We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Was going to give a good review till they tried to charge us double the quoted price at checkout!” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Ruhengeri
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge
You added Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge to your Saves list
Ruhengeri-Kinigi | It Is Located in Musanze District Near Pnv, Ruhengeri, Rwanda (Formerly Le Bambou Gorilla Village)   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
Boston, Massachusetts
19 reviews 19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Was going to give a good review till they tried to charge us double the quoted price at checkout!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

I stayed here with my husband and our two small children (age 3 and 1), my father, and our nanny on our recent visit to the gorillas. I chose it based on the good reviews here and the reasonable prices compared to many of the super expensive options around.

I emailed back and forth with the reservations agent several times to make the reservation. We booked a family cottage which had one room with a king bed and one with 2 doubles. The originally told us on the phone that they had cribs but when we got there they didn't. Luckily we had a travel crib for our 1 year old. They initially said they had no cots or anything for the 3 year old but in the end once they realized the sleeping situation brought a full size bed into the room that fit in the corner beautifully for our son to sleep in. There was a nice common room with a fire place that they lit each night. The beds weren't luxury by any means but were acceptable and clean. Our bathroom was the most disappointing part of our stay. The toilet leaked a big puddle next to it every couple of hours so everything was soaked. They tried to cover it up by putting a doormat in from of the toilet but it squished when you stepped in it - which I made the mistake of doing in my socks the first night - from then on we all wore shoes at all times. The shower stall shower didn't work at all though the shower head in the bathtub (with no shower curtain which is pretty typical in Rwanda) did suffice. The towels even when we first arrived were folded up on the rack and supposedly clean but still wet. Yuck!! I'm sure they just line dry and didn't have time to dry them fully before our arrival but a cold wet towel (and not just a little damp - wet!) is just unpleasant and unacceptable for a hotel claiming to be of this level. My dad's bathroom was totally fine without the floods and associated grossness but still with wet cold towels.

The service here really was incredible though. They greeted us on arrival with delicious ginger tea, settled us in our room with a fire in the fireplace, served us a good Rwandan buffet dinner and then gave us hot water bottles to warm our beds and keep out the mountain air chill. The first night dinner was quite late because we didn't arrive till 6 and then it took them over an hour to get it ready so our kids (who normally eat at 5) were a bit exhausted. But the next day they served breakfast and lunch at the times we requested. Dinner was a bit late again despite the fact we asked for it to be at 5 because even though we didn't return to the hotel from our gorilla trek till 4 they saved lunch for us (which we weren't expecting nor did we want at that hour). Next time I wish they'd just offer a boxed lunch or something. The food was all good and they catered to our vegetarian diet on request quite well. Pretty much everyone we encountered there gave excellent service and couldn't have been nicer.

Definitely take them up on having someone escort you to the gorillas. Johnson was great - he rode in our car and then got a ride from someone back to the hotel. He helped us not only find our way (which we could have handled on our own) but knew who to talk to, skipped us to the front of the line of people waiting to register, and got us in the Susa group that my father was coveting. They next day he accompanied us to the cultural village as well which we probably couldn't have found our way to without a bit of difficulty.

So this would have been a decent review, right? Disappointing bathroom and unacceptably wet cold towels but great service and otherwise nice rooms.

