We recently stayed here for 3 nights while gorilla trekking. Our agent recommended this because of the views and the price being less than the higher priced ones closer to the park headquarters. I can't really express how much we loved staying here .
I had read that some of the bungalows had been newly renovated with plumbing, so we requested one. I do not know if all of them are the same, so you may want to ask. Our bungalow was very large with a big patio in the front, large bedroom with enough room for a sitting area and a desk, and more. The bathroom was large, had two sinks, a big shower and flush toilet. There was hot water, but it took a
l-o-n-g time to come out of the faucet. Everything here is solar, so hot water and electricity is limited. Since we took our showers in the afternoon after returning from the trek, we had hot water. I think one night we wanted a later shower and didn't have hot water. Some people might not be satisfied with this, because although it was less expensive than the higher priced option, it is still pretty expensive. BUT, we think it was well worth the price to stay here. Taking into consideration how much it cost to build this the way it is, how much to keep it running so smoothly in this area, and that the locals really do benefit from it, I can't call it too expensive.
The lodge is about 45 minutes drive from the park headquarters. In spite of the really terrible, bumpy road up the hill, we enjoyed the drive, because it was just so beautiful and so interesting to drive through the villages and town, especially since early in the morning everyone is up and about, going here and there, and the roads are just full of people. The lodge itself is up on a ridge overlooking two beautiful lakes, and all the villages below, plus the 5 volcanos. The views are absolutely stunning and worth every penny we paid just to be able to enjoy them over and over. In fact, other lodges and guides bring their guests up here just to look at the views, but nothing could beat being able to see the every day.
The staff is just wonderful. The chef even comes down to the bungalow personally to tell you what is on the menu and get your order for dinner! The communal areas are lovely, well decorated, comfortable, and cozy. The food was very good for Africa, and the staff was shy but professional. And they really care about doing a good job. They all came down to welcome us, and then again to say farewell when we had to leave. I'm sure that all of them are from the local villages.
The locals also have one of the two best dance troupes in Rwanda, and they will perform for the guests on the big grassy plot above the lodge, which is actually now used also as a helicopter pad for transfer to and from Kigali. I highly, highly recommend going to the dance performance as it is just wonderful, and performed by several dozen young people, and a musician. Very colorful, professional, beautiful and lively. The dancers will come over to you personally and explain the meanings of the different dances.
We did the loop walk around the front of the property, and as soon as they saw us, about 15 village children came running up the hill to meet and talk with us. It was just the warmest, most wonderful experience, including one of the children even singing a lovely song for us.
I heard from one of the guests that the massage offered was very good, but was so taken with the beauty that I kept forgetting to book one.
As with most African lodges, they do laundry and clean your shoes after trekking.
I could not recommend Virunga Lodge more highly, and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
- Also Known As:
- Virunga Hotel
- Virunga Hotel Ruhengeri
- Virunga Lodge Rwanda/Ruhengeri
- 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