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Nyungwe Forest Lodge
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All reviewstea plantationnyungwe forestcolobus monkeysnational parklong drivebeautiful settingsoupsstayed nightscommon areasone of a kindevery mealfood is excellentwi fiminute drivean amazing placehot waterchimp trek
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Reviewed November 21, 2011

My wife and I visited the lodge for a weekend. A full program of chimpanzee and monkey trecking, walks and other forest orientated activities are available. We did nothing, we only ever intended to relax.

The lodge itself is set in a tea plantation right on the edge of the forest. The guest rooms and not situated within the main building but are lined around the edge of the plantation where it meets the forest. As a result every room has a private verandah overlooking the forest. It is possible to see the odd monkey or two from the verandah. The rooms are a couple of minutes walk from the main building along developed paths. In case of rain, each room is equipped with a couple of umberellas.

The rooms themselves are well equipped with everything you would need including a torch to use when moving between the main building and your room at night, the paths are lit but a torch is also handy. Each room has a good selection of TV channels plus wireless internet. There is a wood burner in the room but I thought some other form of heating may also be an advantage. It can get chilly.

There was a problem during the weekend with the lodge's internal network that provided the TV pictures. There were problems with the server but the staff were quick to provide a DVD player and a selection of films.

The main building consists of a small gift shop, a large lounge and the dining room. There are fireplaces all over the place which add to the atmosphere. I thought the service was excellent throughout. I enjoyed the meals but my wife thought some of the elements on the plates were a bit tepid.

There is a spa and a swimming pool that both looked great. We would have used the pool but the weather during our stay was not on our side.

As I said, overall I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and would have happily given the full five stars except for the TV issues and the fact that the rooms could do with some extra form of heating.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Simon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2011

A couple of weeks ago my friends and I travelled to Rwanda and stayed at the Nyungwe Forest Lodge. On the drive there the most spectacular orange sun disappearing behind a forest greeted us. I knew we had hit the jackpot.
I realised that as quiet as this forest seemed, it was breathing life with mist rising from in between the trees.
We finally drove over the last hill, and there, nestled in bright green tea plantations, was the lodge, boasting with one of the most spectacular forests as its backdrop. It was one of those rare moments where words fail you: everyone in the car was staring, mouths open, eyes slightly glazed over and sitting in complete silence.
During our stay, we had the full attention of a friendly and professional lodge staff – an attitude that was the norm throughout our weekend.
The lodge itself has been put together with such class and simplicity – you can’t help but feel at home. Every little detail has been thought out to express the warm heart of Rwanda – from 5 star cuisine to service fit for a king. The rooms exuberated comfort and even though the lodge had so many nooks and crannies to explore, relaxation was the order of the day.
Some of the many adventures in and around the lodge that I would recommend is the luxurious spa treatments, tea ceremonies, chimpanzee walks – and if you have no fear of heights (like I do) you should definitely experience the breathtaking views on the canopy tour.
If you love good food, great service and the idea of lazing around in an infinity pool surrounded by the oldest rainforest in Africa, then Nyungwe Forest Lodge has to go to the top of your travelling bucket list.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank CookedInAfrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2011

Amazing location, breath-taking scenery, great room design, good massage and spa treatments, TERRIBLE food. Perhaps the food is not a priority as it is included in the room rates. The menu each meal had a choice of two or three mains and without fail one of them was close to inedible. There was no bacon for the two mornings we were there, the juices were not freshly squeezed, the baked beans out of a tin (criminal when the nation lives on beans) and the tea came in tea bags, (a little difficult to comprehend when you are sitting smack in the middle of a tea plantation). Once the food is sorted out this lodge will rate as an excellent value for money accommodation in a sublime setting and will be hard to resist for weekend breaks of those working in the surrounding areas.

Right on the border of a tea plantation and national forest the environment is superb. The design of the accommodation cabins is impressive, they are comfortable and luxurious. The common areas are also comfortable with interesting modern design features, however, the restaurant is a bit like eating in a foyer - open plan, lacking intimacy and on chillier nights a little too cool to be sitting for a long time, (this was not a problem for my husband and I as the food was really not good and didn't encourage long dining experiences). Also, for smokers there really isn't a good environment to enjoy an aperitif, the infrastructure is there - a fire place on the terrace, however, when we arrived at 7pm to have a drink the fire wasn't lit (we had to ask for it to be lit which took four time-consuming attempts), the spot lights above create no ambiance and the lack of comfortable chairs, warmth, music and bar led to a discussion on how the space could be better utilised.

Complaints aside the walks through the tea plantation were superb. For the national park be aware that their various walks start at 9am, 11am and 1pm (except the chimpanzee trek) so be sure to arrive there on time or be prepared to sit and wait.

The spa was a delight especially the massage service. Enjoy. Despite the bad food we will be returning I am sure. I've my fingers crossed for a yummier dining experience.

Room Tip: At the time of this review the cottages 23, 24 were being re-roofed so stay away from them, in the lower numbered ones.
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank KabulPastryChef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2011

Just a fantastic place to stay. Beautiful rooms with the rain forest crowding up to your back porch (had some great mono-monkey viewing one afternoon). Very peaceful and safe. Excellent food. Excellent common areas (chess set next to a fire place was great after the daily treks). Infinity pool on the edge of the forest has to be seen to be believed. Probably one of the 15 best places I've stayed in my life. Couldn't believe how cheap it was to stay at this place when I looked it up on the internet. Strong recommendation.

A note to the chimp trekkers out there -- make sure you're very comfortable hiking in adverse conditions (picture running and sliding down muddy hills for a few miles) and in very good shape.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JaFlinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2011

This lodge is part of the "Mantis collection". I don't know what that is but any hotel that is part of a "collection" must be something special and Nyungwe Forest Lodge is indeed. It is a stunning lodge that values simplicity, good taste and beauty over opulence. The setting amongst the acres of tea fields makes for a surprisingly beautiful backdrop. With the rainforest in the background and the rolling property providing some great panoramic views of the campus, this is an idyllic place.

The room I got (room #15) faces the forest, so it's not a beautiful view but we did get to see a troupe of colobus monkeys pass on by right in front of us as we relaxed on the balcony.

I have the say the food is good but not great. You can see they're working hard on the presentation and the variety but at the end of the day, the quality was only a step or two above meals I had in other 2-3 star hotels on my trip. But you don't have to wait an hour for the food like you do is most other Rwandan hotel restaurants.

The service is excellent. There is a high degree of training involved here but the staff is genuinely friendly and service-oriented as well. However, they failed to follow up on a non-working safe I brought to their attention.

One thing though, the lodge is isolated. There are only 1 or 2 activities you can do that does not require a car, otherwise you need one. The front desk said there usually is a lodge car you can hire but that it was in town for repairs so I cannot verify the validity of that claim.

Final thought: it is expensive, but I paid a similar price for a room in Manhattan that was a fraction of the size, no meals, and not nearly as beautiful(inside or out).

Room Tip: I was there during the rainy season (October) and felt as though I had the entire place to myself there were so few other guests.
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank quoeratdemonstrandum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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