The Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is the most luxurious lodge in this area.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge: Our full report
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is the sister-camp to the well-known Governors' camps in Kenya's Maasai Mara, although it is technically owned by the community trust SACOLA. Just a 20-minute drive from the national park headquarters, it is currently the most luxurious lodge in the area.
Sabyinyo Silverback is situated in the foothills of the volcanic Virungas chain, on the edge of the Parc National des Volcans – known more commonly as the Volcanoes National Park – in north-western Rwanda. The lodge is set at approximately 2,150m, offering spectacular views of the mountains and the surrounding countryside.
Named after one of the extinct volcanoes in the Virunga Range (Sabyinyo being derived from the Kinyarwanda word ‘iryinyo’, meaning ‘tooth’), the lodge sits in the foothills of its namesake volcano and counterparts.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge has six cottages, two suites and one family cottage. Each of the en-suite rooms comes equipped with large beds (complete with very snug bedding), a dressing room, a private veranda, and a large sitting room with a fireplace for cooler evenings. The bathrooms have plenty of space, with double basins, flushing toilets, hot showers and a separate bath.
The family cottage at Sabyinyo Silverback is built to a similar style, and has two spacious en-suite bedrooms, connected by a shared veranda.
Set in landscaped gardens, the lodge’s buildings are made from local stone and with terracotta roof tiles, creating a contemporary Rwandan ambience and blending in well with the local surroundings.
The main area at Silverback Lodge offers the opportunity to relax with both the bar and the dining room affording great views from the outdoor decks. There is a library, a games room and a comfortable sitting room, leading out to patio areas, which also have stunning views across to the Virungas. A well-equipped shop is also located within the main lodge building, for any extras you may need.
Meals can be taken in the dining room, either inside, where there are fireplaces for the colder months, or on the outside decks during warmer weather. Alternatively there is limited room service, so you can choose to dine on your balcony, to make the most of the views.
The high-quality service at Sabyinyo Silverback is made even more comfortable with the addition of plenty of personal touches, from your boots being cleaned upon arriving back from a trek, to hot water bottles tucked into the beds on colder evenings.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge also has a long-standing interest in the local community - the lodge itself is owned by the community trust SACOLA (Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association).
SACOLA was created in 2004 and the support and income it receives from the lodge go directly to building conservation initiatives in the Kinigi area and the surrounding Volcanoes National Park. It’s also the main drive behind the socio-economic development in the area, and has initiated projects ranging from constructing villages for genocide survivors to creating vegetable gardens for community farming projects.
The lodge has an excellent community awareness centre, offering more information on SACOLA, and advice on the area, its gorillas and Rwanda's development since its troubled history.
However, the main reason for visiting Sabyinyo Lodge is to see the mountain gorillas. The Virunga mountain range spans Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (see our Map of Rwanda). The Volcanoes National Park, on the Rwandan side, is lucky to have more than half of the world's mountain gorillas; we think this is probably the best place in Africa to see them.
There are ten habituated families of gorillas that are generally visited; each family has from seven to about thirty-five individuals. The treks range from short hikes to more strenuous treks, and is likely to be an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. Recognising that guests’ travelling across Africa may have restricted luggage allowances, the lodge can provide gloves, gaiters, waterproofs and backpacks if needed. See our information on Gorilla trekking safaris for more information on the gorilla treks.
While mountain gorillas are the main draw, this area of Rwanda offers many more species of game for viewing. Rwanda has about 650 species of birds, and although spotting them in dense vegetation can sometimes prove difficult. Sabyinyo’s 17-acre property is a haven for many species; over 40 species of birds, including some endemic to the surrounding forests, have been seen around the lodge. Escorted bird walks with a local ornithologist are available for an additional cost.
The lodge’s activity centre is able to arrange cultural visits to the local villages and markets, mountain bike excursions, plus a variety of other treks throughout the surrounding area. These range from shorter hikes to Lake Ngezi, and surrounding forest areas, to much tougher treks to the site of Dian Fossey’s research camp, and to many of the summits and crater lakes of the Virunga range. For those wishing to just relax after a day of trekking, the lodge also offers rejuvenating massage treatments.
Our viewSabyinyo Silverback is a traditional yet luxurious lodge in a stunning location. As well as creature comforts, you’ll find plenty of personal touches here, a strong focus on community and conservation initiatives and some very high-quality service. This is a great lodge not only from which to trek to the gorillas, but to enjoy the scenery and many other activities on offer.
Directions: Fly to Rwanda's capital, Kigali, where you'll be met for your road transfer to Sabyinyo, which takes approximately two hours.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Wildlife safaris: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge offers the chance to visit Rwanda's world famous mountain gorillas without sacrificing any luxuries. The lodge is just outside the Volcanoes National Park and as such is a good base for gorilla trekking.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Rwanda
Walking: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is the most luxurious lodge in the area, with seven cottages and two suites. Only a 20-minute drive from the Volcanoes National Park, it’s a convenient and very comfortable lodge from where you can go on a variety of escorted walks.See more ideas for Walking in Rwanda
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome, with a 2-bedroom cottage specially designed for families.
Property’s age restrictions: Whilst younger children are welcome at the lodge, note that children under the age of 15 are not permitted to trek to visit the gorillas.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: The lodge is not connected to mains electricity, as it has been designed to have as small a carbon footprint as possible. The generators run for approximately 6 hours per day, and inverter systems provide power to the guest rooms for the remaining time. High power appliances should only be used when the generator is running.
Communications: Cell phone reception is limited, but complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout. Telephone, fax and email are all available at the lodge reception.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Daily laundry services are included.