But then we went to check out and they tried to claim we owed double what they had quoted us. I had emailed back and forth with reservations several times getting quotes, asking questions, etc. We wanted one of the single budget rooms for our nanny which they tried initially to quote us $150 for and then came down to $100, which was still over what I see in the guidebook but we decided was acceptable. But then at check-out we found out that they didn't put our nanny in a guest room they decided on their own that she was a servant and put her in the room "we give to drivers". I was angry that they would make that assumption and wish I hadn't told them that she was the nanny - we wanted to get her a regular room and it sounds like they charged us regular room price and then put her in a "staff" room. Our family cottage was quoted to us at $200 USD full board per night for 3 adults and 2 kids. This sounded like such a better deal than the single room that I didn't really believe it, so I emailed to clarify whether this was a per person rate or for all of us. They emailed back that it was not per person but per room and even did the math at the bottom of the email stating it would be $200 per night for 2 nights so $400 USD total. But when we went to check out they claimed that the family cottage was 2 rooms so we owed 400 USD per night for $800 total. Even after showing them the email they claimed that is what we owed. They had my husband talk to the hotel owner on the phone who said he was losing money on us because of the food. Having lived in Rwanda for 6 months now we know quite well that the food prices here for vegetables, rice, potatoes, eggs that we were served are very cheap - especially for locals, and that staff are also paid very inexpensively (average well paid staff even in the capital are making only about $150 USD per month). He said he'd have to make up the difference himself - but given that he is the owner this makes no sense. He just makes less money off of us but I'm quite sure was still net positive for the weekend. We refused to pay the double price given that we had email proof of our quote - and they let us check out and leave begrudgingly.

We never would have stayed here at 400/night. We would have gone to the luxury place down the street and had a clean dry bathroom, dry towels, and a comfortable bed.

So in summary great customer service, average accomodations except for our flooded bathroom, wet cold towels, good food - but beware of last minute price changing and please don't pay $400 per night for this place - that is such a rip off for the level of hotel.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

133 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
See reviews for
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
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Northern New Jersey
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2014

If you are looking to book a gorilla trek on your own without going through a safari company this is a great way to do it. We were able to book everything right through this lodge through the manager, Emmanuel. Along with our 3 nights full room and board, he arranged RT private transport from Kigali, transport for our gorilla trekking, transport for golden monkey trekking, and our gorilla permits! Everything was done through email and bank transfer and worked out perfectly! We were able to save quite a bit of money compared to booking through a third party safari company.

Our driver throughout the stay was Jacky, who runs the lodge with her husband (Emmanuel). She was wonderful! Such personality, and she truly cares that her "brothers and sisters- not customers" have a delightful stay. She was also able to negotiate that we trek the Susa group (which was beyond amazing!!!).

The rooms were quite comfortable, but you need to set realistic expectations. You are out in the remote mountains of Rwanda, people! Keeping that in mind you will be more than please with the cozy bed kept warm with hot water bottles, fire place, and electricity for limited hours each day. The shower had hot water, but again level set your expectations that the water pressure will not be the same as a metropolitan city. It is very cold up here, so pack accordingly.

The dining area ambiance has room for improvement, but the great food more than made up for that. Surprising selections of soups, salads, pasta, and meat dishes were served for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was a simple but filling selection of porridge, eggs made to order, meat, and fruit.

The staff here went above and beyond. They were really terrific and made us feel at home without being overbearing. They also arranged a local children's dance group to perform which was very nice. In the room you will find a pamphlet to visit the local community with a guide. We went on a village walk and it was really worthwhile. 60% of your fee goes right to the community, and the children there are heart-warming. Even with no possessions they have huge smiles and happy dispositions.

Location of the lodge is about 5 minutes drive from park entrance where you show your permit and get assigned to a gorilla group. From there you need to drive to the start of your hike (Susa is the furthest away; about one hour drive.) The overall area of Kinigi felt very safe; crime is low and the people have great character. Very glad we visited the gorillas in Rwanda, and we would def. stay at Le Bambou again if we return!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 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.
Kampala, Uganda
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

I stayed here for one night in June 2013 for 140 USD. This rate was reduced for us after negotiating with the staff. All the other lodges nearby were over priced for our budget. The lodge is within the volcanoes national park and very convenient place for gollira trekking. We stayed in the family cottage, the rooms were clean but it looked less used and the air was not so fresh.
The food was very ok and the rooms were heated because the place can get very cold at night.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Espoo, Finland
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2013

