Kwitonda Lodge: Our full report
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
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
- Further dining info, including room service
- Room service is available.
- Drinks included
- Drinks are included with the exception of connoisseur wines and French champagne.
- 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 ideas for Solo Travel
- 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 ideas for Photography holidays
- 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 ideas for Wildlife safaris
- 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 ideas for Luxury
- 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.
- None provided.
- Generally recommended for children
- Since the minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years, we'd recommend staying here only with children over the age of 15. Having said that, Kataza House is a suitable option for family groups looking for a high-end property.
- 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.
- Power supply notes
- Back up generator.
- WiFi is available in all areas.
- TV & radio
- There is a TV screen and computer in the conservation hub.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Fully plumbed.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- 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.
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- Daily laundry service included.
- 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.
Other lodges in Volcanoes National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.