The lodge is only minutes away from the headquarters of the Volcanoes National Park from where guests trek on foot to see the magnificent mountain gorilla – perhaps one of the most dramatic, thrilling and poignant wildlife experiences possible.
Accommodation at Wilderness Sabyinyo comprises six double cottages, two suites and one family unit. All are stone buildings with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs, and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish en-suite bathrooms.
INSIDER’S TIP: Wilderness Sabyinyo is Rwanda’s first ever community owned lodge. The lodge is operated by Wilderness, however, the ownership rests with a Community Trust, SACOLA (Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association) which uses rentals and community fees from the lodge to drive socio-economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the national park.
Wilderness Sabyinyo Photo Gallery
Wilderness Sabyinyo Rooms
The Wilderness Sabyinyo has 9 rooms. Select a room for more details.
Sabyinyo has six charming cottages with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs. Each has a spacious sitting area, a fireplace and extra-roomy en-suite bathroom.
Space heaters by the beds supplement the log fire, to create a haven of warmth. Outdoors, a spacious veranda invites you to relax and enjoy the bird-filled gardens.
Sabyinyo has one spacious family cottage with the same traditional Rwandese terracotta tile roofs.
The cottage offers two separate bedrooms, each with its own en-suite facilities. Families can enjoy breakfast outdoors on the shared veranda, and cosy up in the evenings around the inviting fireplace in the large sitting area.
Please note, the family cottage is more suitable for older children, as the two individual bedrooms are not interlinked. For families with younger children, we recommend one parent sleeps with the younger child/children.
Sabyinyo offers two extra-spacious luxury suites. Each features an expansive sitting area, two verandas with impressive views and en-suite bathroom (shower and bath).
Log fires are lit every night, and space heaters beside the large king-sized, four-poster bed adds warmth and ambiance. The suites are perfect for couples and honeymooners.
Please note it’s not possible to create two separate single beds.
Internet Access (Complimentary)
Laundry Service (Complimentary)
Mini Bar (Complimentary)
Pure Cotton Linen
Tea / Coffee
Activities offered by Wilderness Sabyinyo
Wilderness Sabyinyo Videos
More about Wilderness Sabyinyo
The legendary Virunga Mountains in north-western Rwanda are home to volcanoes, swathes of cloud forest and half the world’s total population of Endangered mountain gorillas. The primates of Rwanda are unparalleled, and Wilderness Sabyinyo is the perfect base for mountain gorilla trekking.
This thrilling excursion takes place from Volcanoes National Park headquarters, where guests are allocated to one of the 12 habituated gorilla families for an awe-inspiring one-hour encounter.
* Park fees are not included and are at extra cost.
Golden Monkey Trekking
Enjoy a short trek to view this beautiful primate, which is endemic to the area and lives in groups of between 30 to 80 individuals in the Park’s bamboo forest.
* Park fees are not included and are at extra cost.
Guided Cultural Walks
At Sabyinyo you can get up close to the stories of the land on a guided community walk, which offers fascinating insights into Rwandan rural life, as well as a glimpse into the struggles of the past.
Guests will learn how crops are grown, how milling and processing is done by hand, and learn more about how traditional medicines are used.
Rwandan dancing, an integral part of today’s culture, will be part of this fascinating cultural tour, which is one to three hours long.
Guided Birdwatching Walks
Birding with a knowledgeable Wilderness guide at Sabyinyo is a truly enriching experience.
Sabyinyo extends across seven hectares (about 17 acres) and is a haven for over 40 bird species that do not otherwise easily thrive in the surrounding agricultural plots, where natural shelter is rare and human disturbance is high.
Guests are welcome to enjoy the nature trails on their own (armed with a good pair of binoculars), or are invited to enquire about our guided walks.
Visit Sabyinyo Village
While staying at Wilderness Sabyinyo, we recommend enjoying a guided community walk, which offers fascinating insight into Rwandan rural life today, as well as a glimpse into life in the historical past.
An enriching experience, guests are invited to understand the agricultural lifestyle of Rwanda, including how crops are grown, how milling and processing is done by hand, traditional medicines, as well as enjoying the frenetic activity of traditional Rwandan dancing, which is an aspect of the culture still very alive today.
