Nyungwe House

Nyungwe House: Our full report

22 rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (98%) From 16 reviews
Best for 15+
All year

Nyungwe House, previously known as Nyungwe Forest Lodge, lies in a beautiful location on the edge of Nyungwe Forest National Park, in south-west Rwanda. Closed for refurbishment during summer 2017 by new owners One & Only, the lodge is due to re-open in October 2017.

In its new iteration, Nyungwe House aims to be the most exclusive lodge in the area. No one at Expert Africa has yet stayed at Nyungwe House, but we know the area well and have travelled extensively throughout Nyungwe Forest National Park. On our last visit to Rwanda in mid-2017, we visited the site and spoke to the team, who kindly updated us on the plans for the lodge.

Nyungwe House is set in a stunning location, with tea plantations to one side and the forest to the other. Designed to fit in with the surrounding environment, the main buildings are a mixture of wood, dark slate and terracotta tiles. With local imigongo art across the walls, Nyungwe House combines classic designs with African style; the overall effect is beautiful.

Once the refurbishment is complete, Nyungwe House will have 20 ‘luxury’ rooms. These will be situated in five wooden villas, each containing four rooms.

In addition, there is a family suite catering for up to two adults and two children, while the presidential suite, with a Jacuzzi, will provide exclusive accommodation for up to four adults.

We understand that each room will have either a king-size bed or large twin beds, with carved wooden furniture and comfortable seats in front of a fireplace, for colder evenings. Phones, WiFi connection, multi-pin plug sockets and charging points, and a satellite TV will come as standard, and outside there’ll be a private deck, with views over the vast forest terrain.

Directly off the bedroom, but shielded by a folding wooden screen, the en-suite bathrooms will have a large bath and twin sinks, with separate toilet, bidet and shower cubicles set further back.

Wooden walkways, lit at night, lead from the main building to the rooms. We understand that a golf cart will be on site to assist guests, and to transport luggage to the rooms.

The main building houses a stylish reception area, moving through to a large lounge, where you’ll find a library and bar areas overlooking the tea plantations, with a fireplace and seating inside and outside.

A spacious dining area also overlooks the plantations, a great location for outdoor dining and sundowners, with views across to the forest beyond. The team us told that this area will have another large fireplace as a focal point, with individual tables throughout.

The lodge also has an outdoor heated infinity pool, with poolside bar and plenty of sunloungers. A firepit is set up next to the pool area, for evening barbecues when the weather allows.

Alongside the pool is a fitness centre and relaxation retreat, with two treatment rooms providing various massages and spa treatments, which we understand will be at an additional cost and a fitness centre. We are told there will also be a curio and gift boutique here.

As you might expect, activities from Nyungwe House will revolve around walking and trekking in the Nyungwe Forest National Park. Activities will be tailored to the individual, with guided walks lasting anything from one to seven hours.

Despite the destruction caused during the civil war in the mid-1990s, an impressive array of 13 different species of primate live in the national park.
The most popular walking excursions at Nyungwe House will no doubt include treks to see chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabeys. Other visits could include the Kamiranzovu Swamps and waterfall walks, along with birdwatching, cultural area walks and a guided canopy walk. Speak to us for more on these options.

While the major attraction in this area is the chimpanzees the biodiversity of flora is also impressive, and classic vistas of giant tree ferns lining the sides of hills, ridges and valleys abound. Along with 200 different tree species here, there is a plethora of flowering plants including orchids and giant lobelia.

Wildlife is in abundance, too, with more than 275 species of birds and 75 species of mammals in these lush surroundings. The birds are particularly spectacular, with giant hornbills, great blue turacos and red-breasted sparrowhawks among the birdwatcher's favourites. Twenty-four species are endemic to this section of the Rift Valley alone.

Our view

Despite its size, Nyungwe still manages to maintain a 'lodge’ feel. We anticipate that the facilities here will be the best in Nyungwe, and with its beautiful design and stunning location, encompassing both forest and tea plantations, we have high hopes for what we think will be an exceptional property. The guided activities will be varied and the mix of unique flora and fauna in the national park will make for some fantastic experiences.


Location: 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.

Directions: 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: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: One & Only Resorts

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: We are told that breakfast is likely to be a buffet, served early to accommodate those trekking to see the chimpanzees.

Lunch will be à la carte for those in the lodge, but we are told that the plan is to provide luxury picnic lunches for guests on all-day excursions.

We don’t yet know the plans for the dinner service, though as the lodge nears its opening date we’ll have more details.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Further dining info: Room service will be available.

Special interests

Birdwatching: The Nyungwe National Park is fantastic on a Rwanda birdwatching break, with the chance to see 24 species endemic to this section of the Rift Valley. With over 275 species in total, twitchers may be excited by great blue turacos and red-breasted sparrow hawks.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Rwanda

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 more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Rwanda

Walking: 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 more ideas for Walking in Rwanda

Luxury: 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 more ideas for Luxury in Rwanda


Attitude towards children: Children are welcome.

Equipment: There is a two-bedroom suite specially designed for families.

Notes: The pool is unfenced, so younger children should be supervised in this area.


Power supply: Generator

Power supply notes: There is a second back-up generator.

Communications: Nyungwe House will have a small business centre and conference room. Each room will have a phone and there is cellphone reception and WiFi connection throughout.

TV & radio: There will be a satellite TV in every room.

Water supply: Borehole

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: No

Medical care: We understand there will be a first aid kit on site, and some staff members will be first aid trained. The closest hospital is in Kirambo, a 35 minute drive from Nyungwe House.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk


Disabled access: In Place