Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
Why photographers love Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
- Great location to explore Parc National des Volcans and the Virunga Mountains for gorillas
- Gorilla trekking
- Golden monkey trekking
- Walks through the forest and birding
How we rate Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
|Lodge & Dining|
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge at a glance
- 5 cottages, 2 suites and 1 family cottage all built of stone with terracotta tile roofs
- Cottages feature en-suite bathrooms, large sitting areas, fireplaces, dressing room and covered veranda
- Main lodge building with reception, lounge, dining room, library, shop and bathrooms.
- Two patios with views of the Virunga Volcanoes
- 220v charging in rooms
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is situated at the foot of Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park) where ten families of habituated mountain gorillas live. There are less than 900 mountain gorillas remaining in the world, and 480 can be found in the Virungas, an area of volcanic forested mountains spanning DRC and Uganda and represented in Rwanda by Volcanoes National Park. Dian Fossey established a research base in the park to study the gorillas until she was murdered in 1985, apparently by the poachers she spent her life fighting against. The story was portrayed in the film Gorillas in the Mist. Guests can hike to her original research camp at Karisoke, which is now a graveyard for some of her beloved gorillas and where Dian herself is buried. Other animals in the park include the endemic golden monkey, a subspecies of the blue monkey, duiker, buffalo, spotted hyena and bushbuck. There are 13 species of birds endemic to the area and 178 species total.
The lodge is open year round. The rainy seasons are from April to May and November to mid December, thus, the best times to visit are January to March and June to October.
What Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge costs
Rates range from $470 to $880 per person depending on season. Access is via a two-hour drive from Kigale. Gorilla permits are $750.
Photographers need to know
Gorilla trekking is expensive and you only get one hour with the habituated group, but the experience is incredible. There are ten habituated groups in the park and a maximum of 80 permits per day. You should be reasonably fit–treks can last from two to five hours and can pass difficult terrain. A local porter can help carry photo gear. You’re not guaranteed to see the gorillas, but most groups do. People often buy two permits to go twice!
The good news
The lodge is built and operated by Governors’ Camp, but is owned by a community trust who are advance development and conservation projects locally. There is a community awareness room in the lodge dedicated to providing information on the trust and their projects.