and other primates. But there’s more than meets the eye to a Rwanda safari. Traversing rainforests in search of gorillas is just the tip of the iceberg of all the unforgettable experiences on offer. A visit to the Land of a Thousand Hills will also have you spotting the Big 5, hiking up ancient dormant volcanoes and spending time at the “beach”.

To give you a head start on planning your African adventure, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite places to stay on each leg of your tour through this gem in Africa’s safari crown:

Traditional Safari Experiences

Traditional Safari Experiences:

 1. Magashi Camp

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Located in the only exclusive-use area of big game haven Akagera National Park, Magashi offers a classic safari experience in one of the world’s gorilla trekking capitals. An upscale luxury tented camp that offers every creature comfort imaginable, Magashi will make your stay an unforgettable one. After getting close to the planet’s largest living primates, stop off at Akagera to encounter the Big 5 roaming the untamed plains. Not only will you see big game and experience life in the African wilderness on your Rwanda safari, but you’ll do so from the lap of luxury.

Highlights:

  • Luxury tented safari camp in Akagera National Park’s only exclusive-use area
  • Uninterrupted views of Lake Rwanyakazinga
  • Reliable Big 5 viewing
  • Day & night drives, guided bush walks & boating
  • Akagera is one of the world’s best birding areas

Best for…

Safari-lovers & small groups.

2. Ruzizi Tented Lodge

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Like Magashi, Ruzizi Tented Lodge offers a classic safari experience in Akagera National Park. Ruzizi immerses guests in their surroundings in every aspect of their stay. Here, you’ll have an authentic safari experience, roughing it in the untamed Rwandan landscape while sleeping in authentic canvas tents, searching for the Big 5 on game drives and boating on the tranquil waters of Lake Ihema. From exciting moments, like night drives and water-based safaris, to simpler ones like an afternoon nap in a hammock on the deck suspended over the lake, Ruzizi guarantees an unforgettable experience.

Highlights:

  • Luxury tented eco-lodge in Akagera National Park
  • Exceptional views of Lake Ihema
  • Day & night drives, guided bush walks & boating
  • Fantastic birding opportunities

Best for…

Family getaways & nature- & safari-lovers.

Classic Holiday Fun

Classic Holiday Fun:

3. One & Only Nyungwe House

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Built on a working tea plantation in Africa’s largest mountain rainforest, Nyungwe House has one of the most enviable locations in all of Rwanda. A 5-star resort surrounded by the endless beauty of Nyungwe Forest, the lodge follows suit with its stylish, modern design and décor. The numerous activities on offer – including walking with chimps – make Nyungwe a paradise for those seeking to make unforgettable memories on their Rwandan safari.

Highlights:

  • Uber-luxury 5-star lodge in Nyungwe National Park
  • Nyungwe Forest is home to a large population of chimpanzees & endangered monkeys
  • 4 hiking trails through the forest to suit every fitness level
  • Experience a Canopy Walk via the treetop walkway
  • Chimpanzee & monkey trekking
  • Tour the beautiful, working tea plantation
  • Mountain biking, scenic helicopter flights & kayaking
  • Nocturnal spotlighting & stargazing experience

Best for…

Families, romantic getaways & honeymoons.

4. Lake Kivu Serena Hotel

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A key ingredient to every successful holiday is some time spent on a pristine beach. Rwanda might be a landlocked country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your dose of fun under the sun. Serena Hotel is located on a private beach on the banks of Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes. Here, you’ll be able to tan, swim and build sandcastles to your heart’s content. Lake Kivu’s tranquil waters aren’t the hotel’s only drawcard; there are a host of other activities for every type of traveller to enjoy.

Highlights:

  • Luxury hotel overlooking one of Africa’s Great Lakes
  • Private beach on Lake Kivu
  • 45-minutes away from Volcanoes National Park, home to gorilla trekking
  • Hike up the active Nyiragongo Volcano
  • Boat rides to Lake Kivu Islands & coffee farms
  • Paradise Islands Cruise & speedboat ride to Kibuye
  • Biking tours of Gisenyi City & other guided expeditions

Best for…

Families & couples.

