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“A Little Piece of Magic in the Mountains of Rwanda” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

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Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
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4.5 of 5 Lodge   |   adjacet to Parc National des Volcans, Ruhengeri, Rwanda   |  
Hotel amenities
Sydney
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“A Little Piece of Magic in the Mountains of Rwanda”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge as part of our trip to see the mountain gorillas and it was an absolute delight to stay there. It's luxury Jim but not as we know it. Even the things that normally would be unacceptable are quirky enough that they just add to a fantastic experience. For example, it's very cold up in the mountains but you'll find a hot water bottle in your bed every night. It's so thoughtful how they thoroughly clean up your boots after hiking and provide a full complementary laundry service. Another example is that the rooms are all separate bungalows dispersed around the property but a guide personally walks you to your room every night after dinner to ensure you arrive safe and sound.

All the buildings and the grounds are very clean and well maintained. The rooms are decorated in a unique neo-Flintstone style which again is something you're not likely to experience anywhere else. The view over the volcanoes from the patio of the main building is spectacular. And the food, while it won't get a Michelin hat any time soon, was consistently delicious and hearty (and remember all drinks are included in the tariff).

The staff are very friendly and always smiling. Dave, the manager when we were there, personally gave us a guided tour around the property. So I would thoroughly recommend Sabyinyo as the place to stay when seeing the gorillas.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Musiara, Manager at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, responded to this review, September 19, 2012
Thank you for your review of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. We are delighted to hear that you describe your stay as an "absolute delight". Its great to hear that you felt safe and that you found the food delicious and hearty and the staff friendly. Thank you for recommending us and we hope we can welcome you back again sometime.
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173 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2012 via mobile

Our first trip to Africa and we did not know what to expect. We stayed for three nights in August at the Sabyinyo Silverback lodge and we had a wonderful experience. Everyone we met was so warm, friendly, genuinely kind, hardworking and lovely people from our driver Eric, to the staff at the lodge. Everyone was so welcoming especially Nelis and Tracey, the managers. The food was delicious and the individual cottages were very comfortable. During our stay, the staff made sure the fireplace was lit, and a hot water bottle placed in our turned down beds at night.
During our stay at the Masai Mara, we spoke so highly of this lodge, the gorilla trekking, Rwanda and it's people that a couple of people called their agent and booked a gorilla safari.
I highly recommend this lodge and will return soon.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Musiara, Manager at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, responded to this review, September 19, 2012
Thank you for your review of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Its great t hear that you had a wonderful experience and you found everyone to be "warm, friendly, genuinely kind, hardworking and lovely ". Thank you for recommending Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge to others and we hope we can welcome you back again with us sometime soon.
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New York, New York
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

My husband and I stayed here for 2 nights with another couple in August and it was an absolute wonderful stay. The accommodations, staff, food, location - everything was of the highest standard. Upon arrival we were met by the managers of the property - Neils & Tracey - along with many other staff to assist with our baggage and offer us snacks, hot towels and beverages. We felt so "taken care" of for our entire stay, and loved getting to know Neils and the amazing staff (especially our FANTASTIC driver/guide Fidele who was the highlight of our African vacation).

Property/Rooms - The rooms are more like individual cabins, which were top notch. A particular plus was how the staff ensured our fire was always roaring and we had hot water bottles each night to keep us warm. The furniture and bedding was great, and the bathroom was especially cleanly, modern and the bathtub was a welcome treat after a long trek with the susa family! The property itself had gorgeous views and a cozy main lodge for meals and drinks. The 4 of us enjoyed watching the gorilla videos provided in the main lodge the night before our 1st trek, and socializing over cocktails with Neils and the other guests each night.

The food - the food was wonderful and of the highest standard. The breakfast spread had just about everything you could think of (eggs to order, fruit, cheese, pastries, beverages, etc.). Being a vegetarian, I had plenty of options at all meals provided by the lodge. The lodge also made sure to send us off each day with a delicious packed lunch and plenty of water.

The extras - the little touches at this property are what we will remember for years to come. They provided gators, jackets, gloves and backpacks should you need them, and have staff on hand each morning to assist with getting you ready. The morning wake-ups with coffee/tea and biscuits by their kind staff started each day out with a positive feeling. Upon conclusion of our treks, we were met by the staff to take/clean our shoes (i truly have never seen my sneakers as clean as they got them since I bought them), warm towels, drinks, etc., and were genuinely eager to hear about our days events. Anytime we left our room before/after dark, there was always security there waiting to escort us. As a result, we always felt safe and welcome.

The staff - the staff make the experience here, and we feel privileged to have met and spent the short amount of time with them. We were eager to see the Susa family on our 1st trek, and our driver Fidele - who is the BEST - made this happen for us (we don't know how he did it but he did - thank you Fidele!).

Overall, we can't say enough great things about this property and would appeal to anyone visiting this amazing country and experiencing the mountain gorillas (truly a once in a lifetime experience) to consider no other place to stay - if you can get in, they fill up quickly! :)

Sincere thanks again to Neils, Tracey & Fidele!!

