One&Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Forest National Park

Shrouded in mist, One&Only Nyungwe House emerges as a blissful sanctuary in the Rwandan hillsides. Surrounded by ancient forest on one side and a working tea plantation on the other, Nyungwe House is not an invitation to switch off; rather, it is one to connect. From the 22 treetop rooms and suites, 13 hiking trails extend out into the distance to cover 130km of forest. So before you put your feet up, stretch your legs. As the playful monkeys that you’ve no doubt come to see cavort overhead and rare birdlife flutters by, you’ll have discovered a place of such magnificent proportions and ecological importance that you can’t help but be left feeling small – in the best imaginable way.

Location

South of Lake Kivu, sitting snug against the Burundi border, Nyungwe Forest National Park is Rwanda’s original national park – and arguably its most important. Home to 13 different species of monkey and a hooting 20% of all Africa’s apes, the opportunity to trek alongside these charismatic primates is one not to be missed. But neighbouring Gisakura tea plantation, time must also be allowed to get to know Rwanda’s chief export. Learn all there is to know about tea with a visit to the plantation, a signature tea ceremony and a one of a kind dining experience in the heart of the tea fields. It’s a long but scenic five-hour drive from Kigali, or alternatively a 30-minute hop by helicopter or a 45-minute drive from the local domestic airport at Kamembe.

Your Room

Skimming the treetops, the 22 rooms and suites of One&Only Nyungwe House have the effect of leaving you to feel utterly secluded in beautifully untamed surroundings. The design of each and every one celebrates Rwanda’s natural beauty with a demure colour scheme, regional curios and views that frame the rainforest – even from the walk-in shower. Connecting you to the beauty and power of Nyungwe, spend some time out on your private terrace and tune into the different melodies of the day, from the mangabey monkeys by morning to the turaco birds by night. Back inside, four-poster birds and wood-burning stoves offer ideal respite from the elements.

Why we like it

There is a genuine warmth to One&Only Nyungwe House that makes it feel like home. Staff not only know you by name here, but they know your favourite gin, what time you like tea in the morning – and how you like it. Thoughtful touches ensure that your stay is entirely unique. Romantic picnics are set up on a secluded hillside, constellations are mapped through the forest canopy, secrets of local sports of archery and spear throwing are shared. A stay at One&Only Nyungwe House is yours and yours alone.

Sustainability

Community forms an integral part of Rwandan culture and nowhere showcases this quite like One&Only Nyungwe House. Time your stay for the last Saturday of the month and relish the opportunity to take part in Umuganda. Translating as ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome’, this series of community initiatives has come to form an important pillar in local life. Whether helping to plant trees or built schools, taking park in Umuganda offers a chance to connect and give back like no other.