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“My little piece of heaven” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Virunga Lodge

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Virunga Lodge
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Lake Bulera, Ruhengeri, Rwanda   |  
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Kigali, Rwanda
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4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“My little piece of heaven”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2014

I stayed her in september 2013 and consider it to be the best hotel/lodge in Rwanda. I had visted a number of times to enjoy the amazing views of the twin lakes and finally decided to stay after a work trip to musanze. It's not cheap, but i swear it's worth it. Rooms are basically cottages, which all have the grand view from both the bed- and bath room. (you can even enjoy the view from the shower which is half open). There are no power plugs in the rooms, but you can recharge phones and computers in the main building. WIFI is also available in the main building with comfy couches and a nice fireplace for cold evenings. It does get cold up there so bring a warm sweater/jacket! After dinner (which is included and lovely) i went back to the cottage to find warm water bottles in my bed! I would recommend not to plan any activities and just stay and enjoy the lodge, the views and a good glass of wine ;)

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VolcanoesSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Virunga Lodge, responded to this review, March 19, 2014
Thanks Riekeweel for the great review. We are really pleased you enjoyed your stay and especially the water bottles-they are my personal favorite too!!!

To celebrate 10 years of Virunga lodge, we are offering a 20% discount on a four day safari to Virunga lodge until the 31 of May. Do not miss out!!! You can contact us at salesrw@volcanoessafaris.com.


We hope to see you very soon.
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157 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Bath, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

This is a truly magical place location wise, and if you take an interest, you can learn and see so much more. Rwanda is a revelation as a country, the Virunga Lodge was superb and the gorilla trekking surreal and remains one of my top 3 experiences ... it is such a privilege to see them. Lets be honest, I had a preconceived ideas about Rwanda (western news reporting really isn't great), friends and family "worried" I was going on my own, but it just felt right. The team of Volcano Safaris are very helpful and accommodating, the actual lodge was perfect, everything you'd want was to hand or available, ask and nothing is too much trouble (I asked to go for a trek and it was sorted in minutes) Take the time to meet the locals, they are so friendly and love to practise their English. This was an absolute joy!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VolcanoesSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Virunga Lodge, responded to this review, April 2, 2014
Hi Andrea,

Thank you for visiting Rwanda with us, your words will be passed on to the lodge staff who will no doubt be overjoyed at how much you have enjoyed your stay. We sincerely hope that you find the time to visit Rwanda or Uganda again soon.

Volcanoes Safaris
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Peterhead, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

Considering the fact that Rwanda is quite a new tourist destination, I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort and the standard of the food at the lodge, was a great experience and the staff were great. One word of warning though. When I got back from the grip to the mountains, we had to leave our grubby muddy boots at reception for them to get cleaned, and the overzealously cleaned off all the waterproofing that I had on my boots. No harm done though as I had carried more waterproofing cream:-)

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VolcanoesSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Virunga Lodge, responded to this review, April 2, 2014
Hi anoushkascotland,

Thank you for visiting Virunga Lodge and leaving your comments for us here! We'll make sure the lodge staff are told about waterproofed boots so it won't happen next time! We're sure the staff at the lodge will be excited to hear your kind words.

Volcanoes Safaris
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London
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

My wife and I (along with another couple) had read some reports about this lodge that were a little disparaging, so we were a little concerned before our trip 3 night trip which was in early Feb 2014 as we also consider ourselves to be quite fussy travellers. But all i can say is from our experience it was simply wonderful on all levels, the accommodation in terms of furnishings, cleanliness, size, comfort, refinement , faultless, the views were simply breathtaking, the food at every meal was just delicious, the service of the staff faultless. Its unfair to call these just rooms as each accommodation is like a little self contained lodge.The area around the camp and the grounds within it were lush and beautiful .Do not miss the local dancing in the camp at 4.30pm most days. If our experience was the norm and i see no reason why it wasn't then i really do not know what there is to complain or find fault about. All the other guests there at the same time that we spoke to had nothing but praise. I have read some that say the lodge is too far from where you start the trek for the gorillas. I agree there are closer lodges but the drive from this lodge to the trek point is around 45 minutes, during which time you get to see the local villages, a chance to stop and interact with the locals and if anything it added to the whole experience.. We know people that stayed closer to the trekking point but had nothing like the overall experience we had.not miss the local dancing in the camp at 4.30pm most days. We did two days, each day a different gorilla group so a different experience. The treks are a lot tougher than we thought they'd be about 2.5 hours each way (medium trek) but the tiredness and exhaustion soon goes as you catch sight of your first silverback. Seeing the gorillas so up close (and i mean upclose!!!!!) is a life changing experience and those memories will live with us forever.

When you tell people that you are off to Rwanda, the first thing that most mention is the genocide, (please go the genocide memorial in Kigali, a fitting memorial and museum to Rwanda's darker period) but there is so much more to Rwanda than the genocide. On the face of it the country and its people have moved on..never to be forgotten but never to be repeated we hope, as Rwanda is a beautiful country, the scenery, the wildlife, the countryside cities and towns are kept spotlessly clean by a very proud people. Oh and the people, the children, who were always so friendly and welcoming, smiling and appeared so happy. All in all Rwanda was a totally wonderful experience, so much better than we were expecting in all ways. There is no denying that Virunga lodge and the gorillas is not a cheap excursion but for something so perfect and the memories it has given us....it was well worth every penny.

Thank you to all those at the Virunna lodge for giving my wife and I along with our friends such a wonderful time.