Stopovers

Stopovers Before the Main Event:

5. Kigali Serena Hotel

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Nestled in Rwanda’s charming capital, Kigali Serena Hotel is the perfect start or end to your gorilla trekking adventure. The luxury hotel puts a strong focus on relaxation and wellness, creating an atmosphere where guests can unwind after a long-haul flight or time spent in the rainforest. Maisha Spa offers a diverse range of treatments and massages to melt your stresses away, while a dip in the swimming pool or a delectable gourmet meal at one of the two onsite restaurants is sure to put you in an agreeable mood. And for the culture vultures, Kigali is full of sites and attractions that will titillate the mind.

Highlights:

  • Family-friendly luxury hotel in Kigali
  • Children’s menu available
  • Visit the Natural History Museum, Nyamirambo Women’s Center & the Kigali Genocide Memorial
  • Fine dining & world-class spa treatments

Best for…

Families & history buffs.

6. Heaven Boutique Hotel

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Heaven Boutique Hotel certainly lives up to its name, providing a delightful stay on your way to or from Rwanda’s national parks. Perfect for a stopover after a long flight or days in the wilderness, guests can refresh and unwind with a variety of wellness activities. Work up a sweat in the gym or with a game of tennis, soak in the solar-heated saltwater pool, stretch out the muscles with some yoga, indulge in a heavenly massage or explore your surroundings on a bike ride. Whichever way you prefer to relax, Heaven has you covered. 

Highlights:

  • Centrally located modern 4-star hotel in Kigali
  • Superb views of the surrounding tropical gardens
  • Gym, solar-heated saltwater pool, spa treatments & yoga
  • Mouth-watering gourmet meals at the renowned Heaven Restaurant
  • Tour the city’s top attractions & sites
  • Traditional Intore dance lessons
  • Biking & tennis

Best for…

Families, couples & small groups.

7. The Retreat

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The Retreat offers an unforgettable 5-star experience in Rwanda’s capital city. Everything at The Retreat is exclusive and luxurious, from the private fitness classes in the state-of-the-art-gym to the farm-to-table gourmet cuisines at Fusion Restaurant and the personal butler who takes care of your every request throughout your stay. But luxury isn’t all that’s in store at The Retreat. Guests can experience a slice of Rwandan life with cultural interactions like weaving peace baskets with local women and participating in farming activities.

Highlights:

  • Premier 5-star boutique hotel in Kigali
  • Personal butler service
  • Saltwater swimming pool, spa, yoga, tennis & gym
  • Farm-to-table meals at Fusion Restaurant
  • Horse riding on Mount Kigali
  • Bike ride with a professional Rwandan biker
  • Weave peace baskets with the local women
  • Farm activities, like learning to hoe & harvest
  • Wide variety of cultural experiences & tours

Best for…

Families with older kids, couples & small groups.

Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla Trekking:

8. Volcanoes Virunga Lodge

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You would never guess that gorilla trekking could be glamourous – yet Virunga Lodge makes the experience exactly that. Explore an ancient Rwandan rainforest and encounter these large majestic primates with this lavish, impeccably designed retreat as your base. Hidden away in Volcanoes National Park, you’ll have the privilege of encountering gorillas, tracking golden monkeys and scaling dormant volcanoes without foregoing the modern comforts you’re accustomed to.

Highlights:

  • Stylish luxury lodge near the popular Volcanoes National Park
  • Gorilla trekking & golden monkey tracking excursions
  • Personal butler service
  • Panoramic views of the volcanic Virungas Mountains
  • World-class spa treatments at Ikirunga Spa
  • Hike to Dian Fossey’s grave
  • Visit Lake Kivu & Gisenyi town
  • Climb the Karisimbi and Visoke volcanoes

Best for…

Travellers wanting an upscale experience.

9. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

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Being Rwanda’s first community-owned lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback’s authenticity, warmth and unpretentious friendliness can be felt from the moment you arrive. This little piece of heaven strikes just the right balance of homey and lavish to make your stay pleasant and comfortable – which you’ll definitely need after a day of gorilla trekking.

Highlights:

  • Charming luxury lodge adjacent to Volcanoes National Park
  • Ideally located for gorilla & golden monkey trekking
  • Impeccable rainforest & Virunga Mountains views
  • World-class spa treatments
  • Climb Mount Bisoke, M’Gahinga & Muhabura
  • Mountain biking & birding
  • Explore the Buhanga Sacred Forest

Best for…

Families & couples.

10. Singita Kwitonda Lodge

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The stunning design of Kwitonda Lodge matches the exquisite beauty of its natural surroundings. Nestled on the fringes of Volcanoes National Park, this upscale lodge provides easy access to the lifechanging opportunity of encountering the famous mountain gorillas – and does this in complete comfort and style. When you’re not trekking through the rainforest or climbing up a volcano, Kwitonda affords every creature comfort you need to unwind after a day of adventure.

Highlights:

  • Stylish luxury lodge on the outskirts of Volcanoes National Park
  • Breathtaking views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga & Muhabura volcanoes
  • Easy access to gorilla trekking & golden monkey tracking trails
  • Farm-to-table gourmet dining
  • Cooking lessons in the interactive kitchen
  • Tours of the local village & Kigali
  • Children’s activities keep the little ones busy
  • Hike to Mount Bisoke Crater Lake & Musanze Caves

Best for…

Multi-generational families & nature-lovers.

11. Singita Kataza House

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Singita Kataza House offers an exclusive-use private villa that’s perfect for travellers who value privacy or large families that need plenty of space. Contemporay, elegant and impeccably designed, the house is the epitome of luxury and offers so many private-use facilities and amenities within its walls that it may as well be a tiny resort all on its own. To top it off, Singita Kataza comes with dedicated staff who will make your every wish come true.

Highlights:

  • Exclusive-use villa on the edge of Volcanoes National Park
  • Uninterrupted views of volcano & forest landscape
  • Access to all Kwitonda Lodge’s facilities & amenities
  • Private house manager, chef, guide & safari vehicle
  • Farm-to-table fine dining
  • Children’s activities
  • Private wine cellar, interactive kitchen & bar
  • Heated swimming pool, gym, spa room & cinema room
  • Gorilla & golden monkey trekking
  • Mount Bisoke Crater Lake hike & Musanze Caves visit

Best for…

Multi-generational families.

12. One & Only Gorilla's Nest

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Nestled in the foothills of the iconic Volcanoes National Park is the idyllic Gorilla’s Nest. Being part of the One & Only portfolio, you’d expect nothing less than an über-lavish, world-class stay. And Gorilla’s Nest, with its elegant contemporary style and indulgent luxury offerings fits the bill. The endangered mountain gorillas might be the reason for your visit to Rwanda, but the lifestyle at Gorilla’s Nest will be the reason you start planning a trip back the minute you leave.

Highlights:

  • Über-luxury 5-star haven in the foothills of Volcanoes National Park
  • Spectacular views of the Virunga Volcanoes & forestland
  • Scenic helicopter flight on arrival (optional)
  • Gorilla & golden monkey trekking
  • Climb the surrounding volcanoes
  • Farm-to-table meals at The Nest restaurant
  • World-class treatments at the One & Only Spa

Best for…

Honeymoons & romantic getaways.

13. Bisate Lodge

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The unique and quirky Bisate Lodge is made up of six opulent villas resembling traditional Rwandan huts. Nestled in an eroded volcanic cone on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, Bisate perfectly blends world-class luxury travel with ethical and responsible eco-tourism. The lodge offers a lavish getaway in a breathtaking destination, as well as easy access to encounter the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The experiences you’ll have at Bisate are sure to be some you’ll never forget.

Highlights:

  • Unique eco-luxury lodge bordering Volcanoes National Park
  • Awe-inspiring views of volcanoes & mountains
  • See endangered Mountain Gorillas & Golden Monkeys
  • Visit the volcanic twin lakes, Musanze Caves & local villages
  • Guided walks, hikes & spa treatments

Best for…

Couples & romantic getaways.