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“Excellent service and an excellent experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

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Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge
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Ruhengeri-Kinigi | It Is Located in Musanze District Near Pnv, Ruhengeri, Rwanda (Formerly Le Bambou Gorilla Village)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Excellent service and an excellent experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

Like most people I was in Rwanda to see the gorillas and was lucky enough to come across this place when doing my research.
Firstly, my orginal email request was answered almost straight away and Emmanuel (the owner) agreed to buy the gorilla permit for me from his own money if I transferred the money to him. I did this and he emailed thro the permit as proof. He then put together an itinerary for me including pick up from Kigali (by his wife Jacky in their 4x4), 2 nights at the Lodge, a visit to a local tribe and another village (I changed the latter to do the walk to the Dian Fossy site which was no problem) and transport back to Kigali. The visit to the local tribe was absolutely stunning as this was arranged JUST FOR ME and was a breathtaking experience.
On the way back to Kigali, Jacky even helped me buy a Rwandan mobile phone and SIM card as I needed it for the voluntary work I had planned to do for the rest of my trip.
Staying at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge comes highly recommended!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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133 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
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English first
West Lafayette Indiana
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

I feel like maybe I stayed at a different lodge than all the people who give Le Bambou such glowing ratings here on Trip Advisor.... this place is low end. Now to be fair, it's Rwanda, a very poor country. I'm sure the employees try with what they've got to work with, but I would not stay here again and would not recommend it. Why? The rooms are dark and a bit dreary. Electricity is only on from about 5:30 or 6pm until 9pm. Ok unless you get back to your room from gorilla trekking at 2pm - you can't even read it's so dark. It's cold. They build a fire in your room, but you have to sit right next to the fire to be warm. The food is edible I suppose, but nothing better than that. You are charged even for bottled water. The bathroom and shower are pretty bad - tiny and water from the shower splashes all over the floor because it's not separated from the tiny room in any way. The last day we were there, the water lines were broken, so we had no water at all. The staff were sort of attentive, but not in the degree that's been described by other travelers. No matter, because attentiveness can't make up for a lack of amenities to offer. Seeing the gorillas was the only thing that really mattered when visiting this area - so that at least was a super experience. But I'm sure there are other reasonably priced lodgings to stay at that have to be a better experience than Le Bambou.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nairobi, Kenya
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

We just returned from Gorilla trekking in Rwanda. We are happy to report that the night before we stayed at Le Bambou and had a nice time. Each room is an individual cottage with a porch. The bed and linens were clean and comfortable. The staff made a nice fire to warm up the room. We walked to the entrance of the resort on the main road just to get out and about a bit and met up with a number of friendly Rwanda's who we had nice conversations with. The food was basic but tasty, filling, and pleasantly prepared. They played the documentary "Gorilla King" for us which whetted our appetite for the trek the next day. We took the bus from Kigali to Ruhengeri and had no issues. From Ruhengeri to the lodge we took a car/taxi.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2013

I stayed at the Le bambou with my parents whilst visiting the gorillas. We were collected from Kigali in a new 4x4 and on arrival were welcomed with big smiles from the staff. The individual cottages were quant and tidy. We were the only people staying at this time of year. The staff ensured all our needs were meet promptly and when there was. Problem with the hot water I was quickly moved. When checking into the rooms the fires were all ready a light and rooms warm. The beds were extremely comfortable and in the evening were provided with hot water bottles. The meals were amazing and my compliments go to the chef. This hotel is the perfect location in which to base yourself for the gorilla trekking.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

We had one night at the lodge, having booked it independently, based on reviews and price. It's not fancy but has everything you need as a base for the treks. It was cool when we arrived in the evening and we were welcomed with hot ginger tea and a brazier of coals to keep us warm.

Our room was a little bungalow surrounded by bamboo and other vegetation - it was quite cool but before dinner a fire was lit and that warmed us up. The rooms are simple but comfortable. the en-suite was a wet room - not the most luxurious I have ever experienced but nice hot water and a hairdryer. When we went to bed after dinner we were given a hot water bottle which was a brilliant touch! It was a lovely, atmospheric, place to sleep and felt cozy. Outside the bungalow there were seats and a little porch.

Worth noting that the electricity is only available from 5.00-6.30 am and 6.30-10.00pm...though that's all you really need here, just get your timing right for charging gadgets. Obviously there is no wifi.

Food was good, nothing special, but was a tasty buffet for both dinner and breakfast with a really good selection of food. The staff were lovely, very attentive, possibly over-courteous at times - might be nice if they were slightly more relaxed as it's a small place and could benefit from being less formal. The dining room lacked atmosphere though - there were 4 or 5 tables of guests, mostly travelling with their guides / drivers, and all very quiet. One of those occasions where some music might have helped. Each table had braziers of coals, to keep us warm. The bar was spacious and again, somewhat lacking in atmosphere. But most people didn't hang around anyway, wanting to get an early night before the next day's early start.

