The magnificent Virunga Lodge, celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2019, is the luxury gorilla experience in Rwanda and one of Africa’s finest and most renowned lodges. The lodge is perched high on a ridge with the finest views in Africa, overlooking the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east.
The iconic property has defined Rwandese Afro-chic since the lodge was built by Praveen Moman in 2004. The understated, timeless, hand-made style has been further refined to meet the needs of today’s luxury traveller during 2020.
Fantastic food and exceptional personalised service by our carefully trained staff make it the first accommodation choice for tracking the endangered mountain gorilla.
Each of our ten luxurious bandas has a private terrace from which our guests can watch the sunrise over the dramatic landscape of mountains and lakes, an individual fire place, a shower room with a double vanity.
The two deluxe bandas – called Ibirunga and Ibiyaga – have their own private sitting room and more refined interiors and will also include a hot tub and a larger terrace overlooking the majestic Virunga volcanoes or the twin lakes.
- 10 bandas. Guide cottage available
- Personal butler service for all guests
- Ikirunga – Spa & Sauna
- Community projects
- Dian Fossey Map Room available for private events and conservation lectures
- Wi-Fi access in the main lodge building and Dian Fossey Map Room. Charging facilities available in each banda.
- Premium wine, whisky, and cocktail menus
- 40-min drive to Park headquarters
Ready to book your stay at Virunga Lodge? Contact our sales team now!
Africa’s Most Romantic Hotel
Virunga Lodge won the 2016 Africa’s Most Romantic Hotel at the World Boutique Hotel Awards.
Activities at Virunga Lodge
The Dian Fossey Map Room has been built in honour of Dr. Dian Fossey, the pioneer primatologist who set up the Karisoke Center high in the Virunga volcanoes in 1967.
Visit the permanent exhibition in the Map Room charting the ‘Conservationists and Explorers of the Virunga Volcanoes’ from 1850 to 1985 when Fossey died or enjoy a conservation lecture by local conservation associations.
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.
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.
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.
With the generous support of the guests, all 140 families have now 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. Bugeyo village has a total of 175 families and, as of October 2019, 153 families have received a sheep thanks to the generous donations.
Click on the ‘donate’ button below to donate one sheep ($40) to one of the Bugeyo community.
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.
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.
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).
Guests staying at Virunga Lodge or Gahinga 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 drive to the base of the volcano.
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.
“They say that feng shui gives you peace and harmony but nothing like the tranquillity and serenity that embraces you on arrival at Virunga Lodge. The love from Praveen and his family and his staff exudes in making a stay here totally unique.”
Duchess of York
“Virunga Lodge – my favourite place in Rwanda”
Clare Richardson, President Emerita, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
The staff at Virunga Lodge offered unparalleled service and professionalism. Our deluxe banda was beautifully appointed and very comfortable – great bed! Virunga is a magnificent place to stay…
Diane and Claudio, Canada
“In all my years this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed! Congratulations on everything you do for the community!”
“Words do not suffice how beautiful it is here!”
“Should western societies globally follow by example Volcanoes Safaris conservation and community ethos, our world would be a better place. We have respect and appreciation for what you are doing. Thank you!”
“Coming to the Volcanoes Park to see the gorillas cannot be a complete experience without staying at Virunga Lodge, a little paradise with wonderful views and the most helpful, pleasant and efficient staff to make our stay a perfect experience!”
Mark and Anne, UK
“We travelled to Rwanda with the sole intention of going in search for the gorillas. I can only say that it’s been the best experience of my life.”
“It was so nice to sit out on the patio and watch the clouds and listen to the sounds rise up. I’d go back in a heartbeat.”
“This is the most luxurious lodge in the region. There are other lodges closer to the park but the views from this mountain top lodge and the incredible service and meals and free daily massages all make this lodge THE place to stay.”
Safaris at Virunga Lodge
This short & sweet stay offers the opportunity to engage with the endangered mountain gorillas and the local community, and is the perfect addition to any larger Africa itinerary. As the premier luxury destination for trekking with the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Virunga Lodge offers guests unparalleled panoramas, beautiful accommodations, and personalized service.
On this 6-day tour of Rwanda and Uganda you will have the opportunity to experience ancient Batwa culture, climb a volcano, track golden monkeys, and track the majestic mountain gorillas in either Uganda, Rwanda – or both!