Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge in Nyungwe Forest National Park
Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge is categorized as a mid-range accommodation situated in kitabi region in the southwestern side of the country. Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge is located just 33 km away from Nyungwe forest national park. Nyungwe forest national park is one of the parks in Rwanda famous for the chimpanzees and the canopy walk which is found nowhere else in East Africa.
Nyungwe forest national park protects over 500 chimpanzee individuals with 2 fully habituated families in Nyungwe forest and Cyamudongo forest. The park also protects over 85 mammal species, 310 bird species, and about 1086 plant species. Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge is built at the top of Kitabi hill giving stunning views of the national park, surrounding areas, and some of the Nyungwe hills.
Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge can be visited at any time of the year and it can be accessed in a single day using road transport from Kigali which takes 4-5 minutes or air transport that takes 35 minutes from Kigali international airport to Kamembe airport or One & Only Nyungwe helipad.
Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge has 10 spacious rooms that are built in African culture in form of huts that are grass thatched. The rooms are well designed with flushing toilets, cold and hot showers, chairs, and mosquito nets. There are fireplaces at this lodge where guests can gather for storytelling as they get warmth in times of coldness. While at this lodge, you can move out of your room and sit in the compound to have an aerial view of the national park, hills, tea plantations, and other places.
Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge has a good restaurant that serves local and international dishes prepared by well-trained chefs, a well-stocked bar with soft and hard drinks. They do airport pickups and drop-offs, have ample parking space, laundry services, and free Wi-Fi. They have an art and craft shop where tourists can go and buy guide books, jewelry, clothes, and much more.
Activities to do while saying at Kitabi Eco Center Lodge
Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity by guests staying at Kitabi Eco Center Lodge. The activity is done by those guests who booked their trekking permits earlier and have them. Guests staying at Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge and are going for chimpanzee trekking activities will have to wake up very early in the morning for breakfast and then drive to Uwinka park offices where they will meet park wardens to take them through briefing activities
During the briefing, tourists are taught about the rules and regulations of the trekking activity and then rangers are given to each group to lead them through different walking trails in the park. While searching, the trekkers are able to encounter animals such as blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, duikers, crowned monkeys, bushpigs, buffaloes, black and white colobus monkeys, birds, waterfalls, and different plant species. After locating the chimpanzees, trekkers are given 1 hour to be around them, watch them do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits.
Birding: Guests staying at Kitabi Eco Center Lodge can have birding activities around the lodge or Nyungwe forest national park with a help of a ranger guide. Birding activities gives the guests an opportunity to encounter over 310 bird species that have been so far recorded in the park and these include long-crested eagle, chinspot batis, crowned hornbill, purple-breasted sunbird, Kivu ground thrush, dwarf honeyguide, archer’s robin chat, mountain masked apalis, grauer’s swamp warbler, blue-headed apalis, strange weaver, stripped breasted tit, Rwenzori batis, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Rwenzori apalis, regal sunbird, rockefeller’s sunbird, red-throated alethe, and mountain masked apalis among others.
Canopy walk: The canopy walks are one of the activities guests staying at Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge shouldn’t miss out on their stay at the lodge. The guests will have to drive to Nyungwe forest where the activity takes place and they must attend briefing activities. The briefing is where participants are taught about the dos and don’ts of the canopy walk activity and an armed ranger guide is assigned to them.
The canopy walk activity starts at Uwinka park offices and the tourists do go through the Igishigishigi trail to get to the starting point of the canopy walk. During the canopy walk, all tourists are able to have an aerial of the park, stunning views of the surrounding areas, hills, lakes, rivers, park primates, mammals, birds, and waterfalls.
Nature walks: Guests at Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge can have nature walks around the lodge or around the national park. The nature walks are done to enable the tourist to explore the area on foot and the activity is led by armed ranger guides who lead the trekkers through different trials of the park protecting them from dangerous wild animals.
During the nature walks, tourists are able to meet different waterfalls, spot different birds such as Albertine owlet, handsome spurfowl, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, long-crested eagle, plants species, and animals such as duikers, vervet monkeys, chimpanzees, buffaloes, bushpigs, blue monkeys, and crowned monkeys among others.
Community visits: Guests staying at Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge can spare some time for community visits around the area. There are so many communities and towns where guests staying at the lodge can go and interact with the local people and among these include Banda village and Bisesero village. The community visits enable tourists to interact with local people, know how they live their day to day life, watch them do daily activities, be part of ceremonies, taste their local foods, visit art and craft shops and get entertainment from traditional dancers.
What is the best time to visit Kitabi Eco Center Lodge?
Travelers can stay at Kitabi Eco-Center Lodge at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest if at all they are staying there to do tourism activities around the area. The drier months of June to September and December to February are the best to stay at Kitabi Eco Center Lodge because they are characterized by little or no rainfall which means the walking trails around the lodge and trekking trails in the park