Base Camp

Only eight cottages comprise the lodgings of Sabyinyo, so the experience feels exclusive.     Photo: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Rwanda's Mountain-Misted Jungle Paradise

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a naturalist's heaven in Volcanoes National Park

For fans of extra-large primates, there’s arguably no more coveted experience than viewing a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. If you fall into this camp, consider a bucket-list trek to the upscale Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in Rwanda’s northwest Volcanoes National Park—a mountainous, jungle-covered area made famous by the late naturalist Dian Fossey and her mountain gorilla pals.

Today, Rwanda is home to about 400 of the endangered apes, with another 400 to 600 spread between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Volcanoes National Park is home to five of the eight Virunga Mountain volcanoes.   Photo: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Sabyinyo’s eight stone cottages sit in the foothills of the Virunga Mountain range and just two miles from park headquarters. Each is decked out with a terracotta roof, fireplace, a spa-like bathroom, and sheltered veranda. You’ll find a restaurant and lounge in the main lodge, as well as an information center and small shop. In case you’re concerned about where your Rwandan francs are going, know that Sabyinyo isn’t just some fancy pet project for outsider investors. The lodge is owned by an area community trust that funnels some of its profits into local conservation and socioeconomic initiatives.

Relax on a private sheltered veranda after a day of exploring the bamboo-covered rainforest.   Photo: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

The Details: Sabyinyo is a two-hour drive from the Rwandan capital of Kigali. Room rates vary depending on the season—right now, they range from $775 to $970 per person per night. Only 80 visitors per day are allowed in the park, so make your reservation early and be prepared to buy a $750 permit for the gorilla hike.

The cottages of Sabyinyo provide guests with quiet luxury.   Photo: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

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