Nyungwe Top View Hotel, situated high on a hill near the Nyungwe Forest, offers stunning views
Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel: Our full report
Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel opened in February 2011 and easily has the most beautiful views in the Nyungwe Forest area. Located five minutes' drive off a main road, up a very rough and steep dirt track, it is set on top of a hill with views across numerous tea plantations, and close to the headquarters of Nyungwe National Park.
The main areas at Nyungwe Top View consist of a large, two-tiered rondavel with a phenomenally high roof. Although a rondavel is usually a traditionally built round house, this building offers a rather more modern take on the theme. The ground floor, where you will find the reception, is sparsely furnished with a few modern angular sofas and walls adorned with traditional Rwandan murals. Circular wicker lights hang from the ceiling and dark tiled stairs lead you up to a mezzanine balcony.
It is on this second level that you will find the dining area, with tables and chairs set on a rather out-of-place black-tiled floor, and a sweeping veranda with tables and chairs of steel and moulded plastic. The views from here are stunning and on clear days you can even see Lake Kivu and the volcanoes of the Congo beyond. There is also a bar on this level made almost entirely from bottle tops, giving it a bright, very kitsch look: almost Art Deco. It really was a piece of art and probably our favourite part of the hotel.
Glass doors at the front of the rondavel open onto Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel's beautifully kept lawn. On each side of this is a row of six red-brick cottages. Each of these double or twin cottages houses a small lounge area at the front, with terracotta-tiled floors, a sofa, chair and coffee table, and a fireplace which can be lit for you on cold evenings. Although the furniture is different in every cottage, it is always angular and modern, and not of great quality, so it appears to be wearing quite quickly.
The bedrooms are quite sparse, furnished only with a bed and some hanging space for clothes, but they have plenty of space and were spotlessly clean. There are no fans or air con but the team here will put hot-water bottles in your beds on cooler nights.
The tiled bathrooms each have a sink, toilet and shower and some also have baths. Towels are provided but toiletries are not. Although they looked attractive with their own individual colour schemes, cracks were already starting to appear when we visited.
As at any other lodge in this area, activities from Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel focus on those offered by Nyungwe National Park. Your private driver (included as part of virtually all our trips here) will be on hand to take you to the park headquarters, just 3km away, to start each activity. These include trekking out to see the Ruwenzori colobus monkeys, a morning looking for chimpanzees, birding walks, and – for adventurous travellers – the high canopy walk.
Our viewAt first glance, Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel looks quite smart, but on closer inspection it is a little scruffy. The furniture may be modern but it's a mish-mash of design, and is quite cheaply made. Yet regardless of the hotel's imperfections we thought the location was great and it is certainly comfortable enough, offering good value. Indeed, the slight scruffiness and the odd mix of styles is rather endearing. In addition, the staff try really hard and we'd expect the friendly atmosphere and welcoming service to add enormously to the overall experience.
Ideal length of stay: We would recommend spending at least two nights at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel, though three would be better. Then you would have plenty of time to sample a number of the activities on offer here such as trekking to see the Ruwenzori colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, going on the birding walks and sampling the high canopy walk.
Directions: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel is a five-hour drive from Kigali on relatively good tarmac roads, until the final five minutes up a steep dirt track to the hotel.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we visited Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel we didn't have a chance to try the food, but the options were:
Breakfast is served throughout the morning with a variety of options on offer. Guests can order a full English breakfast with eggs cooked to their liking. Cereals, fruit and toast are also available, as are fruit juice, and a selection of teas and coffee.
Lunch and dinner are both ordered off the same à la carte menu. The starters are largely made up of options like Greek salad, or chicken or vegetable soup. Mains included a couple of pasta dishes, steak and a goat or chicken stew, all served with a choice of salad, chips, rice or vegetables.
We thought the menu was quite simple, and might get repetitive after a while, but for a two- to three-night stay it would probably be fine.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel. A soft drink or local beer would cost US$3 and a glass of wine US$5.
Further dining info: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel offers room service, although there are no phones in the rooms so this has to be arranged in advance.
Attitude towards children: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel is happy to accept children of any age
Property’s age restrictions: The hotel has no ages restrictions, but children must be at least 16 years old to take part in most of the primate focused activities in Nyungwe Forest.
Special activities & services: No
Equipment: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel can offer a triple room on request, but does not have any additional facilities for children.
Generally recommended for children: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel would be fine for older children who are able to make the most of the activities that the area offers.
Notes: There are some quite steep sections of hillside in front of the rooms so parents should keep a close eye on their children at all times.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: Always on. It is possible to charge batteries via power points in the rooms. These have two European-style round pins, but the hotel can provide adaptors on request.
Communications: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel does not yet have internet access for guests, but the office computer may be used for short amounts of time if required.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest medical service is at Kibogora Hospital, 10km from the hotel. There is a first-aid box at the hotel and we were told that a team member was also trained in first aid.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There are security guards dotted around the property day and night, and there are safes in half of the rooms. For rooms that do not have safes guests may leave valuables with the manager who can lock them away.
Fire safety: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel has fire extinguishers by every room and around the main areas. Some members of the staff are trained to use them.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry at Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel is washed and dried by machine, and costs around US$2 per item.
Money: The hotel will exchange currency in US dollars, euros and British pounds, using the bank's rate of the day.
Accepted payment on location: Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel will accept cash in Rwandan francs, US dollars, euros and British pounds, but they do not currently accept credit cards.