Kwitonda Lodge

Kwitonda Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
9 suites
Children
Best for 15+
Open
All year

Located in a prime position on the border of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, Kwitonda Lodge opened in 2019 and provides a luxurious base for travellers trekking to see the mountain gorillas.

Kwitonda Lodge is the newest offering from Singita, who are known for their high levels of luxury and personalised service. The lodge is located on 178 acres of land overlooking the southern border of the Volcanoes National Park, adding to the buffer zone between the park and adjacent agricultural land.

Kwitonda has eight spacious suites. The suites are very private, and well proportioned, each with an outdoor deck and a heated plunge-pool and floor-to-ceiling windows offering incredible views from all aspects.

Inside the suites there is a lounge area, where you will find a mini-bar and snacks, and coffee table books. This lounge is separated from the bedroom by a gas fire, which helps to keep the suite cosy in the evening. Adjacent to the large bedroom is an even bigger en-suite bathroom, complete with a massage table for in-room treatments, freestanding bathtub and an indoor and outdoor shower. Everything is thoughtfully designed, and the attention to detail is second to none.

Set slightly further away from the main lodge, the exclusive Kataza House, a private villa designed for families or small groups, has four bedrooms and a private pool. It is of similar design and style to the suites, and guests staying here have the services of a private chef and host.

The main area of the lodge is designed to blend in with the environment, with the idea of bringing the outside inside. It uses locally sourced materials with plenty of wood and dry-stone walling and, like the suites, has large windows and a neutral colour scheme to complement the surrounding forest colours.

During the development of the lodge, the team at Kwitonda planted more than 60,000 saplings throughout the grounds, to encourage wildlife, lost due to deforestation, to recolonise the area. At the time of our visit the woods still looked immature, but the lodge expects big changes as the vegetation grows.

The restaurant and bar have indoor and outdoor seating options, plus a comfy lounge space. There is a wine cellar and you can arrange tastings. Next to the bar area is a wonderful conservation hub with a library and interesting displays. It’s a space to learn about, and be inspired by, local community projects and gorilla conservation efforts. This is where you will be briefed about what to expect during your treks.

Though the lodge is designed as a tranquil oasis, with relaxation in mind, the main reason for visiting Kwitonda Lodge is to hike to see the mountain gorillas that make the Volcanoes National Park their home. Morning activities from the lodge will concentrate on treks to see the gorillas or the golden monkeys, another highlight of this area.

Kwitonda has an extensive equipment room, where you can borrow trekking equipment from the lodge, including rucksacks, gaiters and waterproofs. The lodge is located a short drive from the park headquarters where all trekking groups are assigned and briefed. Permit costs for primate trekking are not included in the accommodation rates. You can find details on the costs of the trekking permits on our gorilla trekking page.

Kwitonda’s sister camps run by Singita in Tanzania offer high levels of service in equally luxurious settings. These include Singita Mara River Tented Camp in Lamai, and Faru Faru, Sasakwa and Sabora in their Grumeti Reserve. A direct flight from Kigali into the Serengeti makes it easy to combine Kwitonda with one or more of these sister camps.

Our view

Kwitonda is a well-appointed, highly luxurious and personable getaway in a great location for gorilla trekking. As we would expect from Singita, the service is exemplary, the staff are charming and there is a real feeling of exclusivity. The focus is on enjoying the beauty of the surrounding environment in a tranquil location, while ensuring that guest wishes are met in every way possible. It certainly meets the needs of discerning travellers, albeit with a very steep price tag.

Geographics

Location: Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Ideal length of stay: We recommend a stay or three or four nights at Kwitonda, though this will depend on the activities you wish to take part in.

Directions: Kwitonda is a two-to-three–hour drive from central Kigali. Helicopter transfers to and from the lodge, which include a scenic tour, are available – chat to us to find out more.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Singita

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: As to be expected from Singita, the quality, presentation and variety of food at Kwitonda is very high.

There are no set meal times, and guests are encouraged to be as relaxed as they wish. With advance notice special diets and requests can be catered.

Breakfast is a selection of granola, yoghurt, fruits and muffins, with eggs cooked to order, this is served early to accommodate those trekking to see the gorillas. 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.

Dinner is typically three-course and is chosen from an à la carte menu, with a couple of options for each course. During our stay we enjoyed delicately cooked talapia on a bed of lentils and gently wilted spinach.

Singita is one of Africa’s most influential collectors of wine, and so you can expect a good selection of well paired wine with lunch and dinner.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Drinks are included with the exception of connoisseur wines and French champagne.

Further dining info: Room service is available.

Special interests

Solo Travel: Kwitonda definitely isn’t a low-cost option but, with no single supplement, it’s a more affordable option for high-end solo travel in Rwanda.

See more ideas for Solo Travel in Rwanda

Photography holidays: The majority of guests come to Kwitonda to trek, and photograph, the mountain gorillas. As such the lodge has dedicated photography room with a number of computers and photography software for guests to edit and enhance their photos.

See more ideas for Photography holidays in Rwanda

Wildlife safaris: Located on the border of Volcanoes National Park, Kwitonda is a great base for trekking on a wildlife safari to see Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Rwanda

Luxury: Kwitonda is a highly luxurious and personable getaway, in a wonderful location for gorilla trekking. You can expect private hot tubs, fine wines and dining and top-level service. There is a real feeling of exclusivity here.

See more ideas for Luxury in Rwanda

Children

Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at the lodge on request, provided they will be accompanied by a childminder or a non-trekking member of the party.

Property’s age restrictions: Children under 15 are welcome on request.

Special activities & services: None provided.

Equipment: None provided.

Notes: Children should be supervised at all times. Whilst younger guests will be made to feel welcome, this is a very smart lodge, with a mature atmosphere, and some families with young children might not feel comfortable here.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: Back up generator.

Communications: WiFi is available in all areas.

TV & radio: There is a TV screen and computer in the conservation hub.

Water supply: Mains

Water supply notes: Fully plumbed.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Staff are trained in basic first aid, and the closest doctor is based in the local clinic in Musanze, a 30 minute drive away. In an emergency,

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: There are security guards on site 24 hours.

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located in all suites and around the lodge.

Extras

Disabled access: In Place

Laundry facilities: Daily laundry service included.

Money: Electronic safe in suites. Small amounts of USD can be exchnaged for Rwandan franc.

Accepted payment on location: All major credit cards and currencies are accepted.

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