There are certainly a wide variety or hotel/lodge options when visiting PNV for your gorilla trek but the owners Jackie and Emmanuel are the reason I will again choose Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge on my next visit.
They truly go out of their way to make your stay as comfortable as possible and once you discover some of their personal history, you'll find them truly inspirational
One should know beforehand that LeBambou is not a luxury lodge but rather a place that provides basic, comfortable, clean rooms at a relatively fair price in comparison to other lodges in the area.
Most tourists only come to this area of Rwanda for a day or two as part of their gorilla trek so may be more budget minded.
This place fits that role perfectly.
Emmanuel and Jackie along with the rest of the staff are delightful hosts who will go out of their way whenever possible to accommodate your needs.
Food is adequate, some items are better than others, your idea of a certain dish (ie. various pasta sauces) might be a bit different than what’s delivered to you but the portions are quite large.
One must keep in mind that this area of Rwanda was somewhat off the grid until relative recent times and tourist standards are still being sussed out so one must be open to a bit more of a rustic experience, scheduled electricity is provided by generator, no central heat other than a small inroom fireplace so dress accordingly.
One suggestion for the owners might be to have some sort of rug on the cement/stone floor as it can be quite chilly on bare feet when getting out of bed in the night or morning.
Thankfully hot water for showers was always present. The gardens surrounding the small cottages are wonderful.
The location is ideal, less than a 15 minute drive to park HQ.
As long as you don't expect a luxury experience, your expections should be met.
Once again, I can't thank Emmanuel and Jackie enough for truly going out of their way to ensure I had a good experience.
Emmanuel even went so far as to play host for an entire day in Kigali (no extra charge) even when he didn't have to when my morning taxi in Kigali failed to show up (no fault of LeBambou) causing me to miss my flight until later that evening.
I don't know many lodge owners that would do that. They are genuinely nice people, warm and generous like so many Rwandans that I met, super fun to be around and I look forward to returning.
So in summary, I would highly recommend this hotel, it was one of my favourite places to stay, and perfectly captured the experience I wanted (a locally operated hotel, basic but friendly, clean and comfortable, built in an African style and avoiding the feel of a corporate chain or a luxury spa). I genuinely didn't want to leave