Discover Unforgettable Adventures at One&Only Gorilla's Nest

One&Only’s second ultra-luxury nature resort in Rwanda, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, is surrounded by a fragrant eucalyptus forest in the foothills of the breathtaking Volcanoes National Park. The park is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains and is a spectacular, vast playground for adventures. Trekking to see endangered mountain gorillas in the wild, hiking to spot golden monkeys through the jungle canopy, birdwatching, or being immersed in the colourful fragrant rose garden at the resort are amongst the unforgettable activities’ guests can experience whilst staying at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest.

The rare opportunity to see endangered mountain gorillas in the wild is often described as a life changing experience. It begins with a bespoke briefing at the resort with one of the Experience Guides the night before the trek, followed by an early morning departure for the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters, where guides explain fascinating insights into the family dynamics and personality traits of the 12 habituated gorilla families in the area. The hike takes between 30 minutes to over 4 hours, depending on the current location of the family, and the reward is a full hour watching the playful human-like mountain gorillas interact, feed and play. Permits to trek the mountain gorillas are issued by the Rwanda Development Board and the numbers are tightly restricted to just 96 per day to protect this majestic creature. It is estimated by the WWF that just 1,063 mountain gorillas live in the wild[1] and 604 of them call the Virunga Mountains home[2] - numbers that have risen in recent years thanks to conservation efforts. A truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the gorilla families that can be observed in the Volcanoes National Park include Amahoro, Ugenda, Umubano, Karisimbi, and Sabinyo, to name a few. Guests return to the resort for lunch and an afternoon at leisure, where they can rest, ease tired muscles with a post-trek signature treatment at the One&Only Spa, enjoy a rose-inspired afternoon tea, and share stories from their earlier first-hand encounter with some of the most fascinating animals on the planet.

In addition to the iconic gorilla trekking, One&Only has curated an extensive selection of experiences for guests, in partnership with the local community, to provide immersion into both the wildlife and the history and culture of Rwanda. Within the Volcanoes National Park, guests can trek the dramatic volcanic landscape, traversing the ancient Mount Bisoke in a challenging 8 hour hike; discover the stories of the fascinating Musanze caves, dating back 65 million years and home to incredible bat colonies; or follow the footsteps of the charming golden monkeys, learning how to track this endangered species in the treetops with local experts. For many visitors, the challenging hike to visit the grave of Dian Fossey, located between the beautiful volcanic peaks of Bisoke and Karisimbi, is a humbling and memorable experience. The renowned primatologist spent close to two decades in the Volcanoes National Park studying the mountain gorillas and established the Karisoke Research Centre, which has since become a world leading facility for the protection of gorillas and has left an incredible legacy for conservation of the species. Visits to meet the Gorilla Doctors working at the Karisoke Research Centre, can be arranged for guests keen on learning more about the impactful conservation work done in the area.

The team at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest have worked closely with their neighbours to introduce experiences that transport guests to heart and soul of the community, as well as supporting local tourism initiatives and cooperatives. One of the most memorable experiences for many is the opportunity to take part in Umuganda, a nationwide community action programme which takes place on the last Saturday of every month. Alongside One&Only colleagues, guests can work to support local projects, such as developing infrastructure or increasing environmental protection, working shoulder to shoulder with Rwandans and contributing to important local projects. An interactive visit to the Gorilla Guardian Village is a chance for guests to discover traditional village life, set to the soundtrack of joyful drumming, songs and dancing. Guests can try their hand at archery, basket weaving and grinding flour, while supporting an initiative set up to provide livelihoods to local families. Those keen to learn more about local life and agriculture can visit a picturesque family-run banana plantation, where they can help to cultivate the fruit and discover how to make banana beer, a local speciality. A visit to Handspun Hope, a cooperative set up to assist vulnerable women, many of whom have been affected by the genocide, is a memorable and affecting experience. Located on a working farm, the women produce beautiful handmade woollen garments and felting sculptures available to purchase. For the perfect view of the famous Virunga mountains, Musanze town is the vantage point. It is also the gateway town to the Volcanoes National Park and the ideal place to experience vibrant Rwandan life. A one hour guided tour will introduce guests to the city markets, local made fabrics and a variety of local restaurants serving traditional Rwandan dishes.

