Nyungwe House: Our full report
Nyungwe House lies at the edge of the beautiful Nyungwe Forest National Park, in south-west Rwanda.After undergoing a refurbishment, the lodge re-opened in 2018 as part of the One&Only group, which has a number of luxury hotels and resorts worldwide, including a sister property close to Volcanoes National Park, One&Only Gorillas' Nest.
Nyungwe House, previously known as Nyungwe Forest Lodge, is set in a stunning location, in the Gisakura tea plantation, and directly bordered by Nyungwe Forest. Designed to fit in with the surrounding environment, the main buildings are constructed of wood, dark slate and terracotta tiles. The outside appearance is low-key, but it is a different story once you step inside. With local imigongo art across the walls, Nyungwe House combines slick modern furniture and classic designs with African style. The overall effect is beautiful.
Nyungwe House has 20 luxury rooms. These are situated in five clusters, each containing four rooms. In addition, there is a family suite catering for up to two adults and two children, and a presidential suite, with a hot tub, which provides exclusive accommodation for up to four adults.
Each luxury room has either a king-size bed or large twin beds, locally carved wooden furniture and comfortable seats. There is a log burner for cold evenings, an espresso machine and extensive mini-bar. WiFi connection, multi-pin plug sockets, an iPad loaded with a huge selection of current newspapers and magazines, and a satellite TV all come as standard. Outside there is a private deck, with views over the forest terrain. Directly off the bedroom, but shielded by a folding wooden screen, the en-suite bathrooms have a large bathtub and twin basins, with separate toilet, bidet and shower cubicles set further back.
Wooden walkways and stone paths, lit at night, lead from the main building to the rooms. There’s also a golf cart on site to assist guests if needed, and to transport luggage to the rooms.
The main building houses a stylish reception area and gift boutique moving through to a lounge area, where you'll also find a library, and the bar and spacious dining room beyond, all overlooking the tea bushes of the plantation which surround the central areas. There is a large outside deck and fire pit, where pre-dinner drinks and nibbles are served.
The lodge also has an outdoor heated infinity pool, with a poolside bar and plenty of loungers. The fitness centre and relaxation retreat is also located here. There are two treatment rooms providing various massages using Africology products and Rwandan-inspired spa treatments, with massages starting from $120. Al fresco yoga is also on offer.
Despite the destruction caused by the genocide in the mid-1990s, an impressive array of 13 different species of primate live in Nyungwe Forest National Park. While the major attraction in this area is the chimpanzees, the diversity of flora is also impressive, and classic vistas abound of giant tree ferns lining the sides of hills, ridges and valleys. Along with 200 different tree species, the park has a plethora of flowering plants including orchids and giant lobelia.
Other wildlife is found here in abundance, too, with more than 275 species of birds and 75 species of mammals living in these lush surroundings. The birds are particularly spectacular, with giant hornbills, great blue turacos and red-breasted sparrowhawks among birdwatchers' favourites. Twenty-four species are endemic to this section alone of the Rift Valley.
As you might expect, activities from Nyungwe House revolve around walking and trekking in the Nyungwe Forest National Park. Activities are tailored to the individual, with guided walks lasting anything from one to seven hours. It is also possible to arrange a number of activities on-site, including archery, bicycle hire or birdwatching, with an extremely knowledgeable local ornithologist. We highly recommend this, both for both keen birders or if you’re looking to brush up on your ID skills.
The most popular walking excursions at Nyungwe House include treks to see chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabeys. Other visits include the Kamiranzovu Swamps and Isumo (waterfall) trail, and guided canopy walk – speak to us for more on these
If you want something a little less active, you can take a tour of the tea plantation before participating in a Rwandan tea ceremony. Guests are encouraged to give back to the local community, and are welcome to assist by picking leaves in the tea plantation, helping tend to the animals or taking part in Umuganda (the monthly country-wide clean-up).
