Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Rwanda
Few places embody their surroundings more so than Singita Kwitonda Lodge. Right on the fringes of Volcanoes National Park, Kwitonda is epically overlooked by Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura, a trio of volcanoes cloaked in clouds. The lodge itself has been fashioned by materials from the very landscape it’s encased within – the buildings are constructed from local bricks and river stones, the pathways made from volcanic rock and ferns, trees, mountain bamboo and huge lobelias have planted with the vision they’ll naturally consume the suites and villas. The very name of the lodge is a nod to its location, with Kwitonda named after a late mountain gorilla who once roamed the steamy jungles of the national park. The location of Kwitonda Lodge makes it an ideal base for trekking with the gorillas, as well as exploring everything else this incredible wilderness has to offer. With it being a Singita property, conservation is at the heart of everything at Kwitonda, hence the locally sourced materials, and the lodge works closely with nearby communities to safeguard the future of this stunning slice of nature. A hybrid solar system also powers the resort and a tree nursery, Akarabo, has been established to help offset previous deforestation which occurred in the area.
Charmingly boutique with only nine rooms – seven one-bedroom suites, one two-bedroom suite and a four-bedroom villa – you’ll feel like you’re the only lucky souls to be enjoying this landscape. Wraparound floor-to-ceiling windows mean these volcanic vistas don’t escape your glance no matter you’re in your suite or out. The suites themselves are authentically Rwandan in design, adorned with tribal pastels, reclaimed timber and black granite and decorated with traditional Rwandan ornaments and art. The spacious verandas come with a sheltered fire pit for when it gets chilly and a private heated pool.
Like the rest of the lodge, the food at Kwitonda has a distinctly local feel to it. There’s an organic garden onsite growing traditional Rwandan herbs and vegetables, which are the picked and heavily utilised in the meals cooked for you in the lodge. Picnics can also be provided if you’re out exploring the national park on a hike or excursion, while Kwitonda’s Lounge Bar and pretty area make for great places for a glass of wine (supplied by the lodge’s well-stocked wine cellar) at sunset.
Anyone visiting Volcanoes National Park has gorilla trekking firmly in their sights and, given its location just on the edge of the park, Kwitonda makes it easy to arrange and will help you secure the required permits, too. The park’s guides will lead into the rainforest, where you’ll be hunting for a troop of mountain gorillas. You’ll be able to spend one hour in their company, observing their behaviours and being utterly entranced by them. We’re sure you’ll find it one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life. There’s more to do in Volcanoes National Park besides gorilla trekking, though. The park’s population of golden monkeys are just as fascinating and dedicated walks into the hills afford you chances to see them foraging or catapulting from tree to tree. There’s plenty of other guided hikes Kwitonda offers as well, including trekking to legendary conservationist Dian Fossey’s grave, visiting the Musanze Caves and walking to the crater lake atop Mount Bisoke. Village visits are also important ways of giving back to the local community. Watch traditional dancing, try making pottery and taste banana beer in Iby’iwacu, and learn how to carve gorilla-trekking sticks with village crafters in Gasura.
A day hiking to see the gorillas can really takes its toll, especially if you have to head very deep into the jungle to see them. Kwitonda Lodge offers an impressive range of massages and treatments, all with African ingredients and traditions at their heart, which you can enjoy within the privacy of your suite or out in the open air of your veranda.
Where is Singita Kwitonda Lodge?
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