The Nyungwe Forest Lodge, which lies on the edge of the pristine Nyungwe National Forest in Rwanda, is a refuge for peace and relaxation when traveling to see the area’s chimpanzee population. The glass, metal and wood structures, built throughout a picturesque tea plantation, call you at first sight to set-up shop here and unwind in utter desolation. But, desolation does not mean discomfort. The luxuriously appointed private bungalows, serene infinity pool and expertly prepared cuisine are enough to lull you into a comatose state of being, with a crystal clear mind free to enjoy all of nature’s splendors that surround you.
Located in Gisakura, a spec of a town in Rwanda’s southwestern region, the Nyungwe Forest Lodge was built to offer discerning travelers an outpost to base themselves while taking-in the beauty and treasures of the forest. Gentle hills roll calmly throughout the property and villagers, dressed in colorful native prints, can be seen in the mornings through the mist, plucking chartreuse-colored tea leaves from bushes and placing them, one by one, in straw baskets at their back.
The 22 private bungalows at Nyungwe Forest Lodge, including two presidential suites with en-suite jacuzzis, blend harmoniously with the forest around them – their black wood exteriors referencing the color of the bark found on trees in the area. Inside, rooms have been decorated to a tee using local and international pieces found by the hotel’s designers. Plush beds, dressed in white, offer a refuge after a long day’s trek. Creature comforts like Wi-Fi, flat screen televisions with a plethora of cable channels, mini bar, tea and coffee, spacious bathrooms and private decks with vistas over the forest make the bungalow feel like a little slice of heaven.
Dining at the Nyungwe Forest Lodge is an experience in itself. Inside the lodge’s main quarters at the top of a hill, you will find an open and light space punctuated with stunning furniture and local crafts – speaking loudly to any design enthusiast in its realm. A roaring fireplace is at the center of the room and warms the space when mornings and evenings dip in temperature. A full range of local and international dishes are available in the dining room for all meals offered. Each meal prepared is as beautiful as it is delicious – details like an extensive wine list and a property-grown tea and coffee experience elevate the stay dramatically.
Peering through the glass, whether in the property’s main lodge or in your own quiet bungalow, it’s easy to see why this region of Rwanda is one of Africa’s most treasured and protected. In our busy lives, it is essential to find a place to quiet down, realign and reset yourself. For me, the Nyungwe Forest Lodge is the perfect place to do this. The environment that surrounds you paired with the commitment of the hotel to offer a sustainable, luxurious and eco-friendly stay makes for the perfect travel experience.