Rwanda’s rare gorillas and lava-spouting giants become the star of this upscale resort
Deep inside the forested lands of Rwanda, where a necklace of volcanoes sit on a 170-acre expanse, is a luxurious sanctuary of a rare kind, gloriously packed with Africa’s magnanimous gifts. From August to December 2019, with a reprise on January 6 to December 14 the consequent year, African hospitality brand Singita offers an indulgent stay with a classic safari twist: gorilla trekking in East Africa, with lodging at its Volcanoes National Park venues.
Two supremely opulent lodges become the highlight of this event: first, the Kwitonda Lodge, a newly opened retreat within the meadowed thicket of forested landscape, beautifully constructed out of the local’s abundant resources. Kataza House is the second; an exclusive villa perched on the edge of Rwanda’s volcanic chain—a sanctuary home to a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas thriving in secrecy. Inside the villa is a stone-wrought majesty, with a classic Tudorian concept filled with exceptional furniture, but the real wonder is found outside: The Volcanoes National Park—grandiose rocks constructed by the hand of God, where eight apex kiss the clouds and the sun radiantly glows in between.
The entrance itself is nothing less than remarkable: moulded figures of Africa’s gentle giants are sculpted by the gate. This is, perhaps, to echo the community’s desire to help preserve the pristine surroundings not just for visual landscape, but for the sake of the flora and fauna that thrives inside it. Lush rare bamboo species deck its humid slopes, while meadows and grasslands are covered with stunning varieties of ferns, lobelia, and lichens. Deep inside the park dwells over 300 mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, rare forest elephants, woodland warblers and buffalos, among others.
Keeping these animals alive was no easy feat. Passing through eras of war and habitat destruction, the Volcanoes National Park only managed to escape from the grasp of poachers in 1925—at the time when all hope seems lost at recovering the rare gorilla species. Through painstaking efforts, the remaining lands were preserved and protected; the fight for conservation however is still alive.
It is in the harmony of ecology and luxury where Singita flourishes. Collaborating with One Planet Living, Singita etches a mark of sustainability to its belt, with the goal of conserving water, resources and minimising waste on both Kwitonda Lodge and Katasa House—a philosophy evident in its other lodges as well. Locals have been enthusiastic with such practices as employment and skill developing opportunities uplifts the community. In Akarabo, Singita has planting hundreds of thousands of saplings in a bid to reverse the tide of deforestation. The brand also joins hands with preservationists that carry the same ethos so as to ensure that Africa’s gentle giants not just survive but thrive for the coming generations. www.singita.com ◼
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© This article was first published online in Sept 2019 – World Travel Magazine.