One&Only Gorilla’s Nest
Treehouse, Luxurious, Family-friendly
Volcanoes National Park, Kinigi Rwanda 250 221 011 111 oneandonlyresorts.com/gorillas-nest
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At a Glance
Rwanda’s first full-scale resort in Kinigi, a few minute’s drive to Volcanoes National Park, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest combines a perfect base for gorilla-trekking with all of the amenities of a five-star.
- The on-site Kitenge fashion house, where you can order custom clothes in traditional prints
- The way community projects are woven into the guest experience, including turndown gifts made by women’s cooperatives and evening performances by local dance troupes
- The innovative cuisine that highlights local ingredients and traditions with gourmet flair
In a eucalyptus forest that was formerly the property and hotel of legendary zoo keeper Jack Hanna, Gorilla’s Nest, which opened in 2019, brings a full-scale resort option to Rwanda’s vast 40,000-acre Volcanoes National Park area. From the central lodge (“the nest,”) where a large fireplace surrounded by African artifacts faces an all-day café, guests are ushered into a luxurious but laid-back haven. The aesthetic throughout is modern and sophisticated and incorporates an earthy color palette to match the surrounding landscape, along with volcanic stone and black-and-white imigongo patterns, combining One&Only pampering with a deep respect for Rwanda’s unique traditions.
Winding paths through the forest and expansive rose gardens lead from the central lodge area and its neighboring restaurants, spa and pool facility to 21 modern bungalows and villas. Like contemporary treehouses on stilts, the bungalows celebrate 21st-century comforts and local crafts in details like mini-bars with beaded handles similar to those on the carved walking sticks supplied in each room. Virunga Suites have spacious living and dining areas with private decks, gas fireplaces and outdoor bathtubs set high in the trees for privacy.
There’s a library and games room, and books on the region and the endangered mountain gorillas will prepare guests focused on trekking; gaiters, backpacks and snack packs are also provided. But this is not just a base for adventure-trekking, and those in search of rest and relaxation in an equatorial setting have lots of activities to choose from, including hiking, biking, archery and designing clothes from local kitenge fabrics. There are also multiple restaurants, including the pool bar, serving meals made from organic ingredients sourced locally and from the chef’s own garden on-property. An added bonus is the spa, which offers holistic treatments that draw their inspiration from local traditions (and eucalyptus and rose water from the forest), plus, the fitness center, steam room, sauna and yoga. The resort presents talks on conservation, as well as cooking classes, coffee tastings with a local female-run cooperative and can arrange visits for guests to the local community so they can see the work of local artisans, basket weaving and more. Gorilla’s Nest is two-and-a-half hours from Kigali by car, or just 25 minutes by helicopter—the more breathtaking option—with aerial volcano views along the way.
Who Should Stay
Families of all ages, because even children too young for gorilla-trekking (those under 15) or grandparents, who may choose to forego the experience, will be well entertained here with a full menu of resort activities and services, including on-site babysitting, biking and archery classes.
Who Should Not Stay
Someone looking for a rustic or communal safari camp experience.