A close encounter with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is one of the most extraordinary wildlife experiences that the world can offer. The animals are huge — males can reach 600 pounds — and visitors are allowed to approach to within 20 feet. Not long ago there was nowhere to stay of any particular distinction. This changed in 2017 with the debut of Wilderness Safaris’ wonderful Bisate Lodge. Not to be outdone, the distinguished South African company Singita opened Kwitonda Lodge last year. Now these two properties have been joined by One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, set amid eucalyptus forest, close to the entrance of the national park. (This is the second One&Only property in Rwanda, following the opening of Nyungwe House in 2018, a five-hour drive to the south, where guests can observe both chimpanzees and colobus monkeys.)
Gorilla’s Nest comprises 21 lodges and suites raised on stilts, with living and dining areas, in-room fireplaces, private decks and outdoor soaking tubs. Although the number of upscale lodges has increased, the viewing of the gorillas is still strictly controlled. A maximum of 96 people are allowed to visit them each day and visitors may spend only an hour in their company. Access is also rationed by price, as the daily gorilla trekking permit is $1,500 per person a day. At Gorilla’s Nest, the Experience Centre offers a menu of additional activities, including cycling trips to nearby villages and coffee tastings, as well as yoga and exercise classes at the resort.