One&Only Nyungwe House in Rwanda is nestled within the Gisakura working tea plantation, on the edge of one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. Steeped in natural beauty with nature on its doorstep, the resort has curated a comprehensive and bespoke itinerary of activities for guests, from adventures that can be had at the resort, to those that explore the Nyungwe Forest and beyond.
The completely transformed One&Only Nyungwe House began welcoming guests on 1 October, and in celebration of the destination, the resort has created truly immersive activities to be enjoyed. Guests are able to choose from Inclusive Activities (available on a daily basis; with the option to participate in up to two per day on a complimentary basis) as well as other Signature Experiences, which are available for an additional fee. The resort’s motivating and well-trained guides are available to assist guests with tailoring their stay according to their interests and imparting their local knowledge of the region.
The extensive daily, complimentary activities offer a well-balanced combination of culinary, wellness, fitness and sustainability, and vary according to fitness levels. Guests can learn one of Africa’s ancient traditions, Spear Throwing, at one of the highest points surrounding the resort, or together with the family, join in Hilltop Archery. Alternatively, those looking for something more active, can join Nature’s Bootcamp and work up a sweat in the fresh mountain air. A guide leads guests on foot along a Jurassic track surrounding the tea plantation and through a motivating workout.
Conservation lies at the heart of all One&Only resorts in nature, and at One&Only Nyungwe House it is no different. Guests are able to join the Resort team and partake in some of the initiatives they support, as well as during the monthly Umuganda that takes place on the last Saturday of every month – a truly hands-on way for all to get involved in the community. Whether developing infrastructure or environmental protection, guests can really get to know the local community in an incredibly immersive way. The Secrets of African Tea is the perfect way to discover more about the location of One&Only Nyungwe House. The resort’s tea expert will take guests into the tea plantation, teach the art of picking the tea leaves, the method of growing and processing and then end off with a tasting. For budding astronomers, the Nocturnal Spotlighting and Stargazing is not to be missed, as guests will be amazed by the planets and constellations that can be seen from the resort’s elevated decks or in the forest.
As the resort is ideally located next to Nyungwe Forest, which is home to some of the most diverse primate populations in Africa, guests have the opportunity to take part in a wide selection of excursions that allow them to be truly immersed in nature whilst staying at One&Only Nyungwe House. For the opportunity to discover the Colobus Monkey, an early rise is needed where breakfast can be enjoyed on the move. An expert guide will take guests to one of the very few places in Africa where this species, as well as L’Hoest’s monkeys can also be spotted. Being one of the oldest mountainous ecosystems, the Nyungwe Forest has 13 species of primates, including the chimpanzee population. Chimpanzee Trekking is a fun, yet incredibly fast-paced experience as guests need to try and keep up with the speed at which these animals move. The trek is along wild paths and lush forests with expert trackers, but as chimps are not accustomed to humans and are incredibly shy, spotting them is a cherished experience. Booking in advance is required as only a few permits for Chimpanzee Trekking are issued per day, and both of these activities are considered slightly challenging due to their fast-pace. Bird Watching is another must as the Nyungwe National Park is home to over 300 bird species, with 27 being endemic to the local Albertine Rift and include the Mountain Masked Apalis, Red Throated Alethe and Blue Headed Sunbird. An expert guide will use their well attuned ears to help hear and locate these mesmerising birds, from the elusive Rwenzori Turaco to the Grey-chested Kakamega. The breath-taking Canopy Walk is another once-in-a-lifetime experience as it is one-of-a-kind in East Africa. It is divided into three parts at 45 metres, 90 metres (75 metre above the ground) and 25 metres consecutively in length. For any professional or budding photographer, the views are not to be missed and the surrounding flora and fauna captivating. Guests can choose to leave early morning where a packed breakfast can be enjoyed, alternatively lunch can be had along the way.
Besides the vast number of primates and birds that guests can see when staying at One&Only Nyungwe House, the forest and surrounds are home to many other animals including amphibians and butterflies. A large array of mammals can also be seen, from the Giant Forest Hog to Lord Darby’s Flying Squirrels, the Bush Pig, the Serval or Wild Cat, as well as many others. Guests will have opportunity to spot some of these creatures whilst going on the many walks and hikes that the resort has curated. From easy to moderate, to more challenging, guests can select from 10 different trails that will all be expertly guided and offer a unique glimpse into the remote and authentically wild landscape.
The moderate Umugote Trail offers vast viewpoints including sights as far as the mountains of Kibira National Park in neighbouring Burundi. The Umoyove Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the Nyungwe Forest, as guests have the opportunity to stop at an idyllic and natural waterfall. Walking amongst some of the tallest trees including the African Mahogany (the trunk can measure more than 20 metres in diameter), the Grey-Cheeked Mangabey Monkey and other primates may also be spotted. Meanwhile, Nyungwe’s largest waterfall at 17 metres can be seen at the end of the Isumo Trail and is the inspiration for the name of the trail (isumo means waterfall in Kinyarwanda, an official language of Rwanda). The thunderous sounds can be heard far before this wonder is seen. It is one of the most beautiful trails, as guests will begin in the open tea fields just outside the main lodge of the resort, be surrounded by the immense number of wildflowers, and discover a plethora of wildlife.
One&Only Nyungwe House began welcoming guests on 1 October 2018. For more information or reservations, please visit: oneandonlyresorts.com