A magical morning with gorillas in Rwanda's volcanoes


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Wilderness Blogger


Abundant wildlife, a community-inspired luxury lodge, lush gardens and cinematic views of the surrounding volcanoes come together to make a stay at Wilderness Sabyinyo a feast for the senses, and an exceptional experience in Rwanda.


No two days are ever the same, but some days are more special than others, as Wilderness Sabyinyo guests and staff found out earlier in March.

A once in-a-lifetime experience with gorillas

Picture this, you're staying at Wilderness Sabyinyo on the lower slopes of the volcanoes in Rwanda’s Northern Province. Against the dramatic backdrop of Mount Sabyinyo, its namesake lodge nestles into the slopes of the Virunga Massif, with expansive views over Rwanda’s volcanoes. You've spent the morning trekking through the forests to spend a precious hour with the majestic mountain gorilla.
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You’ve just stepped out of your room for a spot of lunch and you’re wondering what delicious meal you’ll be treated to this afternoon, when suddenly, something huge steps out onto the path right ahead of you. One of Rwanda’s endangered mountain gorillas, standing five feet away.


In fact, the whole family of the Hirwa group paid a special visit recently to Wilderness Sabyinyo. Our guests and staff were treated to an extraordinary sighting with the family when they wandered right onto the property. The gorillas were spotted on Sabyinyo’s boundary 10 days before, but this time they came a little closer. As the name suggests, mountain gorillas tend to stick to Rwanda’s mountains, so their venturing onto the lodge grounds provided an exceptionally rare sighting.


The Hirwa family has several members, including a precious pair of baby twins. The name Hirwa means ‘lucky’ in Rwanda’s Kinyarwanda language, and these guests were lucky indeed. The group came right past the main area of the lodge and spent an hour with our guests before moving off back into the park.


This unprecedented, momentous occasion will be forever cherished by the guests and staff who got to see the gorillas up close. A magical moment in the volcanoes of Rwanda.

Wilderness Sabyinyo lodge Rwanda
Wilderness Sabyinyo Lodge Rwanda

A meaningful trip for mountain gorilla conservation

Sabyinyo is new to Wilderness; beautifully pristine, wild and authentic, it is a most welcome addition to the company’s offering in Rwanda. The quiet luxury of six stone cottages, two grand suites and a spacious family unit extend into the peaceful gardens and mountainous surrounds. 

Here, stories of the land, the wildlife, the people, come to life. Community and conservation go hand-in-hand; Rwanda’s mountain gorillas and Volcanoes National Park are the star attractions of Sabyinyo, the first community-owned lodge in the country. Pioneering Rwanda’s impactful mountain gorilla tourism, Sabyinyo encourages guests to engage with the community, and get involved in empowerment activities with SACOLA, the Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association.


If the gorillas aren’t tempted to come to you, the exceptional gorilla trekking rangers of Volcanoes National Park will carve out a precious opportunity to spend time with these magnificent creatures. It’s a heart-in-your-throat, never-to-be-forgotten-moment; whether they arrive at your doorstep or you trek through the jungle for hours, wherever you encounter them, time spent with gorillas is transformative.

Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.