Sabyinyo Silverback is a glorious, comfortable, cosy bush lodge that makes a fantastic base for gorilla trekking in Rwanda. You shouldn’t come here expecting ultra-fast wifi and hot and cold running waiters, rather, a fantastic location close to the entrance to Volcanoes National Park and a sweet, welcoming team of staff who’ll cheerfully lend a hand when you struggle to remove your boots after a long day on the mountain.
What’s Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge really like?
As you might expect in the Land of a Thousand Hills, it’s certainly a steep walk up from the car park to the lodge- it certainly came as a surprise to us when we first encountered it (though fear not, there is a golf buggy available for a more gentle option), but this is just a drop in the ocean for anyone who’s come to Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking so we don’t expect it to pose too much of a challenge. When you make it to the top you’ll find Sabyinyo’s main homestead. Outside there are glorious views from the terrace, and inside there’s a cosy lounge where you can curl up in a sofa during evening drinks, a community information centre and a dining room. Meals are friendly and we rated the food as amongst some of the best we ate in Rwanda. You’ll also be provided with a snack pack to take out with you on your gorilla trek days (tip from us- if you’re serious hikers, consider bringing some energy bars with you- it’s astonishing how much you’ll need if you’re on one of the longer hikes). From the main house, pathways lead on to five ochre-coloured cottages, the two suites which are a touch larger and have a slightly better location and a family suite which has an extra bedroom and bathroom. The cottages all have their own bathroom and fire places for chilly mountain nights (even so, we’d recommend packing a cosy pair of pjs- it gets cold up here!)
What can I do at Sabyinyo?
Most guests come to Sabyinyo for the gorilla trekking, almost all will spend at least a day doing this, sometimes two, which we’d absolutely recommend if your budget extends this far. It’s also possible to do a warm-up trek to visit the golden monkeys, take in the pretty scenery at the nearby twin lakes, hike to Dian Fossey’s grave or join a guided community walk for an insight into Rwandan rural life. For those with a particular interest in gorillas we can also arrange access to the Gorilla Doctors centre and an insight into the amazing work they do to protect these great apes. For those after even more excercise, there are four mountain bikes available to explore the local area with a guide but be aware that the local area is known for its hilly terrain!
Giving back at Sabyinyo: The owners of Sabyinyo Silverback have long demonstrated a commitment to eco-tourism in their sister properties in Kenya, and this continues in Rwanda. The land the lodge is built on is leased from the local community, and a community trust has to date received over $500,000 from the lodge for development projects, including building a local school and roads, houses for refugees, two model villages and clean water projects to mention just a few. We’re running out of space to write more here, but safe to say that the team at Sabyinyo are committed in a very real way to ensuring the impact of your stay in Rwanda is a positive one, and if you’re interested in more details, please just ask us, we could continue on for hours!
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