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest also offers a wide range of complimentary activities for guests to enjoy, ranging from early morning trail runs to fascinating nature walks, or calming yoga overlooking the wild vistas. The resort is an abundant garden, flourishing with flora and fauna and the 60-minute Take A Walk In Nature teaches guests about the local eco-system and wildlife, including tour of the resort’s fragrant rose garden, home to many species. The Sight Rare Birds experience showcases the array of birdlife around the resort, with the opportunity to spot sunbirds, bee-eaters, flycatchers, weavers, kites, eagles and vultures. Guests can explore the bountiful Chef’s Garden, filled with herbs and natural produce used in the resort’s kitchens, and Enjoy the Secrets of Rwandan Coffee learning the story of sustainably-grown regional coffee, discovering the different flavours and blends, and how to make the perfect cup. Jack Hanna’s Cottage, once owned by the famous American conservationist, is home to a library where guests can learn more about Rwanda’s wildlife and conservation, a games room, intimate private cinema room, and is the location for a number of curated events from talks from local experts to culinary masterclasses.

Active pursuits abound and guests can work up a sweat at the resort’s outdoor gymnasium, run scenic nature trails, bike across the extraordinary volcanic landscape and cycle to tour nearby villages and agricultural lands. Other inclusive experiences focus on the rich culture of Rwanda and include Listen to the Rhythms of Rwanda, which showcases stories, poetry and dance hosted by local talented performers, as well as Join the Drumming Circle, a vibrant drumming session accompanied by mesmerising fire dancers. Both atmospheric experiences take place gathered around the resort’s Boma.

The passionate Experience Guides at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest impart their local knowledge and create tailor-made itineraries to best suit guests’ interests, length of stay as well as fitness levels. There is also a dedicated series of activities for teenage guests, including archery lessons set in the forest, nature walks, crafts such as traditional basket weaving and adrenaline-boosting bike rides.

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest also offers a wealth of experiences that focus on individual wellbeing. The sanctuary-like One&Only Spa is surrounded by breathtaking nature and offers holistic treatments that harness the power of African botanicals to soothe body, mind and spirit. Open-air yoga classes on the resort’s yoga deck are sound tracked by the melodies of the forest, with invigorating morning sessions and afternoon Post-Trek Restorative classes as at gentler pace. Daily Pilates sessions are suitable for all experience levels, and mindful meditation classes make the most of the tranquil and awe-inspiring natural surroundings, affording guests the opportunity to connect with their breath, feel present and focus on their relaxation. Natural therapies concentrate on restoring both emotional and physical energy and include Reiki therapies led by the resort’s resident Reiki Master, ancient crystal healing, sound therapy with pure crystal bowls and chakra balancing treatments.

For the ultimate twin-centre experience, guests can extend their visit to include One&Only Nyungwe House, set within the Gisakura working tea plantation, on the edge of one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. The ancient Nyungwe Forest is one of the world’s oldest mountainous ecosystems with 13 species of primates, including a chimpanzee population, colobus monkey and L’Hoest monkeys. The perfect itinerary includes eight nights and seven days, with an overnight arrival in Kigali, helicopter transfers between resorts, three nights at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest and three nights One&Only Nyungwe House.


[1] Source – WWF, 16 December 2019 - https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/global-mountain-gorilla-population-count-grows-to-1-063

[2] Source – UN Environment Programme, May 2018-  https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/number-mountain-gorillas-rise-virunga-massif

Rates at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest include breakfast, lunch and dinner, non-alcoholic beverages and two complimentary activities per person, per day. Trekking with the majestic mountain gorillas and selected other activities have an additional cost. For more information or reservations, please visit: oneandonlyresorts.com

[1] Source – WWF, 16 December 2019 - https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/global-mountain-gorilla-population-count-grows-to-1-063

[2] Source – UN Environment Programme, May 2018- https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/number-mountain-gorillas-rise-virunga-massif