We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Gorgeous setting and warm staff. Food...”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Virunga Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Ruhengeri
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Virunga Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
california
Level Contributor
52 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Gorgeous setting and warm staff. Food...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2010

Gorgeous setting and warm staff.
Food was good to very good in a country where most people live off the land. The rooms were wonderful considering the lodge is so Eco friendly. It's where to stay if you're going to see the gorillas in Volcanos Park. Plan way ahead. It's magic.

  • Stayed September 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CaliforniaFussbudget
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

252 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    184
    44
    19
    2
    3
See reviews for
35
115
31
5
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
switzerland
Level Contributor
26 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2010

The price is high....but for us it was worth it. The staff is very friendly. The Lodge itself special and the view outstandig. The food was great. It's a good place for 1 night (for more nights its to expensive)

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sascha_rita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2010

We spent 3 unforgettable nights at Virunga Lodge and wished only that we had more time there! When you arrive and look around, you will likley wonder how in the world they managed to build this incredible place - seemingly on top of the world. The view alone is worth the trip - and, in fact, many people visit the lodge for lunch or afternoon tea just to be able to look out at the volcanoes and lakes.
We loved out "banda" (cottage), and appreciated the hot, running water and flushing toilets.
The staff were unparalelled - kind, welcoming, professional - constantly going out of their way to make sure we were happy.
I had suggested the Sabinyo Silverback Lodge to my travel agent when planning our trip, but he really felt we would love Virunga Lodge. Boy am I ever pleased that we listened!!
You will not be disappointed and will not want to leave...

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Globetrotter30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Athens, Georgia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2010

While the view is spectacular and the service is wonderful, having no power or hot water is inexcusable for a hotel that costs this much. I agree that the drive up is a drag but would have been worth it if there were a hot shower and power in the room at the end of it. After a long, muddy, rainy gorilla trek, no hot water is the worst at this price.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dianefossey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2010

Incredible. Stunning location, peaceful, and relaxing, this is a great place to stay on any trip to Rwanda. The staff are unfailingly polite, helpful and genuine, and are always on hand for anything you need.

Back from a day in the mountains tracking gorillas? - they'll have all your gear and boots cleaned up for you in time for your next trek tomorrow. Nothing is too much trouble.

The individual bungalows are fantastic and with there being only 8 of them it makes it feel like an intimate hideaway. Even if the place was full (16 people max) you'd still have no problem finding a quiet spot to read or just enjoy the incredible views from around the main building or out on your own porch. Every window seems to look out on a beautiful view and sitting around the fire at night makes you want to stay there for ever.

All the bungalows have now been renovated to include regular flushing toilets and regular showers, so the "african bush chic" description that kept cropping up in my research is a bit outdated now. The water is heated by solar power but even on cloudy days was still comfortable and very welcoming after stumbling around in the jungle all day.

I seriously can't wait to go back to this place and couldn't recommend it highly enough. People have their own opinions but if half the hotels i stayed at were as great as this, or had staff who were as friendly, i don't think i'd ever come home!

On top of that Rwanda is a truly amazing little country. I've never come across people who were so friendly, welcoming and cheerful. In a land where life is pretty hard for the majority of people it's a humbling experience to travel there and really puts all those petty trials and hassles of everyday life in the UK in to perspective.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tw2310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level Contributor
232 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2009

Virunga Lodge has a specatcular setting on a mountain to with amazing views. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food was a bit hit or miss. Dinner our first night was cold and nearly inedible, on the 2nd night just OK, on the 3rd night it was superb. Breakfast was always very good. Service was also a bit inconsistent. Showers seemed to always be late or early, and often when we went to the bar we could not find anyone to serve us. Our room, the Bunyonyi, was excellent - very comfortable and large with great views. It was also the closest to the lounge/dining area, but still completely private. We highly recommend this room. The lodge grounds were very unattractive during our visit due to some renovations and landscaping taking place. Apparently they are installing proper flush toilets, which I'm sure many guests will welcome. However, we think it is a waste of money. The waterless eco-toilets are perfectly acceptable and much more environmentally friendly. Apparently the renovations are due to be completed in January.