Room Tip: We had room 1 which overlooked the lakes and was quite close to the dining lodge though really there...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VolcanoesSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Virunga Lodge, responded to this review, April 2, 2014
Hi Andy8600,

Where to begin? We can't thank you enough for your complimentary words here and will certainly make sure that the lodge staff are told that you had such a great experience. We're honoured that you thought so highly of us and hope that we can welcome you back to Rwanda or Uganda in the near future so that we can continue to introduce you to these fantastically diverse countries and people.

Volcanoes Safaris
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Kampala, Uganda
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2014

The majority of visitors use the Lodge as a base for gorilla trekking but you could easily be there for two days just to take in the fantastic views.

The main living and dining area of Virunga Lodge is perched on the top of a hill. The different seating areas in and outside were a great touch. I love the African inspired décor (recently refurbished, I believe) that featured some interesting art and a great range of books. The lovely colourful cushions and open fire in the middle of the room are perfect. (It can get cold at night here).

I stayed in the Bulera banda , which has a fantastic view directly over the lake and its islands. Each room has a different view. The shower in my room was hot and powerful (and driven by solar energy).
I really loved the wood and bright colour combination of the dining room.

We all loved the food at every meal: the salmon mousse went down particularly well. (It seemed greedy to ask for more but I was very tempted!) The soups were all delicious and the desserts were original (not your standard "banana-based dessert" that is so common in many lodges in East Africa.

Apart from the excellent gorilla trekking we also watched traditional dancing by the Intore dancers, a group nurtured by the Lodge. The dancing was great fun. Some of our group also ventured down to meet the kids at the local primary school, another project supported by the Lodge.

Prices are all inclusive (three cooked meals a day plus afternoon tea and biscuits, all alcoholic drinks and a variety of community-based activities). Virunga Lodge is not the cheapest in the area, nor is it the closest to the gorilla trekking, but if you’ve travelled halfway round the world for a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the gorillas, I would highly recommend it. (The free muddy boot-cleaning service post gorilla trekking was a nice touch - thank you.)

Room Tip: The Bulera banda has a fantastic view directly over the lake and its islands. Each room has a differ...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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VolcanoesSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Virunga Lodge, responded to this review, April 2, 2014
Hi CharlieBeau,

Your comments here mean a lot to us and our staff so thank you for leaving them. The salmon mousse is definitely a favourite, that's for sure! We're happy to see that you enjoyed so much of your stay at Virunga Lodge and look forward to seeing you back soon.

Volcanoes Safaris
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Mexico City, Mexico
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

We did not have great expectations for our lodging near Ruhengeri, but Virunga over-delivered. First off, the view is second to none. It's something that will stick with you forever. You have a clear view of the Parc National des Volcans and it's Volcanoes and a clear view of the surrounding lakes. Multiple vantage points within the lodge provide different breath taking views. I took some incredible time lapse footage from these places.

The rooms are very private and quaint, which helps set the tone of your visit. A different atmosphere would feel off point. The lodge's main house is very well set up and helps the guests to get to know each other, which is always interesting. Specially in a place that attracts people from many different countries. The main lodge is the only place in Virunga Lodge with Internet (poor WiFi, at that) and with electrical outlets for charging. That's a small weakness. Nothing too bad.

The staff is very serviceable and the food is OK. Not amazing. However, once again, having your meals with such amazing views, makes the meal itself an afterthought.

Virunga lodge is expensive, but I believe it's still worth it, considering the availability of premium lodging in the area. That said, It might be borderline too expensive. So, do weigh your options.

As far as the Gorilla Trek goes. Be sure to go 2 days on the Trek. We only went one day and regretted it.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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VolcanoesSafaris, Public Relations Manager at Virunga Lodge, responded to this review, April 2, 2014
Hi AlonsoFB,

We agree that people should trek gorillas twice as there's a tendency to only see them through the camera lens because we're all so excited when we see them. A second trip allows you time to enjoy the experience for what it is. We're glad to hear that you enjoyed the Virunga Lodge so much and we hope the timelapse footage was stunning!

Volcanoes Safaris
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pa
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

Stayed here three nights when gorilla trekking. It was a bit far from where you go but I believe well worth the inconvenience. The views are to die for. You eat all your meals either inside or out with stunning views. The lodge is small like eight cabins. So at meals you all dine together at a long table. It is wonderful way to converse with others. The food was the best I had in Africa. It is Eco lodge so have to walk to lodge to charge phone and electronics. The people and service were satisfying beyond your wildest expectations. When you return from gorilla trekking they have a pair of crocs waiting for and return your boots cleaner then the day you bought them. They even wake you in the am with the beverage of your choice.

Room Tip: There all good if walking is issue for you ask for one close to the main lodge
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Virunga Lodge

Address: Lake Bulera, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Phone Number:
Location: Rwanda > Northern Province > Ruhengeri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Ruhengeri
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In a spectacular location overlooking the Virunga volcanoes and shimmering lakes Ruhondo and Bulera.The magnificent Virunga Safari Lodge, set on a stunning hillside, has eight bandas with a panoramic view of the Virunga volcanoes and the lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. The terraced gardens on this high ridge are now well established, with a magical sunken paradise garden as their focal point. Aside from gorilla tracking , clients can climb a volcano, track the golden monkey, visit Dian Fossey's grave or go for gentle strolls around the picturesque villages near the lakes. Three hours' drive from Kigali or a long day's drive from Kampala. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Virunga Hotel Ruhengeri
Virunga Lodge Rwanda/Ruhengeri

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