On the foothills of the Virungas – home to the mountain gorilla


For those interested in seeing the Mountain Gorilla in its natural habitat, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge in Rwanda offers the perfect location to base yourself. Sabyinyo Silverback lodge is located only 15 minutes’ drive from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, the starting point for the Gorilla treks. Hidden amongst the foothills of the spectacular Virungas — a chain of 15 000 foot volcanoes that lie in what is thought to be the heart of the legendary land of King Solomon’s mines, is the beautiful Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Here, surrounded by the tropical forests of Rwanda, just a stone’s throw away from the renowned Parc National des Volcans, you will be able to unwind in one of six luxurious stone cottages – each with a large sitting room, fireplace, stylish ensuite bathroom and private veranda.


The solid, rustic stone buildings are masterfully constructed and beautifully appointed to offer you the most comfortable, yet relaxed, accommodation. Choose between six double cottages, two suites and one family suite. The double cottages are spacious and welcoming and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish ensuite bathrooms and a dressing room. The large windows offer beautiful views of the surroundings while the sheltered veranda creates a wonderful place to relax in the afternoon.



Dinner can be savored in the cozy dining room, sundowners are best enjoyed on the outside deck, with its breathtaking views of the Virunga volcanoes. After an adventure-filled day retreat to the library with its fireplace.


Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is Rwanda’s first ever community owned lodge. The lodge was built and is operated by Governors’ Camp Collection, but the ownership rests with a Community Trust, Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association, which uses rentals and community fees from the lodge to drive socio-economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the National Park.


Nearby adventures include hikes into the Parc National des Volcans in search of the majestic mountain gorilla and the enchanting golden monkey, cultural excursions, bird watching and mountain biking trails and visits to a multitude of scenic destinations.  These range from shorter hikes to Lake Ngezi and the surrounding forest areas, to much tougher treks to the site of Dian Fossey’s research camp, and to many of the summits and crater lakes of the Virunga range. 


While mountain gorillas are the main draw in this area of Rwanda, it also offers many more species of game. The birdlife is prolific, Rwanda has about 650 species of birds.


Being immersed within a group of mountain gorillas is one of the most wholesome wildlife photography experiences there is, a life-long dream for most wildlife and nature lovers.  Between the raw beauty, charisma, and proximity with which you can photograph these amazing primates, it’s sure to be one of the most spectacular and dramatic photographic moments of your life. The gorillas are much more incredible in real life than can ever be shown with an image. The sheer size of the silverback males is astounding – they often weigh over 200kg.


The toddlers and juveniles love fooling around, dangling from branches and making funny faces. You are not allowed to approach the gorillas too closely, but that doesn’t mean a curious youngster can’t take interest and inspect you.


As a visitor, you can only visit the gorillas for 1 hour a day, which can make it feel like there is a time pressure to get those perfect shots. There is time, take time to absorb the experience and watch the gorillas for the first few minutes of your hour. You will probably remember the times when you were face to face with the gorillas much more than the time you spent behind the camera. Not rushing into the photos will also give you time to work out the conditions of the day and think about the camera settings to get the best shots.

Virunga Mountains