January 2022

Singita Volcanoes National Park – connecting families & conservation

in Experience

Singita Volcanoes National Park – connecting families & conservation

The calm and contemplative energy of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park – its lush tranquil forests and sloping green hills – makes it one of the most nurturing regions in Africa. Here, Singita Kwitonda and Kataza House lie nestled adjacent to the iconic Volcanoes National Park. Offering guests a peaceful, enveloping space within which to contemplate their encounters with the remarkable “gentle giants of the forest”, the lodge and villa cocoon guests in a sanctuary of warmth, stillness and tranquillity. 

Engaging with your surroundings is a constant at Singita Volcanoes National Park - and even indoors, you're connected to this powerful landscape

Inspiring encounters in the wild 

This nurturing energy makes it an ideal place for families to gather and reconnect. Here, in addition to the beautiful spaces we've created, we hope that the successful conservation story of the area will serve as a source of inspiration for families, and especially children, and prompt them to become ambassadors for nature in the future.

One of only a few places on earth you can hike to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, Singita Volcanoes National Park is also one of the only lodges in such close proximity to the park, sharing 1.2km of its border and giving our guests seamless access to this wonderful wildlife privilege. 

Adjacent to Volcanoes National Park, our lodge and villa are the closest to the starting point of a gorilla trek, one of the most poignant encounters you can have in the wild

Guests to our lodge and villa in Rwanda won’t only have the opportunity to trek with gorillas while in the region however, but also the golden monkeys who call the lower reaches of the forest home. Only a 20-minute drive to the start of the trail, this activity is suitable for guests aged 12 and up, and allows for a magical hour of watching them interact, feed and play. Slightly less strenuous than the gorilla trekking the area is most known for, as the monkeys’ habitat is easier to reach, it makes for a pleasant and entertaining excursion, courtesy of the beautiful lush vegetation and playful antics of this beautiful creature, while contributing to their conservation.

Inspired by, and conceived to celebrate the setting, the lodge is designed to allow intimate connections with the landscape

A reminder of our relationship with nature

This purpose is woven into the design of the lodge and villa itself. Created in response to the dramatic setting, the spaces allude to the natural and cultural heritage of their location. A continuous acknowledgment of your link to nature – its beauty and ability to give life – is found throughout. 

Different areas in the lodge reinforce this intimate connection to the landscape and our commitment to the conservation of this fragile and precious ecosystem. An on-site nursery propagating indigenous plants and trees forms part of our reforestation project, while a vegetable garden serves as a healthy source of ingredients for the kitchen. These all emphasize for young guests the idea of conservation in daily action. 

The protection of this region is woven into every aspect of your stay with us - a constant reminder of our conservation purpose

Our dedicated Conservation Room tells the story of the primary purpose of this property. This interactive educational space is managed by Singita’s specialist conservationists and provides a unique perspective on endangered mountain gorillas and their habitat, and serves to celebrate and honour this species that calls the neighbouring forests home. A conservation wall – displaying the gorilla family trees and history, photographs, graphs, diagrams and maps, and a display of Bob Campbell artifacts housed in this room – all paint a picture of the rich history of the region's wildlife. By offering an educational element, we hope to inform and inspire in such a way that impacts on the future success of conservation efforts. 

MEET Charles Nsabimana, conservationist at Singita Volcanoes National Park. In addition to carrying out important conservation work at the property, Charles is also there to brief guests before they head out on gorilla and golden monkey treks

Activities that engage with the landscape 

Activites at Singita Volcanoes National Park are designed for varying age groups and are inspired by our desire to honour the setting. Guests can explore their surroundings in a variety of ways. A cycling excursion (with mountain bikes and helmets provided) will take you on a ride out of the main entrance, through villages and along picturesque farm roads. The length will vary depending on guests’ fitness, and one of Singita’s conservationists will guide you. 

Outdoor activities, ranging from biking past local villages and kayaking along the river, allow guests to immerse themselves in the culture and landscape of this beautiful country

Kayaking is another highly picturesque and rewarding way to enjoy the setting. With an option to start morning, midday or afternoon, guests will be on the water for about two and a half to three hours with the whole trip (from leaving Singita to return) lasting about five hours and beginning at the meeting point in Musanze (about 30 minutes from Singita) with coffee. The kayaking itself takes place on the Mukungwa River - one of the furthest tributaries of the upper Nile River. Whilst floating gently past the small traditional farms, guests can get a better idea of the way of life that plays out in this quiet landscape, and enjoy abundant birdlife and (if you’re lucky) spot an elusive spotted-necked otter. 

Interactive cooking classes for all ages, and beautiful meals prepared with fresh produce from our gardens offer opportunities for connection and learning

A world within Kwitonda

The property itself offers great scope. Nature walks will allow our conservationists to share their knowledge of the small and intricate details of the richly layered terrain. From the frogs in the ponds just in front of the main lodge to prolific bird watching, there is much to be seen on a walk through the landscape. Planting of an indigenous tree species is also a popular activity for guests and children and plays a role in Singita’s larger reforestation efforts. Most walks fittingly end at our on-site Akarabo Nursery, where guests are able to pick some fresh items from the garden and even use them in their planned cooking class.

Our cooking classes - for children or adults – uses the beautiful natural produce grown on site and underscores the importance of eating sustainably. The cooking classes are flexible, depending on what the participants wish to learn about. Our chefs are always happy to engage with and share their local dishes and guests can either watch or enjoy a fully participatory class.

To learn more about this culturally rich, nurturing and community-oriented destination, click here >

Julia Freemantle
By Julia Freemantle

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