Room Tip: any room would be fabulous here
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Musiara, Manager at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, responded to this review, September 19, 2012
Thank you for your review of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge so much. We are thrilled to read that you felt everything was of the highest standard. Your words "consider no other place to stay" are a fantastic compliment, thank you. We hope very much that we can welcome you back with us sometime soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Attleborough, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2012

The main lodge building was very comfortable, roomy and stylish with a large lounge and bar, information room, shop, reception and quiet seating area, and a large airy dining room, plus an outside covered veranda with further comfortable seating. Large comforting wood fires featured in the two seating areas and in the dining room, rather nice in the early mornings and evenings when it could be a bit chilly. We were surprised to find quite a good wifi internet signal available in the central areas of the main lodge.
The food was excellent; wholesome and tasty, well cooked and in good supply.
The individual bungalows were a treat; spread out over the hillside above the main lodge they were spacious and well designed with separate sleeping, resting, dressing and bathing areas. It was very pleasant to return to the room after dinner to a wood fire and hot water bottles in the large bed to warm it.
All the staff from the joint managers to the security people went out of their way to ensure you had an enjoyable stay. One of the nicest lodges we have stayed in over many trips in many countries.
The only negative: the uphill hike from the car park to the lodge and from the lodge to your bungalow. But you are there to hike to the gorillas, so if you can’t manage a short steep section perhaps you should not be there at all!

Room Tip: The standard bungalows/rooms are great, but the suites even better. Bigger and with views in two dir...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

The lodge is set up high on the hill, and once you aclimatise to the altitude, you can appreciate the amazing views over the mountains. We were very impressed with the lodge itself - it had just opened when we were there, so they had the normal teething problems but nothing too serious. The food was good quality and the service adequate. It was much colder than we had anticipated, and we found heating in the units to be lacking, so we all ended up having to buy sabinyo fleeces - might have been the design. Overall an amazing experience that I wouldnt hesitate to recommend...

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Welwyn, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2012

This place makes the gorilla trekking experience even more memorable: spectacular location and views, personal, warm and flexible service; excellent food; attentive, knowledgeable and professional staff that go out of their way to ensure your stay is simply unforgettable. The little touches – from the warm welcome and drink, wood fire in your lodge, hot water bottle in bed, laundry service, porters, sharing a drink and stories about the gorillas - are authentic and so rare to find these days. Well done to Lenis and Tracy, the management team and their staff – we thank you so much!

Room Tip: No need to take your own gloves and gaters as these are provided for you for trekking.
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  • Stayed July 2012, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Altos, CA (USA)
Top Contributor
172 reviews 172 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
118 helpful votes 118 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2012

This wonderful lodge sits in a beautiful setting high in the Virungas Mountains in northern Rwanda. Your hosts are Tracy and Nelis -- both South Africans and very friendly/warm/funny. Both have tons of experience in the safari/hospitaly business. She managed several camps in S. Africa and he (among other jobs) was in the SA anti-poaching team protecting the rhinos.
As others have said, the hike up to the lodge is a killer -- especially at the altitude of about 8.5K feet. But so worth it when you finally arrive. There are gorgeous views from the lodge of the green lushness of the country -- though the mountains are often obscured by clouds given the altitude. There is a local village right down the hill and you can hear the sounds of the kids at school and the villagers going about their business which is a nice feeling. We stayed in the Mikeno "tent" which is the closest one to the main lodge. Beautiful large room with a sitting space in the front of the fire -- which they keep going much of the time. That was good considering the chill AM and PM! The nightly hot water bottle in the bed is a little slice of heaven too. They do have hair dryers but you need to request the generator be turned on to use them. That is largely a problem only when most guests are out for trekking as they power down then.
You are welcomed with the usual fruit juice and warm towels and the managers sit down and go over the lodge operations -- and make time to listen to those of us who were a bit nervous about our first gorilla trek! Your room butler wakes you up in the am (ungodly hour but oh well) with your preferred beverage and you take off. They outfit you in gaiters and gloves so you do not need to bring those if this is the only lodge from which you are trekking. And when you get back the take off your shoes and give you sandals then whisk your muddy (or worse) boots away -- and return them the nest morning looking like new! The drive to the Virunga National Park where the trekking takes place is about 15-20 minutes. (And be sure to check out the cooperative center next to the park HQ because local women make some of the most beautiful baskets around! The men also carve the little wooden gorillas you see everywhere as well as nice sturdy walking sticks -- also emblazoned with gorilla heads of course.) The food at the lodge is good and wine/spirits are all included -- except if you order French champagne I guess. The pour very liberally! There is free wi-fi but only at the main lodge. Everyone gathers at about 7 to have a drink and exchange stories of their gorilla sightings which is very pleasant. On the whole the Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a convivial/warm/scenic and convenient place to stay. It is not cheap, however. But well worth the price!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Address: adjacet to Parc National des Volcans, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Location: Rwanda > Northern Province > Ruhengeri
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Ruhengeri
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is located in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes. Situated close to the gates of the Parc des Volcans National, it is the perfect base for Gorilla trekking. This is a community lodge, it was built and is operated by Governors Camp but is owned by the local community trust that use revenue generated from the lodge to drive socio-economic projects. Eight cottages provide wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and volcanoes. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sabyinyo Silverback Hotel Ruhengeri
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge Rwanda/Ruhengeri

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