Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
40 cottages
Traveller's rating
Good (88%) From 78 reviews
Children
Fine for children of all ages
Open
All year

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, previously called Gorilla Mountain View Lodge, is located on the slopes of Rwanda’s Mount Sabyinyo. A good mid-range hotel set in spacious grounds, it has beautiful views of the surrounding volcanoes 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 pretend to offer high-end luxury, they are all very comfortable with good food and friendly service.

The lodge appears to have undergone multiple changes over the past few years, including construction of ten 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 pretty 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 May 2017 we were pleased to see new wooden laminate flooring here. Each of the cottages has a fire that will be lit for you in the evenings; a big plus as it can get cold at this altitude. The en-suite bathroom is fully plumbed and comes with a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries.

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 fire pit 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.

Our view

We really like Mountain Gorilla View Lodge. It is a very comfortable hotel with spacious cottages, friendly staff and a great location. Don’t come here expecting luxury, but if you are looking for a relaxed lodge that shouldn’t break the bank, it could be a good choice.

Geographics

Location: 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.

Directions: From Kigali you will drive north for around 2-3 hours to reach the Volcanoes National Park. Mountain Gorilla View is about a 20-minute drive from the park headquarters.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: On our last visit in 2017, 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

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

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.

Further dining info: Room service can be arranged in advance.

Special interests

Walking: 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 more ideas for Walking in Rwanda

Children

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.

Equipment: Cots are available on request.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: On our last visit, there were frequent power cuts, so the lodge is still fairly reliant on their back-up generator.

Communications: 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: Mains

Water supply notes: The bathrooms in all cottages are fully plumbed.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Staff have first-aid training, and there is a hospital in Ruhengeri 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.

Extras

Disabled access: In Place

Laundry facilities: Laundry is available at an additional cost of around 1,500 Rwandan francs (US$2) per item.

Money: 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.

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