LUXURY RWANDA VACATIONS
Ultimate Luxury for Gorilla Trekking & More
When our minds wander to an African safari with all the trimmings and trappings, we envisage private camps on the Maasai Mara, exclusive lodges in Kruger’s Sabi Sand Reserve or palatial villas overlooking Table Mountain and the Southern Cape. Rarely would we consider luxury Rwanda vacations.
Though it has much more to offer, Rwanda is usually considered as a destination for gorilla trekking, and rightly so. Its national parks aren’t on par with those of other African countries, and the life-changing opportunity to witness gorillas in the wild far outshines the country’s other attractions. However, luxury Rwanda vacations are not only feasible, they are also highly rewarding and worthy of more than the singular focus of the great apes, allowing you to unearth all this wonderful country has to offer.
About the same size as the state of Hawaii or Vancouver Island, at just 10,170 square miles, (26,338 km²), it is one of the smallest of the African nations and, as such, can be divided into three key locations for luxury Rwanda vacations; Akagera National Park to the northeast, Volcanoes National Park – home of the coveted gorillas – and Nyungwe on the southwest border, where visitors can find chimpanzees, the rare golden monkey and other primate species.
The capital of Kigali is also a significant destination. The first point of entry for luxury Rwanda vacations, it is worthy of a weekend, highlighting the traditional craft, culture, and the resilience of the Rwandan people. Ground zero for the atrocious 1994 genocide, the city is a wonderful example of rejuvenation and unity.
With few options available at any of these locations, one would be justified in wondering how luxury Rwanda vacations might be possible, but tourism – and especially conservation tourism – has become a significant part of its gross domestic product, increasing the standard of accommodations nationwide.
Time to discover luxury Rwanda vacations? These are our top choices for luxury properties across the enchanting country of Rwanda.
Volcanoes National Park
The Retreat is a five-star urban sanctuary, placing guests at the heart of the capital, but in tranquil serenity. If it’s good enough for the King of England, who visited in 2022, it might just fulfil luxury Rwanda vacations.
More than just a hotel, The Retreat incorporates two fine dining restaurants – one focussed on contemporary African cuisine, the other drawing influence from European kitchens – a spa, health suite and more.
The Retreat provides the perfect center from which to explore the delights of Kigali, including the Genocide Memorial which carefully documents the events of 1994, the King’s palace, cultural village tours and the Rwanda Art Museum.
Whether rejuvenating from an international flight or concluding more extensive luxury Rwanda vacations, The Retreat is a haven of peace in the bustling city.
Akagera National Park provides luxury Rwanda vacations with a true safari option. Replete with buffalo, rhino, lion, giraffe, and elephant, rewarding game drives will take in frequent spottings and innumerable photo opportunities. Kigali is also one of Africa’s few destinations to harbor the fascinating shoebill. Though rare and challenging to spot, it is possible to observe these bizarre, prehistoric birds in their natural habitat. Standing at four feet (120cm) tall, they are an impressive sight and worthy of the quest to find them.
Rwanda isn’t known as a true safari destination, but Akagera creates a superb and worthy semblance of the experiences to be found elsewhere on the continent. At the center of it all lies Magashi, with its billowing canvas canopies, glorious interiors and exceptional cuisine – an exceptional choice for discerning travelers on luxury Rwanda vacations.
Magashi’s eight spacious tented suites offer an intimate wilderness sanctuary, surrounded by one of the most serene landscapes imaginable in an ideal location for exceptional safari adventures.
Elephant wander by the camp drinking from the nearby waterholes, guests can safari by four-wheel drive or boat, and the property also partakes in vital conservation work that can be observed by guests.
Nyungwe National Park has a wealth of primate residents, from the tiny dwarf galago to baboons, colobus monkeys and the sought-after chimpanzees.
Adjacent to the ancient rainforest lies Nyungwe House, a superb combination of modern luxury and organic materials, a plethora of timber furnishings and decor uniting the premier property with the raw nature of the forest.
Set within a working tea plantation, the chic and stylish Nyungwe House embraces its natural surroundings, wonderfully opulent whilst allowing the lush flora encompassing it to flourish and take center stage.
Though much of Africa’s iconic wildlife cannot be found here, luxury Rwanda vacations invariably have a focus upon primates, and Nyungwe provides these in number.
Spread across eight timber villas, the 22 rooms and suites are impeccably presented, each with its own private balcony gazing across the lush tea plantations and forest beyond.
The property features a delectable restaurant menu, gymnasium and spa, allowing guests to unwind completely and melt into their wilderness setting.
Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is the purpose of the majority of luxury Rwanda vacations. Home to the spectacular gorillas of Rwanda, the park has seen a dramatic refocus from the days of poaching to sustain local economy, to the present emphasis on conservation. Many of the former poachers are now using their knowledge of the gorilla habitat and behavior to benefit visitors and for the protection of the endangered species they once hunted. This dramatic reversal of action has also benefitted the region’s communities, the influx of tourists and scientists supplanting and expanding upon the income provided by poaching.
