Volcanoes Virunga Lodge
Volcanoes National Park, Virungas and northern Rwanda, Rwanda
At a Glance
Visit the local community projects and the school
Trekking for Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the Virunga Mountains
Sit on the deck and soak in the spectacular views
Beautiful walks around the lodge
Trek for the Golden Monkey
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Rwanda can be visited at any time of year. There are two annual rainy seasons: the big rains which last from mid-February to the beginning of June, and the small rains from mid-September to mid-December. Rainfall, especially over the mountains, is heavy during these two periods, particularly from March to May. The long dry season, June to September, is the best time for tracking gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park and for hiking in Nyungwe Forest Reserve.
Virunga Lodge has ten cottages set in an incredible position with views of the Virunga volcanoes and shimmering lakes Ruhondo and Burera. The lodge is a great base from which to go gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park.
The magnificent Volcanoes Virunga Lodge, set on a stunning hillside, has eight bandas and two new larger deluxe banda cottages with breath-taking panoramic views of six of the eight surrounding volcanoes in between 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 monkeys, visit Diane Fossey's grave or go for gentle strolls around the picturesque villages near the lakes. The lodge is about an hour's drive from the park headquarters, where the gorilla treks depart from. The eight spacious stone cottages, all have wooden floors, chunky wooden furniture and large verandas. Each is connected by a short covered walkway to a private loo and shower. The loos are low-flushing eco loos and the shower has solar heated hot water. The deluxe bandas are a little larger with a sitting room and open fireplace and larger deck from where you can relax and soak up the endless view. Virunga Lodge is quite a sociable place to be as everyone eats at one large table in the evening. Aside from gorilla-tracking, a local 'Intore' dance troupe perform here and massages are available.
Volcanoes Virunga Lodge has eight stone cottages and 2 deluxe suites with a panoramic view of the Virunga volcanoes and the lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. The eight spacious en-suite stone rooms, all have wooden floors, chunky wooden furniture and large verandas. The rooms are bright and airy.
Children of all ages are welcome at Volcanoes Virunga Lodge. The family cottage was especially designed with families in mind and it therefore provides the perfect choice of accommodation if you are traveling with younger ones. However, it should be noted that children under the age of 15 are not permitted to visit the gorillas.
Gorilla trekking, to one of the six gorilla families in the vicinity, is the primary activity form the Lodge but there are plenty of other excursions such as a visit to Diane Fossey’s grave, tracking the Golden Monkeys, climb a volcano or hike to some lovely waterfalls. Guests can also experience some local culture with a walk to the local village, watch Intore dancers as well as visit local community projects and a local school.
Also, if you are looking for a souvenir or two, there is a well stocked curio shop at the lodge where guests can purchase a variety of locally made and sourced items.
Jules Maury (Staff)
The oldest lodge in the Volcanoes National Park and undoubtedly from its perch high on the ridge, has the most stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze Valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhono to the east. Rooms are decorated in Rwandese style, wholesome food and a very personalized service make this a perfect space to stay for your gorilla trekking experiences. The 10 bandas have a private terrace either overlooking the lakes or the volcanoes so everyone has a stunning view. A little further from the park reception, there is a 50 minute drive each day but this is worth it for the wonderful scenery and position.
If you go all dreamy at the very thought of mountain gorillas, put this at the top of your bucket list. Virunga Lodge has been here for ten years, and to celebrate has created two new suites, overlooking Lake Bulera and the very volcanic foothills where Dian Fossey had her big gorilla love-in. It's all terrifically 'Out of Africa': shared candlelit suppers, wraparound verandas, four-poster beds, open fires and private terraces for misty mountain gazing and sun-drowsy snoozes. You'll need those naps, as you're here for one thing: the gorillas, which you'll be tracking from before dawn, scrambling up through slippery forest (often in mud and pouring rain, for hours and hours and hours). But it's all worth it when you find them, hanging out, having a natter, chomping away, giving you the once-over every now and again. Magical.
Sharing time and space with wild gorillas in their natural habitat could be one of the most intimate and moving experiences of your life. And there is no better place to enjoy this than the Virunga Lodge, a new safari base perched on a lush hillside near the Virunga volcanoes in Rwanda an ideal location for the sometimes arduous trek through the mist-cloaked forests.
There are only eight bandas dotted around Virunga Camp, which is committed to eco-friendly principles: it uses solar power and has limited water consumption. It is not a luxury camp, but the far reaching views over the volcanoes and lakes Ruhondo and Bulera are the best substitutes for hot baths and fluffy towels.
Experiences and activities in the Virungas
Rwanda's Parc National des Volcans surely must rank at the top of any list for the sheer majesty of its landscapes. It's a land of soaring cloud capped volcanoes, beautiful mountain lakes and warm welcoming people.
Golden Monkey trekking
Trekking to see the Golden Monkeys in Uganda and Rwanda is a great trip where you will witness these inquisitive animals leaping from branch to branch around you.
Gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcanoes, through the mountainous forest on the slopes of the Virunga range, is a magical experience. Seeing a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat is one of the world's most thrilling wildlife experiences.
Romantic Rwanda and Tanzania
Virunga Volcanoes, Serengeti and Zanzibar
from $13000 pp 11 nights
- Ultimate wildlife experiences including gorilla tracking, watching big cats in the Serengeti, and during some months even seeing the Great Migration
- Unwind after your safari adventures on the soft sandy beaches of Zanzibar
- A truly special trip – ideal for celebrating a honeymoon, special birthday or anniversary
Location & directions
Volcanoes National Park, Virungas and northern Rwanda, Rwanda
Volcanoes Virunga Lodge is located in north western Rwanda, around 45 minutes' drive from the park headquarters where you start your gorilla trekking adventures. The lodge has a beautiful hillside position overlooking the twin lakes, Burera and Ruhondo.
How to get there
It is an 8-hour 30-minute international flight to Nairobi followed by a 2-hour international flight to the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali and from there the Volcanoes Virunga Lodge is then around a three hour drive.