Reviews of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Excellent base for seeing Gorillas
A great base for gorilla trekking--and some great viewing. A unique and unforgettable experience. Both the lodge and the trekking were well organised. Facilities at the lodge were good.
However, we felt that the Lodge was in need of a make-over in the near future if it is to continue to command a premium price. It looked a bit tired.
Sabyinyo Silverback lodge and Rwanda gorillas
Sabyinyo Silverback lodge was a great start to our trip. It is the closest lodge to the Volcanos park entrance and this saves quite a bit of time in the early morning start when you visit the gorillas. It has a wonderful situation just under the Sabyinyo Volcano with views of several of the other volcanos too. The rooms are comfortable and well appointed, the communal areas large and comfortable. We were treated to a talk by the gorilla vets on our first evening which was quite unexpected and a great introduction.
It should be stressed that the lodge is just a lodge and does not organise your gorilla visits nor any other activities- these are done by your driver, in our case from the excellent and efficient 'Primate safaris' who met us in Kigali and stayed with us for all of the Rwanda section of our trip. Your driver will collect you first thing in the morning and take you to the park and will negotiate the details of gorilla treks for you- tell him everything you want or need- eg a short hike, an easy hike etc and be aware that a short hike may actually be a hard hike up steep mountainside- be careful what you ask for. If you want to go out say birdwatching after treking then don't expect your driver to know where to go. The lodge didn't currently know either although the new managers are trying to correct this, so for now do your homework before going- there is for instance a Government created birding circuit nearby that nobody knew about and I only discovered later. Once known about your driver will however take you wherever you want.
Gorilla trekking. Wonderful and worth the money and the treks- we had an easy trek day one and a very hard one day two but rounding the corner and seeing the gorillas makes it all worthwhile. Do hire a porter and do take garden gloves- Sabyinyo will provide gaiters for you.
A great place from which to see the gorillas.
We were extremely happy with this lodge, but you do need to be aware that there's a steep 250m hike from the car park to the lodge and a further climb up to the rooms. However, if you can't manage that then you're not going to manage a gorilla trek!
Excellent food and service. Very happy with our driver, Alex, from Primate Safaris.
Do the golden monkey trek BEFORE you visit the gorillas to acclimatise and to avoid disappointment by comparison with the awesome experience of seeing the gorillas up close and personal.
We also enjoyed fascinating visits to the Gorilla Vet Project and a local orphanage/school run by the Faith Foundation.
We loved Rwanda - safe, people very friendly, beautiful countryside and a lovely cool climate.
We stayed 4 nights at Sabinyo Silverback lodge and felt that was the perfect amount of time there.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, great experience
Had a wonderful time at the lodge, our own lodge was very good, comfortable and generally of a very high standard, food was very good, staff were first class, nothing was to much trouble.Read more about the whole safari
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, with a wood fire in the room and hot water bottles in the large bed to warm it each night it was very comfortable.
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!
(Half way through stay we found we were expected to move bungalows, we in fact moved to the suite we thought we had booked for the whole trip! Apparently we should have been told, but we were not?)
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge review
couldnt fault it good management and staff very good at dealing with gluten free allergy (coelics)Read more about the whole safari
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge review
The manager should have been more actively involved with the guests. He was scarce. A good host makes a big difference.
We should add that the manager knows a lot about Africa and should share it.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge review
Lovely lodge with friendly staff.
Nigel the manager is rather opinionated.
Some of the staff have a problem with body odour - we had to open the windows and sit outside after 1 staff visit!
Would certainly recommend.
We were downgraded for first 2 nights despite having made our booking nearly a year ago and did not get into our suite until 18.30hrs on 3rd night.
Lodge made my wifes birthday very special.
Expert Africa comments
We’re glad that overall these travellers had an enjoyable stay, and we’d like to apologise for them having the wrong room for the first few days. Looking into this, it was due to a miscommunication in Rwanda. As a result, we’ve tightened up reservation procedures in Rwanda, which hopefully should prevent similar problems reoccurring there.
Needless to say, as a gesture of good will these travellers have been only charged for a standard room for the whole of their stay at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.
What a place!
Brand new, fantastic location (though the climb up the hill to reach it is a stiff one), Luxury, pampering, wonderful food - everything we wanted for the last three days of the holiday. I think we were the third set of guests to stay here, and only two chalets were finished.
The reception/dining/ communal rooms were still being built so we were cooked for and fed in a third chalet (what will be a guest bathroom was the kitchen).
But everything about the accommodation, food and service is first class and (even better) the Rwandans are really pleased and excited about this project which promises to give jobs to and train members of the local community. When the guide taking us to visit gorillas learnt we were staying here he insisted upon shaking our hands and even the State Minister for Tourism and Culture (or similar title) turned up during our stay to look at the work in progress.
We did two days of gorilla tracking. On day one we visited the Sabyinyo group and on day two, Susa. It is, as the guide book says, a peerless experience.
I was very worried about the hiking involved but actually we (despite being mid-forties, relatively sedentary lifestyle etc etc) managed it fine and with seemingly less problems than our younger fitter looking companions. This I put down to:
(i) having by this stage in our trip been at altitude for some time and having completed treks to see chimps and golden monkeys, and
(ii) hiring a porter - cameras, water, coats, lunch make for a bulky heavy backpack and clambering under fallen bamboo poles in mud with a backpack is no joke (and the porters need their job!), and
(iii) using two sticks. We took our own, but the guides also provide these – so we slid about in the mud much less than those balancing on one!