While simple base camps were established some years ago, the recent growth in visitor interest has inspired the development of more elite properties, each embodying the focus on conservation. Thankfully, visits to the gorilla sites are carefully monitored and strictly limited. Not only does this protect the gorilla population and their habitat, it also ensures that development is kept to a minimum, resulting in exclusive experiences for guests.
With its rock-hewn walls and low profile, Kwitonda melts into its surroundings without impacting them, but this belies the exquisite suites found within. Each of its eight private luxury residences features its own private heated plunge pool, wellness treatment area, in- and outdoor fireplaces and large timber-framed windows to embrace breathtaking scenery and volcano views beyond.
Kwitonda navigates the fine line between providing accommodation of the most exceptional standard while not separating guests from the raw beauty of the untouched landscapes. The farm-to-table garden reflects this notion. Being both sustainable and wonderfully natural, the flavors and colors of the surrounding wilderness are presented in impeccably prepared dishes and served in the property’s restaurant bathed in sunlight.
Again, conservation is of the utmost importance at Kwitonda, and the property offers guests the opportunity to visit the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. This wonderful campus hosts people-centered programs aimed at training the next generation of African conservationists – as well as addressing the basic needs of communities who live alongside the gorillas through food and water security, livelihood, and education programs.
Wherever it were to be located, Kwintonda would offer the highest standard of accommodation and is an exceptional addition to luxury Rwanda vacations.
At Gorilla’s Nest one might be unsure if they are in the wilds of Rwanda or at an indulgent spa retreat. Each individual lodge is suspended within the surrounding forest, giving the impression of a comprehensive immersion in this spectacular destination.
Wandering the timber walkways, one gains views of the majestic mountain range from the shade of the towering eucalypt trees, orchids and other indigenous flora creating a resplendent carpet of color.
While gorilla trekking may be at the core of luxury Rwanda vacations, Gorilla’s Nest expands the experience, with a wonderfully-appointed spa ready day or night to embrace you in serenity and surrender. Local culture is also brought to the fore, traditional musical performances taking place around the property’s roaring firepit and excursions to the surrounding villages providing insight into the daily life of the Rwandan people.
Each of the lodges and suites reflects the rugged setting in subtle nuances while providing quintessentially luxurious lodging for its guests. A private dining area offers guests a more intimate setting, the on-site restaurant drawing from its own organic garden to create a feast of fine dining.
Though the mountaintop great apes might be the purpose of luxury Rwanda vacations, Gorilla’s Nest allows one to experience the region and country in its entirety, inspiring a greater understanding of its people, past and culture.
Inspired by the interwoven bird’s nests of Volcanoes National Park, Bisate Lodge rises from the verdant forest like a series of organic pods. This remarkable design is both remarkably striking and ecologically beneficial.
The interior divinely chic whilst creating warmth and comfort. The motif of the domed ceiling flows throughout the property, graceful curves reflected architecturally and in furnishings to instil elegance while blending seamlessly with the natural world beyond its thatched dwellings.
Impeccable luxury abounds at Bisate, yet where other lodges blur the boundaries between nature and accommodation, this lodge integrates with it completely, and despite its elegant and meticulously appointed interior, the sense of natural integration is pervasive.
Though established as a luxury lodge, conservation and gorilla trekking lie in equal emphasis in the foundation of Bisate. Guests can take part in an extensive tree-planting reforestation program, learn how Bisate contributes to gorilla protection and environmental conservation, and visit local villages to see for themselves how this and other such lodges are uniting tourism with environmental and community sustainability and conservation.
The gorilla’s form just one element of the plethora of activities at Bisate Lodge, and guests can take rainforest walks to view a gamut of birdlife and look to the canopies in hope of spotting the rare golden monkey. An indulgent spa, organic garden, reforestation nursery and cultural excursions complete the array of opportunities at Bisate Lodge.
Luxury Rwanda vacations may not compare to a more classic safari journey, but they provide their own unique collection of experiences, moments that cannot be equaled in any other country that perfectly complement the wide grassy plains of Kenya and South Africa.
Though the great apes form a significant part of the inspiration for luxury Rwanda vacations, the many other offerings of this welcoming and fascinating country should not be overlooked. This is recognized by its luxury properties, and Rwandan history and culture, and its gamut of varied wildlife species inspire visitors to expand their horizons beyond the elevated summits of Volcanoes National Park. A more extended Rwanda itinerary will allow you to discover a country that has emerged from darker days to shine magnificently as a beacon of conservation, culture and luxury.
If luxury Rwanda vacations inspire you, contact your Travel Designer today.