Virunga Lodge

The magnificent Virunga Lodge is a premier luxury gorilla lodge of Rwanda and one of Africa’s finest and most renowned lodges. The lodge is perched high on a ridge with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east.

It offers the finest views in Africa, uniquely decorated rooms in the Rwandese style, fantastic food and exceptional and personalised service by our carefully trained staff. It is the first accommodation choice for the luxury traveller tracking the endangered mountain gorilla.

Each of the ten luxurious bandas has a private terrace from which  guests can watch the sunrise over the dramatic landscape of mountains and lakes. Luxuriously appointed, with the accent on vibrant Rwandese fabrics and stylish locally inspired furniture. Each Banda has an individual fireplace, a luxury shower room with a double vanity, and charging station. The two deluxe bandas – called Ibirunga and Ibiyaga added in 2014 have their own private sitting room and more refined interiors.

 

Gorilla Tracking
Tracking mountain gorillas through the dense African forests is a magical experience. Only eight visitors are allowed per gorilla group each day, and to minimize possible transmission of human diseases, visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7m (about 22 feet) from the gorillas. Typically, tracking can take from 3 to 8 hours and requires some agility and fitness; however, all fitness levels can be accommodated and no one should feel deterred from missing this once in a lifetime experience.

Golden Monkey Tracking
With only a small number remaining in the world, the Golden Monkey can be found in the foothills of the volcanic mountains of Mgahinga National Park in Uganda and in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Characterized by its bright golden body, cheeks and tail, with contrasting black limbs, crown and tail end, these playful primates are a pleasure to watch. Whether you choose to do this on the Rwandan or Ugandan side, the walk will take you from the bamboo stands and forested gorge on the lower levels of the volcanoes, to the elevated heath and moorland higher up.

Visit Dian Fossey's Grave
Located in a beautiful meadow nestled between the Karisimbi and Visoke volcanoes are the graves of Dian Fossey and some of her beloved research gorillas. For anyone interested in gorilla conservation in Rwanda, or interested in Fossey’s personal story, the trek to her grave is highly recommended. This trek starts early in the morning, can take 6-8 hours and is operated by the National Park.

Birding
Both Uganda and Rwanda offer some of the world’s best bird watching, with a vast diversity of bird species. Uganda has over 1,000 bird species with 150 found only in Uganda. Rwanda has over 700 bird species and is home to the second highest number of Albertine endemics in the Albertine region. Each of our lodges offers the chance to see a number of different birds, with the vast majority endemic to the Region.

Intore Dancers
In the late afternoon we invite you to enjoy a performance by the local community’s traditional dance troupe, which is supported by the Volcanoes Safari Partnership Trust (VSPT). The VSPT has been working with the dance troupe at the Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge in Rwanda, since 2004.

Today, the group is made up of 24 dancers and two dance trainers. The dance troupe performs the traditional Rwandan ballet called The Intore, which is based on the courtly victory dance of the Rwandan mwami (kings).

Climb a Volcano
Guests of Virunga lodge have easy access to the Virunga chain of volcanoes, which offer challenging hikes and stunning panoramas. The three most popular volcanoes to climb are Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Sabyinyo, and Mt. Muhavura. These hikes are of varying difficulty and typically take a full day. The treks starts at 7:00am from the park headquarters, from where visitors will have to drive / be driven to the base of the volcano.

Lake Bulera Village Walk
On a free afternoon at Virunga Lodge we recommend taking advantage of the lodge’s unique position by meandering down the mountain slope, through local villages, and to Lake Bulera, which sits at its foot. Passing through the local communities offers a colorful peek into village life and opportunities to visit local schools and community centers.

 

 

Accommodations
  • 10 Stone guest bandas with tile roofs (2 deluxe, 4 doubles and 4 twins) reflect the local building style
  • En-suite bathrooms with flushing toilet, double vanity, shower with hot and cold running water
  • Rooms have mosquito nets, 240v lighting and a private veranda
  • Bandas are individually named after regional African lakes

Amenities

  • Wifi access in the main lodge building and Dian Fossey Map Room
  • One complimentary massage per guest
  • Premium wine, whisky, and cocktail menus
  • Complimentary laundry and boot cleaning service
  • Butler service for each room from July 2017

Getting there

  • 20 minute helicopter transfer from Kigali International Airport direct to the lodge
  • 3 hour drive from Kigali International Airport
  • 2 hour drive from Mount Gahinga Lodge
  • 6 hour drive from Bwindi Lodge
  • 7 hour drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge 


Virunga Water Tank Project
Although it rains heavily around Virunga Lodge, there are very few facilities for water catchment and storage and in the dry season there is an acute shortage of water. The villagers in Sunzu village around the lodge do not have enough clean water for drinking or for growing crops.

Starting in 2016, Virunga Lodge has been providing plastic water tanks to the local community and with the support of our guests, Virunga Lodge has donated over 60 tanks as of June 2017. Our target is to provide 30 more to the remaining families by the end of 2017.

Virgunga "One Sheep Per Family" Project
In June 2014 Virunga Lodge launched the “One Sheep per Family” project, to provide one sheep to each of the 140 families in the Sunzu community. The sheep manure provides natural and effective fertiliser for growing crops. As well as providing manure, selling lambs provide income for the family.

For the project to work effectively, the community is divided up into 14 groups and each group is given nine females and one male. After all females produce an offspring, the breeding males are rotated to a different group for genetic diversity. A new family takes over caring for the male and donates one female offspring back to the previous ram caretaker.

As of May 2017, with the generous support of the guests, all 140 families have received a sheep under this successful initiative! We are now implementing the same project in the neighbouring village, Bugeyo, to enhance the number of villagers who benefit surrounding Virunga Lodge.

Pack for a Purpose
Virunga Lodge is a proud member of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the projects we support in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click here to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects at Virunga Lodge.
 

 

For more information on Virunga Lodge click HERE

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