First, if you need luxury, go somewhere else. But if you need a good base for Gorilla treks with reasonable comfort, this is a good alternative. Emmanuel and Jackie, the hosts, are wonderful and so is the rest of staff. Emmanuel arranged the trekking permits (we did Golden Monkeys and Gorillas) and Jackie provided all transportations. The price we paid was very competitive to tour operators. The cost of accommodation is not cheap, but it includes all meals. There are not many cheap alternatives here. We stayed 3 nights in a big bungalow with huge bathroom.
The room was comfortable and clean but cold at nights. The staff put fire in the fireplace in the evening but we banned this after first night due pungent smoke in the room. The hotwater bottles in the bed make wonders though! As usual in Africa, shower pressure and temperature could be much better, but it was manageable. We liked the food service being buffet style Rwandan lunch and dinner. There was a group of Rwandan MP's having session in the hotel during our stay, so the food was very Rwandan. Good breakfast was served early in the morning before leaving for treks at 06.30.
The grounds, reception and public spaces could be nicer, but as one previous rewiever said, they serve the purpose. The best is the friendly staff, fulfilling your every wish with smile. And offcourse, they clean your shoes after the treks.
Ask the staff to show the video of Titus, the silverback. Very interesting story of one Gorilla family.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013

My mother and I both stayed at Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge as we trekked 2 days with the gorillas, its a good start for gorilla trekking our cottage was comfortable and clean. Food was delicious and vegetarian available. Local villagers came to sing & dance. Accommodations were large and baths were nice and original, closet with safe, fireplace, 2 beds (in ours). The staff is great and always very helpful. They clean your boots after a gorilla trekking. High altitude gave crisp clean air and cool temps so perfect time for trekking. Suggest packing very light for gorillas trek with long pants, gloves, long sleeve shirts. No mosquitoes when we were there except in the wet areas of the forest and the fields surrounding the park. Would go back in a flash and stay here again for longer time period and enjoy other activities around the area. Felt safe and well protected.

Room Tip: Room number 4 has a better view of Virunga volcanoes.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

What a bad experience!

Good location, perfect for gorilla trekking. And this is the only positive thing to tell about Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge! The lodge including surrounding and reception is gone to rack and uncared. Managerin Jacky was there for 5 minutes to say hello and then was never ever seen again. Staff totally overtaxed, no idea of hotel-business and food-service trade. Very poor or even no English language knowledge. Unkind service. No atmosphere. Very simple rooms, no comfort, cold. No water in the sink but therefore a lack in the toilet and flood up to the sleeping room. Dirty, no possibility to take a shower, no towels, blankets in the bed ruptured and when the last time washed … no idea. We told the staff the apparent defects – nothing happened. One booked single was full with 3! beds, almost no space to move. Food very simple and unkindly prepared. Very cold eating room. We had booked 2 nights but left after the first. An unreasonable location, totally overpriced.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2013

As one guide book writes "the lodge fills a gap between the upper end and budget accommodation". The are 14 rooms catering to 32 guests and run by very friendly local staff who provide wonderful service, including cleaning your boots after your trekking and washing your car over night. The lodge is a good location for those gorilla trekking and they can arrange your permits which need to be booked and paid for well in advance. Don't rely on the hotel making requests to visit specific gorilla groups. Despite assurances we would visit the Susa group we had to do some negotiating at the trekking registration centre . Make sure however you watch the video about Titus upon arrival at the lodge.

The rooms are large, clean and comfortable set in round houses with fireplaces and seating areas. Each night you are provided with a hot water bottle against the mountain chill. The food is quite basic and repetitive. Dinner was the same both nights; think functional first over taste and tenderness. The well stocked bar might come in handy. If you are trekking and request a lunch box you will get a cold toasted sandwich, boiled egg, piece of last night's chicken, cold boiled potato and some fruit. You might be able to negotiate something else now knowing what you get! Otherwise bring your own snack bars.

Although open for four years the lodge lacks atmosphere. The lounge and bar area has some cane furniture and a TV showing CCTV in the corner....and that is about it. Again, function over form. With a little more effort they could create a vey cosy atmosphere.

Take Note: At USD200 full board the lodge is not cheap however accommodation in the region is expensive. Further you will need to either pay cash on departure or wire the funds for your stay prior to arrival. If you are trekking and want to save money, you can drive back to Kigali or on to Lake Kivu after the trek as most finish around 3pm meaning you don't need a second night at the lodge

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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
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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.