If you have free time we highly recommend walking to the local village and visiting the school. Be prepared to make many new friends because you will quickly be surrounded by lots of children who are eager to practice their English and pose for photographs. Don't take trinkets or candy - It just isn't necessary and unless you have enough for everyone (which is unlikely) you'll only create a ruckus. If you want to give, then give cash to the Lodge. They use donations to buy things for the school that benefit all students.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank R A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iver, Buckinghamshire
Level Contributor
35 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 3, 2009

After huge amounts of research for our dream visit to see the mountain Gorillas I finally decided to spend our 3 nights at Virunga Lodge.Whilst I definately don't regret it I do think there is room for improvement when you consider how much it costs to stay there.
I agree with other reviews that the drive is quite rough going but they were working on road improvements when we were there & we thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the local people & villages on the way.The location of the lodge is wonderful & the bandas have great views over the lakes & mountains.The rooms are very comfortable with ample space & adequate facilities including limited electricity in the early morning when you are getting ready for your trek & early evening too.We found the beds to be very comfortable ( there are 2 double beds) & the hot water bottles very welcoming.
The staff have a seperate door access to your bathroom & before you wake up they bring enough warm water for you to have a wash & they need about an hours warning to arrange hot water for the bucket shower when you return later. We always showered together just in case the water ran out.
Although we were prepared for the compost toilets I must admit they took some getting used to & were a constant source of discussion amongst the guests!We were lucky enough to meet some really nice people whilst we were there ( Hello Yvonne,Evelyn,Bill ,Lucy,Stephanie & Michael) & we all had a good laugh about the loos. Apparently because they cause some distress to some guests there is talk about plumbing in proper toilets but considering how precious water is in Rwanda I'm not sure this is the answer.I will assure people though that there are no problems with smells of any kind so the set up does work.
Like other reviewers we found all the staff very friendly & there did seem to be a lot of them about, but it seemed at times they were busy doing nothing.
I would like to emphasise that we're not the sort of people that expect others to run around after us but we had a few unfortunate incidents of poor service which was mildly irritating.There were misunderstandings of what morning beverages we ordered.We waited 40 minutes for a beer & 1 hour 10 mins for orange juice to be brought to our room after returning from a gorilla trek & we had offered to go to the bar to get them ourselves but the staff insisted no & on our last night we hadn't realised that the chef hadn't asked us what we wanted for dinner that night so when we sat down with the other guests there was no meals ready for us.As we are not fussy they brought us food within 10 mins but of course we weren't eating at the same time as the other guests we were sitting with( you all eat at a communal table).The reason we thought this was poor service is because there are only 8 rooms there ( some more being built now) & they surely must have counted how many guests they had to feed!
The food is quite nice & you won't starve but we certainly didn't go to Rwanda for its cuisine.
We just think that the staff need better training & if we hadn't paid so much for our stay then we wouldn't be so critical.
The sad part is if you are using Virunga Lodge as your base for Gorilla trekking as we did, then you don't really get the time to appreciate its peaceful & beautiful surroundings unless you can afford to stay there & not go out.
Also it doesn't offer lodgings for your drivers so they have to stay elsewhere then drive to collect you for your 6am departure & take you on the 45 minute drive to check in at the Virunga Park headquarters,where you then stand around till 8am ish before being allocated a gorilla group.
In hindsight (or for our next visit?!) I think I would probably stay somewhere cheaper & closer to the park headquarters because trekking to see the Gorillas is such an amazing experience that even fussy old me wouldn't be too worried where I stay as its irrelevant to what you've been lucky enough to witness up in the mountains.
Also in case any people reading this are still a bit apprehensive about the trekking to see the Gorillas (as I was) then don't be as most people we met had very enjoyable walks & not at all strenuous( as we found) although the Susa gorilla group are the most challenging to find if you want that.
Another point to make is that we were told to take Malarone malaria tablets for Rwanda which we bought in the UK & found when we got there that as its 3000metres its too cold for mosquitos! However if you're staying in Kigali there is malaria there.
Sadly we didn't get chance to visit the local village school but other guests did & said it was very enjoyable.We got our guide to take us to an orphanage in Musanze as we'd taken clothes,footballs ,tennis balls & small cuddly toys with us & we had a truly rewarding ( but naturally upsetting) time.

So wherever you chose to stay, ENJOY CLEAN & BEAUTIFUL RWANDA & ITS LOVELY FRIENDLY SMILING PEOPLE AND THE ADORABLE GORILLAS.
We had a truly amazing time and would love to go back again!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank travelmadIver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Ruhengeri
10.2 mi away
Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel
12.9 mi away
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
12.7 mi away
Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
11.4 mi away
Villa Gorilla
Villa Gorilla
#3 of 8 in Kinigi
4.5 of 5 bubbles 106 reviews
32.9 mi away
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
#6 of 31 in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
5.0 of 5 bubbles 218 reviews
10.7 mi away
Red Rocks Rwanda - Campsite & Guesthouse
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Virunga Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Virunga Lodge

Property: Virunga Lodge
Address: Lake Bulera, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Phone Number:
Location: Rwanda > Northern Province > Musanze District > Ruhengeri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 17 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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing