Rwanda has risen from the ashes and has managed to rebuild itself into one of Africa’s safest, cleanest and most peaceful nations with great attractions and things to do during your stay. Breathtakingly beautiful and largely untouched, Rwanda offers towering volcanoes, emerald green rain forests, privileged access to the endangered mountain gorilla, and so much more. Rwanda has long been an off the beaten track destination, far from the ordinary traveler’s itinerary, but things have changed in a big way with the installation of Ellen DeGeneres’ new gorilla conservation center with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and the opening of a new string of ultra-luxurious hotels. Emerging as Africa’s newest luxury travel hotspot, here’s my pick of the 10 best luxury & lodges in Rwanda. If one is missed, write them in the comments section of this post.
- VIRUNGA LODGE, VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Set on a stunning hillside, the magnificent Virunga Lodge boasts panoramic vistas of the Virunga Volcanoes and the beautiful lakes of Ruhondo and Burera. Each of ten luxurious bandas named after the Rwandan lakes features a spacious bedroom with a cosy fireplace, as well as private terrace with sweeping views of the breathtaking surrounds. Those in need of relaxation can revel in the comfort of the main lodge or spend some time in the Dian Fossey Map Room. Each guest will enjoy the opportunity for a relaxing complementary massage. Adventures include tracking gorillas and golden monkeys, hikes to the top of the volcanoes, scenic walks through the picturesque villages surrounding the lodge, or day trips to the lively towns of Kigali or Kampala.
- RADISON BLUE HOTEL & CONVENTION CENTER
Ideally located 5 km (3 mi) from the city center and Kigali International Airport, the stylish Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Center is a 5-star hotel in Rwanda’s capital Kigali. The hotel offers 292 modern and spacious rooms along with an all-day dining, Presidential & Queen’s suites, an exquisite Italian restaurant, a bar, lobby lounge and an outdoor swimming pool designed to provide a memorable experience to business and leisure travelers alike. With the capacity to accommodate up to 5000 delegates in its 18 meeting rooms including an auditorium, meeting and events planners can take advantage of the Convention Centers’ versatile event space and state-of-the-art facilities. The on-site spa is designed to offer a relaxing experience for couples, friends and individuals looking for rejuvenation.
- KIGALI SERENA HOTEL, KIGALI
The elegant Kigali Serena Hotel is perfectly situated within one of the city’s most vibrant boulevards, and is the best hotel in town for a business stay or to start or end a gorilla safari. Here, guests are welcomed into a gleaming granite atrium, adorned with lovely Rwandan artworks.
The property features 148 sophisticated rooms, including 25 lavish suites that come with air conditioning, Wi-Fi connectivity, a satellite television, and a lovely ensuite bathroom. The hotel offers a wonderful selection of dining options, from the Milima Restaurant that overlooks the sparkling swimming pool to the Sokoni Restaurant that has become a popular meeting place for both locals and travelers alike. In the evenings, you can retreat to the hotel’s convivial lounge where two bar areas await.
- SABYINYO SILVERBACK LODGE, VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
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, 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, 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. Accommodation at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge comprises six cottages, two suites, 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.
- THE RETREAT – KIGALI
A tranquil luxury refuge. The Retreat, a 20-room luxury boutique hotel created by the American owners of Heaven, designed by Italian architects, brought to life by an extraordinary team of Rwandan builders and technicians. Set in the vibrant heart of Kigali, this luxury boutique hotel and spa offers easy access to all that is happening in this dynamic city. As one of Kigali’s top 5 star hotels, it offers the perfect combination of leafy tranquility, Rwandan flair, and contemporary buzz. Whether dining on exotic Rwandan cuisine at Fusion or Heaven restaurants, soaking up the warmth of Kigali’s people and culture, your time here is sure to promise memories to last a lifetime.
- SINGITA KWITONDA LODGE & KATAZA HOUSE, VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Singita Kwitonda Lodge & Kataza House is located on a breathtaking, isolated but contained 178-acre piece of land right on the edge of Volcanoes National Park. The presence of the lodge on the park border will help to improve the function of the buffer area between agricultural plots and the habitat of the estimated 320 mountain gorillas that find sanctuary here. Set within a landscape of wetlands and lush meadows, there are eight suites and a four-bedroom villa linked by volcanic rock pathways to a central lodge. Singita Kwitonda is built to embody the spirit of Rwanda and offer a tribute to the lodge’s namesake Kwitonda a great silverback gorilla whose legend lives on in Rwanda and was known for his humility and gentleness.
- BISATE LODGE BY WILDERNESS SAFARIS, VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Comprising of spacious forest villas, Bisate offers a luxurious base from where to enjoy an extraordinary gorilla conservation experience and life-changing journey to this beautiful region. Situated within the amphitheater of an eroded volcanic cone, Bisate is surrounded by natural splendor, with sweeping views towards the Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno volcanoes. Bisate’s sophisticated architectural and interior design is rooted in Rwandan building tradition as exemplified in the design of the Royal Palace of the traditional monarch. The spherical, thatched structures echo the thousands of hills that dot the Rwandan landscape, while the richly-detailed interiors exhibit surfaces and screens made from a variety of woven materials with strong resonance in Rwandan culture.
- MAGASHI CAMP BY WILDERNESS SAFARIS, AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Magashi Camp is situated in the productive and phenomenally diverse north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park, overlooking scenic Lake Rwanyakazinga. Akagera comprises some of the most scenic savannah in East Africa – open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamp, and grassy low mountains – and is home to one of Africa’s highest hippo densities, some very large crocodiles as well as rare sitatunga and inscrutable shoebill. Six spacious and airy tented guest rooms will offer uninterrupted views over Lake Rwanyakazinga while Magashi’s main area will comprise a luxurious lounge, dining and bar area, wine cellar and pool, as well as an expansive viewing deck with convivial fire pit. The architecture and interiors will pay homage to traditional Rwandan culture.
- ONE&ONLY NYUNGWE HOUSE, NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK
Alongside ancient rainforest, within the lush green expanse of a working tea plantation, Nyungwe House offers an exciting window to Africa’s fascinating wildlife and culture. Exploratory treks and hikes through the forest give guests access to the park’s nearly 250,000 acres, where they can discover black-and-white colobus monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys, and more than 275 bird species. After full days out in the park, guests can retire to the resort’s modern suites and villas, each featuring decor accented with traditional African touches and vast private decks equipped with fireplaces. The resort also features an infinity pool and intimate spa house.
- ONE&ONLY GORILLA’S NEST, VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Nestled amongst a forest of eucalyptus trees, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest provide breath-taking views of Rwandan hills and the slopes of the Volcanoes National Park. Guests are able to discover the magical habitat of critically endangered mountain gorillas, a rare adventure. Bespoke accommodation honor the location and natural elements will be woven throughout the resort, to inform the design of both the public and private spaces of the resort. Local African cuisine surround a traditional Boma, providing the perfect location to share adventures from the day and enjoy fruit and vegetables from the resort’s garden. The resort also offer an indulgent One&Only spa.
Get in touch today for a luxury experience in Rwanda and Uganda