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“Incredible luxury in Nyungwe Forest”

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Nyungwe Forest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 21, 2011

This place is stunning - the grounds, the main hotel, the bungalows, the service, the food. I cant say enough about how beautiful this place is. The price is a bit higher than the rest but totally offers great value. Every amenity is offered and the staff are friendly and attentive. I could have stayed here a whole week.
The views of tea plantations and rolling hills are endless. The bungalows put the forest right in your backyard/balcony. They are immaculate and decorated beautifully. Your greeted with a bottle of wine in your room with yummy snacks. The bathrooms have fabulous showers, a tub, double sinks, private toilets, towel warmers. Everything is all inclusive including house alcohol

Just make sure you inquire/book your activities and timings beforehand or you may miss the opportunity since afternoon transportation to the forest is not so reliable/predictable.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank CaptainRolio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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217 - 223 of 266 reviews

Reviewed October 1, 2011

This is a high class Lodge with so much going for it. The Lodge itself is designed with flair and takes full advantage of its beautiful setting right on the edge of the forest. All areas are furnished to a very high standard with great attention to detail.
From the moment we arrived the tone was set with a warm welcome from the manager and throughout our stay nothing was too much trouble for his team. Someone was always available no matter what time, on our earliest start of 04:30 for a chimp trek we were served coffee and pastries before starting and sent off with a good packed breakfast.
The food is generally of a high standard with just the odd lapse into the ordinary, service in the restaurant was of a very high standard and clearly there has been a big investment in training.
The Lodgeis perfectly placed for the many walking activities available in the Nyungwe forest and during our stay we managed three trails, filling two days – we could have spent so much more time simply enjoying this wonderful area of primary montane forest.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PeakTravellers12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2011

We had 2 nights here and loved every minute of it. When we travel we often stay in a range of places from budget to 5-star but this one blew us away.

It is a short drive from the main road, but the vista as you enter is stunning. From arriving at reception until we left our experience was amazing.

The staff are obviously formally trained in western style 5-star service and do it well. The central lodge is impeccable with comfortable couches, service always available, a beautiful panorama from the wrap around windows, fireplaces for the often chilly mornings/nights, and wireless (although i recommend ignoring the outside world while you stay here!).

Our room (standard one) was large, spotless and a balcony opening out to the rainforest. The in room fireplaces were not useable unfortunately and the hot water did not last particularly long (5 minutes worth). The TV was not functional (but again, this kind of place would be better without TV). Otherwise the bathroom was 5 star, the bed was as large and comfortable as I have experienced, and apart from the sounds of the rainforest at night you get a very peaceful sleep.

The restaurant food was amazing with a selection of OK (but not exceptional) wines and cold beer. The setting at night is very romantic

The pool we did not use (too cold) but is in a stunning location. We did not use the fitness facilities.

Staying here was one of the highlights of our trip to Rwanda. If you are a couple going to Nyungwe I very highly recommend it. If you have children you might want to think of other options though this certainly is more of grown up style lodge.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Ommert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2011

The Nyungwe Forest Lodge, located right at the edge of the ancient rain forest, is owned by Dubai World and is part of the Mantis Collection.
These 'family relationships' do show already on arrival.
I did get to the lodge rather late, but no sooner had my safari vehicle come to a stop did the staff appear at the entrance porch, took my bags from the driver and handed me a scented towel to clean off the travelling dust. Then they ushered me into the lounge, where the registration procedure was done and over with in a flash - the details given to them in advance had all found their way into the right forms, ready for me to sign. I declined an offer of a cold drink but asked for a pot of tea, which appeared swiftly while I still got my briefing of 'do's and don'ts'
A quick dash to the nearby 'cottage' - a unit with four bedrooms, two of which have a balcony looking straight into the rain forest - I could see more of that in the morning - before returning to the main building for my dinner. The menu, changing daily, offered a choice of two starters, four main courses and two desserts, plus coffee or tea.
Hot buns arrived with the soup I had chosen as a starter and while a little low on the ginger was tasty nevertheless, as was my choice of Fillet of Tilapia - compliments to the chef ... best proved the bread pudding though and only iron discipline halted my gobbling of it half way through the very large portion with regret lingering when the waiter cleared the table.
The internet connection was a little troublesome in the cottage, an almost welcome situation when I decided to turn in instead of working half the night as the bed was heavenly, as were duvets and in particular the pillows ... it was the best night's sleep I had in ages and the slightly open veranda door made the use of the aircondition unnecessary. I woke up refreshed and ready for a long day of forest walks.
Still, more about the room. The bathroom was superbly appointed, with sliding shutters opening towards the bedroom and when the curtains are open towards the forest ...
the toiletries are of the finest - Being owned by Dubai World does have its obligations after all, and there was not a thing I would have changed, especially not the fluffy towels from a heated towel rail.
The rooms are well appointed, and while my personal taste would put the furnishings rather into a 5 star city hotel - my own taste would be for a much more distinct African themes and fittings, other guests probably agree one hundred percent with what they find. A woodstove is available for a fire being lit at night, and guests should take advantage of being asked if they want a fire, as it makes the room after supper much more cozy and warm.
In many top lodges satellite TV is now seemingly the norm, not for me though who did not touch then remote once, rather enjoying the bird song outside than the sterile voices of new anchors bringing bad tidings.
And yes, coffee and tea can be made in room but a call to the restaurant, or to the reception, gets the room service to one's door in no time.
The lodge offers 24 rooms and one presidential or VIP cottage, a fully fledged and expertly operated Spa and a heated swimming pool, necessary at this elevation.
The cottages are arranged in a half circle as seen from the main building, where reception, lounges, shop and restaurant are located, the lounges by the way offering top quality books about Africa, Rwanda and the park itself - good for those who want to read about what they saw during the day ...
and there is plenty to do, walks of varying length up to 8 hours, tracking chimpanzees or the other 12 primate species found in the forest, taking guides walks tailored for those interested in trees, shrubs, flowers, orchids and butterflies, and of course birds, plenty of those with over 250 species found in the forest including a number of endemic species.
And then there is the Tree Canopy Walk, a distance away from the lodge and therefore best done when either coming or leaving. Mind you, 306 stairs and an elevation difference of well over 200 metres do require one to be fit ... and scare free when balancing over the narrow suspension bridges some 60 metres high above the forest floor ...
Breakfast was a pleasant affair too, and in particular our waiter Ishmail showed great enthusiasm and competence, his smile a sign of how proud and happy he was to practice his skills, celebrating them more likely.
Considering that the lodge is now open only for a few months it already shows that a great lodge is in the making here, given time to mature.
If I have learned one thing, a night is not nearly enough to do the lodge justice and two nights at least, better three or more, is highly recommended.
An airstrip is about 40 minutes drive away, shortening the journey of 4+ hours from Kigali considerably and a helipad is within the lodge compound.
Mobile communications are available with a high level signal in most places.

Room Tip: Book forest facing rooms ...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled on business
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5  Thank Safariafficionado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2011

We were not scheduled to stay here but after a dusty but scenic 8 hour drive on very rough roads following the shores of Lake Kivu from Gisenyi we arrived at our intended stop at the Gisakura Guest house. We were literally covered in dust, freezing cold & exhausted. We took one look at the place and after hearing there were no rooms with private bathrooms & no hot water for showers we decided to take a chance on the Nyungwe Forest Lodge having an available room. From the moment we arrived at this supremely luxurious lodge with no reservations to the moment we left we were treated like royalty. It is hard to imagine the economics of building such a place here but we are very glad they did!! If you are contemplating a stay here it might pay to check if they have any current specials as we were able to get a 2 nights for the price of 1 deal which made it a reasonable rate for us. The tariff includes all food, house wine which is of a very fine quality and is poured into huge glasses and the contents of the room mini bar if you so desire. The mini bar is replenished daily. The quality of the food is absolutely top notch. It is Gourmet food comparable to any premium dining restaurant, perhaps better than some. The service is exemplary and one has to keep reminding oneself where you are and how un-expected such a place is in these surroundings. Quite simply this is the best food and service we have ever experienced in Africa. We are not novice travellers and have stayed at the Westcliff in Jo’burg but this place beats them all, it really is that good.
The room we had was large. You enter into a foyer, downstairs are the bedroom and balcony & straight ahead is the bathroom. The huge King size bed is blissfully comfortable and all room features work faultlessly. There is a bath which you can open sliding louvers alongside and have a view through the bedroom to the bush. You might find a Mangabe is looking in at you! The vanity has twin basins and the quantity and quality of amenities befitting of such a place. There is a separate walk in tiled shower and a separate toilet with bidet. It is possible to be looking out from your room at numerous primates clambering from branch to branch in the rainforest. There were also very large birds in the trees. The property has nice paths you can walk around and there is an infinity edged pool with a splendid bush backdrop. There are spa services here but we did not avail ourselves of them. When we arrived our backpacks were so dusty you couldn’t see the zips for the dust. We un packed and removed all their contents and they took the bags away for cleaning. Amazingly, when the bags were returned to us they had completely immersed them in water and given them a thorough clean and they looked absolutely like brand new again, all at no charge!! Jerry, the manager is a thorough professional and is on hand to assist you if need be and inquired daily if all was well. On arrival you are introduced to the chef and other key staff and when we departed even the chef was there to bid us farewell. In my opinion a visit to Rwanda is enhanced by not just flying in to see the Gorillas but by visiting Gisenyi and then here afterwards. This is a gem of a country and has so much more to offer than Gorillas alone. This is a top quality lodge and if you come here you will not be disappointed. We did nothing here but relax and have wonderful meals including a 3 hour lunch with plenty of fine wine of course!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank KiwiExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2011

I booked this hotel as a surprise for my girlfriend as part of our engagement. The hotel management, along with our travel guide from Rwanda Eco-Tours, helped coordinate the surprise, which included welcome drinks and a private dinner outside. The room was wonderful, even as an afternoon rain storm passed through. We truly appreciated the comfortable beds after a long morning tracking the chimpanzees. The food and common areas were also great.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank saxaholic9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2011

A great place to stay in a wonderful location. Rooms beyond expectations BUT in my opinion this is not of a regular 'international' standard. ( which I was expecting from the cost!) Service is very friendly but limited. When I arrived I had some minor niggles but the management responded commendably. We stayed for four nights and it was off season so maybe the place was not 'geared up'. The location is awsome BUT, and be warned... there are signs to 'the hiking trial' which starts in the hotel grounds. If you dare ( as I did) wander down this trial on your own ( just a path in the forest) you will be fined, min. of $50.00 but should be $100.00 PER PERSON. Apparently it falls within the national park and it's administration and NO ONE is allowed to walk here without a guide who costs a minimum of $40.00 PER PERSON. The hotel signposts point you to the walk, (see the photograph,) and there are no signs saying you can't walk without a permit. I was told you 'should' have a guide, I was not told that if you don't have a guide you will be fined, which I was. I was 'caught' about 15 meters from my room. A walk in the forest costs a min. of $80.00 per couple, EVERYTIME. I was here for four days and as I was on a budget and without a big 4WD vehicle I was stuck in the hotel grounds. If you want to book a wander in the trees you have to get to the forest management office some 2 miles away on roads which at present would not allow my borrowed car to safely travel ( though the road appears to be in the process of repair.. will be better soon, hopefully) The hotel can not arrange your bookings, you have to pay at the forestry's office. This means that if you are not travelling with someone who is organising your activities for you to do anything here is, and I quote the hotel management ' very difficult'. For me and my wife to walk for just an hour a day in the forest would have cost me an additional $400.00 and a couple of half days organising and paying for it. Furthermore for us Brits, there is no facility to change British pounds and they do not accept mastercard.
At the time of our trip there was no waiter service anywhere outside the dining room, ie no 'drinks by the pool', which would be fine a half the price, but I thought a bit steep for the price. The open fires that can be seen on the website in the rooms can not be lit when it rains.. this is a RAIN forest..so don't expect that either ( as I did).
Food is excellent though it is obviously developed for a normal two night stay, it was a bit repetative over four days.
Maybe this all sounds a bit grumpy but I could not overstate the beauty of the place and in balance there are pro's and con's, I just want people to be more aware of the con's than I was.
PS I love rain forests and have been to many but I think from the little I have seen of Nyungwe this is a truly beautiful place, it needs conserving and I would be happy to pay to enter but I think the amounts are too high and it's too difficult for tourists without their own 4wd to get the permits.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank revandyg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Address: Nyungwe Forest, Gafunzo 00250, Rwanda
Location: Rwanda > Western Province > Gafunzo
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Gafunzo
Price Range: $1,274 - $1,832 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Nyungwe Forest Lodge 4.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The lodge is the only five star establishment within the Nyungwe National Park area. It lies in a tea plantation on the edge of the Nyungwe closed canopy rain forest and comprises of 20 luxurious rooms and two Presidential Suites – with 2bedrooms – luxurious suites, one with a Jacuzzi, each equipped with private decks with views overlooking the vast forest terrain. Lodge facilities include an outdoor heated swimming pool, a boma for outdoor dining and sundowners, a restaurant with private terrace, a tea lounge and bar, a relaxation retreat with two treatment rooms, plus a fitness centre with treadmill, cycle and weights. The lodge also offers the latest in Wi-Fi technology with exclusive conferences facilities accommodating up to 18 delegates. Furthermore, the main lodge is wheelchair friendly with relevant facilities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Nyungwe Forest Hotel Kigali

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