I used the hotel's transport for the gorilla tracking, which turned out to be the lovely Jacquie, wife of the hotel owner Emanuel. It worked brilliantly, she was a great driver (the track to the start point of our trek was very rough) and negotiated the perfect tracking group for me to join. She also drove us back to Kigali. I would highly recommend their service.

My daughter didn't come tracking as she had done it before, and stayed at the hotel. She reported that it was quite relaxing being around during the day, and all the staff again were delightful, but the hotel could really benefit from better outdoor seating space - she felt she was sitting in the carpark!

I have no major complaints about Bambou Lodge, anything above are just niggles - it was comfortable, the location and the staff were great and it was a perfect no-frills base for the tracking.

Just one thing to bear in mid, the hotel only accepts cash (post 2006 USD). I wasn't told this when I booked but fortunately my daughter called ahead of time.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Feeding Hills, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

I spent the weekend as a side trip from my volunteer work at Butaro Hospital. I have no complaints!! The staff are all very friendly and accommodating. My room was fantastic!! I loved having a fire in the room and the water bottles, to put in between my sheets, were awesome!! I loved the individual cottages.
The owners Emmanual & Jaqui were very delightful and very proud of their lodge. The food was great. I loved the omelets for breakfast!! I had my lunch outside with a great view of the volcano.
The whole weekend experience of seeing the gorillas and staying at Le Bambou was fantastic.
If and when I come back to Rwanda, I will definitely stay at Le Bambou!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

I've stayed at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge in May 2013. Gorilla Trekking is already an extremely expensive activity so I didn't want to spend too much money in accommodation on top of that. When I checked resorts close to Virunga National Park I was given crazy prices like USD 1200 per night per room!! On the other hand, I didn't want to go for something too cheap or a bit far from the National Park so I had become quite desperate.

This is when Emmanuel, the manager of Le Bambou, saved my life. I couldn't believe the price he quoted as it was incredibly good (something that you would pay for a standard hotel in Europe). More importantly, the lodge was as good as the other expensive resorts: it is very close to the park, rooms (actually these are individual bungalows) are very clean and comfortable (there are 2 large double beds, they put a fire at night and it makes it so cosy in the room), the food is very good (full board price is very good value for money). They have airport transfer service with a luxury jeep too.

Emmanuel is a very smart guy who can make sure you get everything you need. Even though you have some non-standard requests, he never says No, he simply makes it happen: First of all, I booked the room only a week before I was going to travel to Rwanda and there was no enough time for me to buy the gorilla permits. No worries, Emmanuel bought them for me with his own money and I transferred the fee to him a couple of days later. Then, I wanted to visit the Genocide Memorial too but I was going to stay in Rwanda just for a couple of days: Emmanuel took me to the memorial on the way from the airport to the lodge, he waited for me for more than a couple of hours and let me take my time to see everything. He even came and showed me around the open air part of the memorial and explained things. Ah, also, he let me use his phone to check-in at the memorial on facebook :) There is no internet around the park area (and therefore in the lodge), but I needed internet urgently as I was going to travel to Zambia after Rwanda and I hadn't booked my hotel room for the next night yet. Emmanuel took me to an internet cafe in a town near the lodge, and allowed me to take another hour to do all my bookings. It was good to spend time in a Rwandan town like a local. Also, I should mention that I had booked the room for 2 nights first but then I found a flight from Rwanda to Zambia that departed at 1 am at night so I didn't need to sleep in the room at the second night: Emmanuel charged me only half of the room rate for the second day. And they took me to the airport at night. It was a good experience to be on the road at night in Rwanda (it is a very safe country by the way). It was Emmanuel's wife who took me to the airport and it was a very pleasant drive, she put some Rwandan music, sang, we chatted sometimes, it was really good. I think I managed to experience quite a lot there for one and half days thanks to Emmanuel and his lovely wife.

All in all, I was really lucky to find this lodge. I would definitely recommend this place!

Aysan

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

Address: Ruhengeri-Kinigi | It Is Located in Musanze District Near Pnv, Ruhengeri, Rwanda (Formerly Le Bambou Gorilla Village)
Phone Number:
Location: Rwanda > Northern Province > Ruhengeri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Ruhengeri
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dear Guest,We are delighted to welcome you to our new website and especially to our lodge now called LE BAMBOU GORILLA LODGE. Our luxury and comfortable lodge is situated in Northern province of Rwanda, close to the endangered gorillas in their natural environment (Volcanoes National park).Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge has an unrivaled reputation for relaxation. Well suited for you being away from home yet feel at home.We provide you the best facilities, the most opulent furnishings and the highest quality service as our esteemed guest.Our goal is to exceed the expectations of our guests. It's not just a goal, it's a promise made by our team of hospitality professionals to ensure that your stay here is extraordinary.We take our social responsibility very seriously. Rendering good service is our code. Feel the Volcano and Gorillas around. All our furniture are hand made in bamboos. We hope that we can welcome you as our future guest and we are gladly to assist you in arranging your reservation, transport or other requests that may be needed to make your stay wonderful.Once again, welcome to Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge. It is a privilege to have you as our guest.Best regards! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Le Bambou Gorilla Hotel Ruhengeri
Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge Rwanda/Ruhengeri

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