Mountain Gorilla View Lodge: Our full report
On the slopes of Mount Sabyinyo, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has beautiful views of the surrounding volcanoes.
The mid-range hotel, previously called Gorilla Mountain View Lodge, is set in spacious grounds, and is only a 15-minute drive from the headquarters of Volcanoes National Park, which is the starting point for gorilla trekking.
Mountain Gorilla View is the sister property of Kivu Lodge near Kibuye, on the shores of Lake Kivu, and also Flame Tree Village in Kigali. While none of these hotels offer high-end luxury, they are all very comfortable with reasonably good food and friendly service.
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has undergone multiple changes over the past few years, including construction of new cottages and the addition of external doors at each end of the main building, which helps to reduce draughts in the evening. They have also installed mains power throughout, albeit with a much-needed back-up generator.
Constructed of brick and tile, the 40 individual cottages at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge are well spaced out and provide lots of privacy. They’re very big inside, too, with plain plastered walls, and simple but comfortable furnishings. The sleeping area is slightly raised above the height of the lounge, and on our last visit in 2019 we were pleased to see new wooden laminate flooring here. The en-suite bathroom is fully plumbed and comes with a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries. Do be aware that the floors of the colourfully decorated showers can become slippery when wet, so please take extra care.
Each cottage has a fireplace, that can be set by the staff with a log fire in the evenings - a good idea as gets very chilly at night at this altitude. However, on our last visit, the fireplace was set with glowing charcoal. While this might appeal for warmth, there are no carbon monoxide detectors, so we strongly advise you turn down this offer.
The central area has a basic bar and restaurant, serving generally good home-cooked fare, and a large lounge that is split into three seating areas. With low reed ceilings, burnt-red walls, a fireplace and patterned rugs on the floor, each of these felt quite warm and cosy. If the new jazzy zebra-print sofas don’t entirely fit in with their surroundings, the eclectic style almost adds to the overall charm.
Outside, there’s a veranda with soft seating, and a small firepit where guests can gather in the evening to share stories about the day’s trekking.
The lodge grounds are very well maintained and afford fantastic views of the volcanoes and surrounding area. Every evening a local dance group gathers to perform traditional Intore dancing on the lawn. Take a stroll around the gardens and you are likely to see a lot of wildlife, from numerous species of birds to monkeys jumping between the trees.
The main attraction for guests to Mountain Gorilla View is of course the trek to see the mountain gorillas. There are currently 12 habituated gorilla families in Rwanda that visitors can visit, ranging in distance from a short 30-minute trek to a longer hike lasting several hours. Conditions in the Virunga Mountains can become quite muddy, but the lodge can provide guests with gloves and gaiters if needed; they also provide a complimentary boot cleaning service once you return.
In addition to the mountain gorillas, a number of alternative activities are possible in and around Volcanoes National Park. Many people choose to spend a morning tracking the golden monkeys that also call the Virungas home – an excursion that also helps with acclimatisation. For those looking for a little more physical exertion you can arrange to trek up to the grave of Dian Fossey or even to summit Mount Karisimbi and peer down into the huge caldera below. It is also possible to go canoeing near the twin lakes of Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo; chat to us for more details.
We really like Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. With spacious cottages, friendly staff and a great location, it has something of the flavour of an old-style ski lodge. Don’t come here expecting luxury, but if you are looking for a relaxed lodge that won't break the bank, it could be a good choice.
- Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
- Ideal length of stay
- Four nights/three full days is a good amount of time to spend in this area, although that will depend on how many times you would like to visit the mountain gorillas.
- From Kigali you will drive north for around 2-3 hours to reach the Volcanoes National Park. Mountain Gorilla View is about a 15-minute drive from the park headquarters.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- On our last visit the food at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge was certainly tasty, and the portion sizes were substantial, but do not expect haute cuisine. Depending on the occupancy, dining can be either a buffet or à la carte.
We enjoyed a breakfast buffet which included a range of breads, fruit and cereal. There were also a number of hot dishes as well as an egg station with eggs cooked to order.
For lunch we chose from an à la carte menu. Our tasty vegetable quiche was served with potato croquettes, buttered carrots, green beans and a side salad; this was followed by a large slice of apple pie and ice cream.
Dinner consisted of a three-course buffet. We started with pumpkin soup, then for our main course we had grilled chicken accompanied by rice and a traditional Rwandan vegetable stew. The selection of tempting puddings included small cakes, tropical fruit and chocolate profiteroles.
We were a little unimpressed with the wine, which appeared to come from a box rather than a bottle.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Room service can be arranged in advance.
- Drinks included
- One soft drink per meal is included. Additional drinks cost from around 2,000 Rwandan francs (US$2.5) for a soft drink, to around 5,000 Rwandan francs (US$6) for a glass of wine.
Bottled water is provided.
- Cultural experiences
- Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has strong ties with the surrounding communities and supports a local 'Intore' dance troop who perform at the lodge each afternoon. The word 'Intore' means warrior and bands of sisal on headbands portray dancers as fearsome lions.
- See ideas for Cultural experiences
- Gorilla Mountain View Lodge, close to Volcanoes National Park, is a good-value base from which to take guided walks into the park's rainforests to see the golden monkeys and the mountain gorillas.
- See ideas for Walking
- Attitude towards children
- Children of all ages are welcome at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Children need to be over the age of 15 in order to trek to see the mountain gorillas.
- Cots are available on request.
- Generally recommended for children
- Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is fine for children, but note that they need to be over the age of 15 in order to trek to see the mountain gorillas.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Mountain Gorilla View
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge 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
- On our last visit, there were frequent power cuts, so the lodge is still fairly reliant on their back-up generator.
- Wi-Fi is available in the central area. We understand that there are plans to install telephones in all the cottages, but these were not in place at the time of our last visit.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The bathrooms in all cottages are fully plumbed.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Staff have first-aid training, and there is a hospital in Musanze which is a 20-minute drive away.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Security measures
- Security guards patrol the property 24 hours a day.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the central areas, and there is one fire hose for every three cottages.
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is available at an additional cost of around 1,500 Rwandan francs (US$2) per item.
- There is an electronic safe in the main office, which we advise that guests use.
- Accepted payment on location
- Mountain Gorilla View Lodge accepts cash payments in US dollars, euros and Rwandan francs. They also accept Mastercard and Visa, but not accept American Express.
Other lodges in Volcanoes National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
In a fine location close to Volcanoes National Park, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a very comfortable lodge with wonderful views.
Virunga Lodge is a consciously environmental lodge in a stunning location, about an hour's drive from Volcanoes National Park headquarters.
Gorilla's Nest is a very high-end lodge in a great location near the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, from where all gorilla trips start.
The exclusive and luxurious Bisate Lodge, close to Volcanoes National Park, is one of the best places to stay in the area.
In the town of Musanze, a half-hour drive from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, Bishop's House is well placed for gorilla trekking.
Close to the edge of Volcanoes National Park, the luxurious Kwitonda Lodge opened in 2019. Ask your Expert Africa specialist for the latest news.
Tiloreza Eco Lodge
Five Volcanoes offers mid-range hotel accommodation around 15 minutes' drive from Volcanoes National Park headquarters.