The main attraction of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is its proximity to the Virunga Mountains and the Parc National des Volcans where clients trek on foot to see the magnificent Mountain Gorilla. Gorilla trekking is perhaps one of the most dramatic, thrilling and poignant wildlife experiences possible. There are, however, plenty of other natural, cultural and social excursions on offer to help you make the most of your stay. At Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge we offer specialized massage treatments designed to relax refresh and re-juvinate you after a hike to see the mountain Gorillas. From the lodge we offer escorted bird watching walks, escorted walks and escorted mountain bike excursions in the local area. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is located on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park and a 15 minute drive from the parks headquarters where all activities in the Park start from. Activities on offer in the Volcanes National Park include Gorilla trekking, treks to see the Golden Monkeys, as well as lots of treks and hikes to view the volcanoes and its hidden treasures.
For those interested in seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat Rwanda offers one of the best locations for Gorilla trekking. In the Park National des Volcans in Rwanda there are eight families of Mountain Gorilla living on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes that you can trek to see. For many, seeing gorillas in the wild offers a wildlife experience of a lifetime.
Trekking to see the golden monkeys is another highlight of Volcanoes National Park. The Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus Mitis Kandti) is a local subspecies of the widespread Sykes Monkey, also known as the “Blue Monkey” and is endemic to the high altitude forests of the Volcanoes National Park area. The monkeys are playful and inquisitive and often spend their time leaping from bamboo branches or frolicking on the forest floor.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge property extends over some 7 hectares (about 17 acres) and is a heaven for all kinds of local birds that do not easily thrive in the surrounding agricultural plots, where natural shelter is rare and disturbance by human activity high. Over 40 species of birds (of which a few species and or subspecies are endemic to the Albertine Rift forests) have been identified on and around Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.
We can arrange escorted walks in the area around Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. These walks are lead by our staff members and provide a fascinating introduction into daily rural life in the Volcanoes area. We also have four good quality and well serviced mountain bikes available at the lodge for guests to use. We can arrange for one of our staff members to take guests on an escorted mountain bike ride to explore the local area. The staff members are keen mountain bikers and share their enthusiasm and knowledge of the local area during the excursion.
Iby’iwacu cultural village is located 15 minutes drive from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge and is an interesting cultural excursion. The village convinced ex poachers to turn their back on poaching and instead perform for visitors. Visiting the village you can discover the traditional house of a local king, watch an authentic medicine man prepare herbal mixtures, try your hand at bow and arrow shooting or enjoy cultural dances and drumming performed by people from the local area.
For those interested visiting Dian Fossey’s original scientific base Karisoke, a trek is available from the Volcanoes National Park headquarters. Karisoke scientific base was established by Dian Fossey in the saddle area between two volcanoes; Mt Visoke and Mt Karisimbi (from which the name Karisoke is derived).
Between Musanze and the Ugandan border are two scenic lakes usually referred to as the twin lakes; Lake Bulera and Lake Ruhondo. They are fed by rivers and a lake in Uganda. The twin lakes area is very scenic, with steep and intensively farmed hills surrounding the pristine dark blue waters.
Buhanga Sacred Forest is a true hidden gem. Despite its small size (around 31 hectares) the forest is a site of tremendous ecological importance and astonishing beauty. The forest takes on a different dimension depending on the time of day, season of year and weather conditions. Visitors walk beneath the cover of tall majestic trees and are rewarded by the sights of many different birds and colourful butterflies.
Long ago the mid altitude mountain range that extends in a North - South orientation all along Lake Kivu (generally referred to as the Congo - Nile divide) was covered with dense forests, most of which have now vanished. Around 30km outside the lakeside town of Gisenyi a remnant of this great forest still survives; Gishwati Forest.
Located at around 80 km from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge (2 hours by car), the lakeside resort of Gisenyi offers a pleasant contrast to the high altitudes of the Virunga Volcanoes. The atmosphere is tropical and the climate is mild, making it seem like the never ending springtime. Gisenyi rests in the nostalgia of its opulent past.
Musanze Town (formerly know as Ruhengeri, but still widely used) is the most important town in Rwanda’s Northern Province and in the Volcanoes area. Musanze serves as the area’s administrative, commercial and service capital. It is a bustling town with plenty of local character. A daily market is held in the new market compound in the centre of town.
The Ngezi trail is the shortest trail in the Volcanoes National park and leads to a small scenic lake nestled in a volcanic depression at the foot of Mt Visoke. The hike takes around three hours in total and is not physically demanding. The trek is accompanied by ORTPN rangers and there is the possibility of encountering wildlife on the trek. The trail offers scenic views over the congolese parts of the Virunga range where the forests are much larger.
Mt Visoke stands at 3700m, it has the typical conic shape of a “perfect” volcano and in its crater lies a deep crater lake. For those interested in climbing Mt Visoke the volcano does not present an exceptionally demanding climb but it is nevertheless still a tough hike. The high elevation demands extra strength of climbers and the whole excursion can take between 5 hours and the whole day depending on the speed of the walk and the frequency of stops.
At around 3400m, Mt M’gahinga is the smallest of the six volcanoes in the Virunga Rage. As from January 2010, the trail leading to the summit crater is open again to visitors. Compared to the other volcanoes in the Virungas, Mt M’Gahinga makes a pleasant climb and has several interesting features like its volcanic caves.
Standing tall as the second highest peak in the Volcanoes National Park, Mt Muhabura is also the most easterly volcano in the Virunga range, and marks the border between Rwanda and Uganda.
From the top of the volcano one can enjoy fantastic views over the other five volcanoes and the “twin lakes”. There is a crater lake near the summit and the vegetation is usually drier than in other areas of the Volcanoes National Park, with giant heather thriving on the volcano's slopes.