Despite its relatively large size, Nyungwe House retains a highly personalised service. The facilities here are the very best in Nyungwe, with attentive staff and top-quality food. Along with its beautiful design and stunning location, encompassing both forest and tea plantations, this is an exceptional property all round.
- Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda
- Ideal length of stay
- We would recommend a stay of two or three nights at Nyungwe House, in order to have time to experience the variety of activities on offer.
- From Kigali it’s around a 6-hour drive to Nyungwe House. You’ll usually break up the drive with a stop in Butare for lunch.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- The quality and standard of presentation of food at Nyungwe House is incredibly high, and easily matches that of any top city restaurant. We found it truly exquisite and during our visit to Rwanda in 2019 it was easily the best out of all of the properties we visited. With advance notice special diets and requests can be catered.
Breakfast is a light buffet, served early to accommodate those trekking to see the chimpanzees. Guests who have a more leisurely start, can choose from a selection of hot dishes cooked to order, from the à la carte menu.
Lunch is typically a set menu consisting of a selection of salads, breads and light fish of meat dishes. Luxury picnic lunches are provided for guests on all-day excursions.
For Dinner guests can expect a 6 course tasting-menu influenced by the surrounding environment and using local ingredients. This is usually served in the dining room, but alternative locations, such as down by the pool, can be arranged.
- Nyungwe House is luxurious location for a romantic honeymoon in Rwanda. Trek chimpanzees in the forest, go for a couples massage in the jungle spa and enjoy a romantic meal for two in the middle of the tea plantation.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- Nyungwe Forest is arguably the most important location for birders in Rwanda, with over 300 species recorded here including 27 Albertine Rift endemics. Head out with a specialist bird guide from Nyungwe House and look for the Gret Blue Turaco and Rockefeller's sunbird among others.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Photography holidays
- Nyungwe House is in a beautiful location, nestled within a tea plantation and overlooking the forest there are ample photographic opportunities here. You can trek the chimpanzees and colobus monkeys, while back a the lodge the resident bird guides can take you on forest walks.
- See ideas for Photography holidays
- Wildlife safaris
- The major attraction in Nyungwe Forest National Park are the primates. Here you can see chimpanzees, L'Hoest's monkey, grey managabe, amongst others. There are also over 275 different species of birds and 75 different species of mammals in these lush surroundings.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Nyungwe Forest Lodge is a great base for Nyungwe Forest, where visitors can go on guided walks to see energetic colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and a stunning variety of birds.
- See ideas for Walking
- Offering a heated infinity pool, opulent rooms with fluffy bathrobes and private decks, Nyungwe House is a luxurious base to visit the tropical rainforest of Nyungwe. You’ll experience excellent fine dining, which can be enjoyed on the terrace with fabulous views into the forest.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Children aged 12 years and above are welcome.
- Special activities & services
- Indoor games can be arranged for children.
- There is a two-bedroom suite specially designed for families.
- Generally recommended for children
- Young children are not hugely encouraged, though they will be made to feel welcome. Nyungwe House has an adult atmosphere and so is more suited to older or well-behaved and mature children. Note that the minimum age for trekking chimpanzees is 15 years old.
- The pool is unfenced, so younger children should be supervised in this area.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Nyungwe House
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Nyungwe House have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- There is a second back-up generator.
- Nyungwe House has a small business centre and conference room. Each room has a phone and there is cellphone reception and WiFi connection throughout.
- TV & radio
- There is a satellite TV in every room.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Nyungwe House has its own borehole and water treatment facility. Bathrooms are fully plumbed with hot and cold showers, and flush toilets.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- We understand there are first aid kits on site, and some staff members are first aid trained. The closest hospital is in Kirambo, a 35-minute drive from Nyungwe House.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Security measures
- Gated with security personnel on the property.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are located in each room and in the main area. Staff trained in their use.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- Included. 24hour service.
- There is an electronic safe in each room. It is possible to exchange small amounts of USD.
- Accepted payment on location
- Visa and Mastercard are excepted.
Other lodges in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.