A walk may range in duration between one to three hours.
Gorilla Guardian Village
The Gorilla Guardian Village is located about 15 minutes drive from Wilderness Sabyinyo and is an interesting cultural excursion. The village convinced ex-poachers to turn their back on poaching and instead showcase their customs and heritage.
Visiting the village guests can discover the traditional house of a local king, watch an authentic medicine man prepare herbal mixtures, try their hand at bow and arrow shooting, or enjoy cultural dances and drumming performed by people from the local area.
Trek To Dian Fossey Research Camp & Grave
A visit to Dian Fossey’s research camp, Karisoke, and her grave, is another highlight at Sabyinyo.
The trek starts from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, and is located in the saddle area between two volcanoes, Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke (from which the name Karisoke is derived).
The camp site sits at an altitude of 3 000 metres (over 9 000 feet.) and was abandoned during the unrest of the 1990s. All that remains today is the grave of Dian Fossey and several graves of her beloved gorillas, buried alongside her. A poignant and cherished moment for all who visit.
Trip To Twin Lakes
A visit to see Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo is a must on any itinerary. Located between Musanze and the Ugandan border, the Twin Lakes offer magnificent views over the Virunga Volcanoes, while the surrounding hills create a picture-perfect frame around the deep blue waters.
Guests can take a gentle walk around one of the lakes, and enjoy wonderful birding. However, due to the steep nature of the landscape, it is often preferable to drive up the small track leading to a lodge tucked away at the top of the hill: the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing drink and soak up the glorious vistas.
The Twin Lakes are 45 minutes by car from Sabyinyo, and are reached via a good tarmac road south to Musanze, and then back north towards Cyanika, or via a narrow but picturesque dirt road that follows the contours of the mountain.
The lakeside resort of Gisenyi makes for a wonderful contrast to the high altitude of the Virunga Volcanoes. Located 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Sabyinyo (two hours by car) Lake Kivu offers a relaxing day out.
Stroll along the sandy beach on the lakeshore, and take a refreshing swim in the cool waters, followed by a refreshing drink at one of the quaint cafes along the palm-tree fringed lakeside promenade.
The mild tropical climate adds to the springtime mood, which not even the imposing Nyiarongo Volcano can dampen.
Guests will also enjoy strolling past the hotels, mansions and lush gardens that echo its opulent past.
Local markets are the lifeblood of any town and Musanze market is a prime example. A bustling place full of local character and virtually everything you may need under the sun.
Found in Musanze town (formerly known as Ruhengeri) it is the most important town in Rwanda’s Northern Province and in the Volcanoes area. It serves as the area’s administrative, commercial and service capital.
You can also find all sorts of interesting souvenirs and handicrafts, and a wide range of traditional Kitenge fabric.
Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village Eexperience
Enjoy a guided walk to Iby’Iwacu cultural village either on foot (a one hour downhill walk from Sabyinyo) or by car, a 15-minute drive).
Here you’ll learn the fascinating story of how one village convinced ex-poachers to turn their backs on poaching. Visit the traditional residence of a local king, watch an authentic medicine man prepare herbal mixtures, and try your hand at bow-and-arrow shooting.
Cultural dances and drumming performances are also on offer.
The guided walk takes around an hour and guests are free to take photographs. It is customary to leave a tip of USD 20.00.
The Ellen DeGeneres Campus Of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
Another very rewarding outing is a visit to the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International was established in 1967 to protect and study gorillas and their habitat, as well as to empower the people in the community.
With a team of hundreds working in Rwanda and the DRC, the Fossey Fund is the world’s longest-running and largest organisation dedicated entirely to gorilla conservation.
In 2022, the organisation moved to its first permanent, purpose-built home, the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Nestled in a beautiful, reforested landscape near Volcanoes National Park, why not add this to your itinerary. Here you can stop in for a tour, grab a cup of coffee at the Gorilla Café, browse the gift shop and learn more about the gorillas and the important work done to help conserve them.
* The visit is an additional cost per person in USD and are subject to change without prior notification.
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