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Bold new frontier

Aug 26, 2019 | Luxury

Singita Kwitonda in Rwanda combines gorilla conservation with a next-level lifestyle experience

Singita’s brand-new offering, located on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, comprises Kwitonda Lodge and the ultra-luxe Kataza House private villa.

The multi award-winning luxury hospitality and conservation brand’s new venture will provide visitors with unparalleled wildlife encounters with the area’s famous and threatened mountain gorillas, while contributing to their conservation.

This expansion into Rwanda is part of the company’s 100-year purpose and big-picture vision to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. Part of its efforts in this new location will include extensive reforestation initiatives in Rwanda, to increase the range and numbers of endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. An on-site nursery called Akarabo (which means ‘little flower’ in Kinyarwanda) has to date provided approximately 250 000 indigenous forest shrubs, bamboo shoots and trees for an extensive reforestation initiative.

One of the most sustainable lodges in Africa, Singita Kwitonda is named after a legendary silverback gorilla known for his humility and gentle nature. The collection of small buildings laid out along the natural contours of the ground honours the landscape and follows Singita’s stringent sustainability principles (including working with the local community to source most building materials).

Conceptualised by GAPP Architects in collaboration with the interior-design teams from Cécile & Boyd and Hesse Kleinloog (HK), the design takes its cue from Rwanda’s cultural heritage and the elements, and the beauty of the earth, mist, rain and lava has been expressed via a bold palette of black, khaki green, ‘greige’ and fiery orange.

The bold and earthy interiors reflect the duality of the gorillas’ nature; and this is also seen in the interplay of strong art and furniture and pared-back modernity. More than 500 local artisans and builders were involved in the project, and much of the decorative layer was created by African and South African artisans.

The sustainable approach spans both design and logistics – with the on-site herb and fruit garden supplying the lodge kitchens with an array of fresh ingredients, reflected in a farm-to-table approach to the menu (comprised of largely vegetable-based dishes and local Rwandan favourites).

“It’s an absolute dream to expand our conservation footprint in Rwanda – a beautiful country with a remarkable conservation success story. Contributing to the Government’s enormous efforts to protect the country’s wildlife is both a privilege and a serious responsibility,” says Singita Founder and Executive Chairman, Luke Bailes.

Gorilla trekking is a major drawcard of this property, and Singita situated less than 10 minutes from Volcanoes National Park headquarters, making this life-altering experience incredibly accessible. Apart from gorilla treks, other activities include golden monkey walks, day tours to the vibrant capital city, Kigali – including a visit to the Genocide Memorial – trips to the Musanze Caves, Nyungwe National Park, Lake Kivu or a local community tour.

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