Nestled deep in one of the oldest rain forests in Africa, on a Rwandan working tea plantation that seems too picturesque to possibly be real, lies One&Only Nyungwe House. A venture here is an escape from the rest of the world achievable only at a few places in this day and age. At this property, everything—and we mean everything—has been created with the intention of embracing the wild surroundings and soaking up as much of the natural landscape as humanly possible. From the design of the resort itself to the wellness philosophy to the farm-to-table dining, the natural landscape of Rwanda is on display: Don’t book a trip here unless you’re ready for the experience of a lifetime.
Because of its ideal proximity to the Nyungwe Forest, there’s no shortage of wildlife at any turn. If you can drag yourself out of bed before sunrise, book the challenging Colobus Monkey Trekking adventure or the Chimpanzee Trekking Excursion—an expert guide will pack a breakfast to go and take guests to one of the very few places in Africa where this species, as well as L’Hoest’s monkeys, can be spotted in their prime. Keeping up with them at their fast pace makes this one of the more intense (but extremely rewarding) experiences on the agenda if you’re lucky enough to reserve it (only a few permits for chimpanzee tracking are issued per day in order to preserve the wildlife). Additional curated experiences allow for the rare sighting of other indigenous mammals, including the giant forest hog, Lord Derby’s flying squirrels, the bushpig, and wildcats.
Animals aside, walking around the property is an experience in and of itself. The renowned Canopy Walk is one of a kind in East Africa, offering sweeping, Instagram-worthy views of the surrounding landscape.
And for those wellness junkies who like to be active on vacation, this property has no shortage of calorie-torching activities, from Nature’s Boot Camp—a vigorous workout led by a trainer on a Jurassic track surrounding the tea plantation—to spear throwing to hilltop archery.
Now that you’ve officially worked up a sweat, it’s on to the dining scene; executive chef Treasure Makwanise and his team of chefs change the menu every single day based on procuring the freshest ingredients of the season. For a romantic evening with crazy-good views of the plantation, head to the Dining Room, the resort’s fanciest restaurant, which serves a mix of nutritious and indulgent cuisine, with many of the ingredients coming from the property’s organic garden.
Considering the resort is nestled in a tea plantation, a visit to the Tea Lounge (with awesome views of the treetops) is a must. You can even choose to pluck your own tea leaves from the garden to create your perfect cup of Nyungwe tea. If jaw-dropping is the dining experience you’re going for (and, quite frankly, why would it not be if you’ve come this far?), you can book one of the bespoke private dining experiences, which include a dinner over the infinity pool deck, lit with floating candles.
At the end of a fulfilling day of adventure and unique experiences, retreat to your luxe room and turn on your fireplace while you enjoy a glass of wine on your private forest deck. Tomorrow, it’s up and at ’em for another day in paradise. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you that you’ll want to stay forever.
Click through the gallery above for an inside look at the One&Only Nyungwe House.