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The Original Gorilla Lodge in Rwanda

The magnificent Virunga Lodge in Rwanda is one of Africa’s most loved lodges. Perched high on a ridge with dramatic views overlooking the Virunga Volcanoes, Musanze valley, Lake Bulera and Lake Ruhondo.

The iconic property has defined Rwandese Afro-chic since the lodge was built by Praveen Moman in 2004. The timeless, hand-made style makes it the first accommodation choice for tracking the endangered mountain gorilla.

Exceptional hospitality, locally-inspired food and a private butler are hallmarks of the guest experience.

Each of the ten elegant bandas has a private terrace overlooking the dramatic landscape. The three deluxe bandas offer a private suite.

Lodge Overview

Enjoy the finest views in Africa, overlooking the Virunga Volcanoes and the Musanze valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east.

Ten elegant hand built guest bandas facing either the Virunga Volcanoes or beautiful twin lakes (Three deluxe and seven standard rooms). 

Wifi throughout the lodge and all-inclusive premium wines, whiskies and cocktails.

Trek the endangered mountain gorillas and rare golden monkeys in the Virunga Mountains in the Volcanoes National Park. 

Enjoy complimentary spa treatments and massages, including the famous Rungu massage at Ikirunga – Spa & Sauna. 

Exceptional hospitality and locally-inspired food. Personal butler service for all guests. 

Dian Fossey Map Room, built in 2017 to celebrate 50 years since Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Centre. Available for conservation lectures. 

Join in with the “One Sheep per Family”, “Donate a Water Tank” and the Intore Dance community projects.

Hike to Dian Fossey’s grave in the Volcanoes National Park and visit the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Kinigi. 

The Dian Fossey Map Room

The Dian Fossey Map Room at Virunga Lodge has been built in honor of Dr. Dian Fossey, the pioneer primatologist who set up the Karisoke Center high in the Virunga volcanoes in 1967. The exploration and conservation of the Virunga volcanoes is a very interesting and unique story and has been brought together for the first time in the amazing exhibition at the Dian Fossey Map Room at Virunga Lodge.

The Dian Fossey Map Room was opened on 2 March 2017. A permanent exhibition has been set up in the Map Room charting the ‘Conservationists and Explorers of the Virunga Volcanoes’ from 1850 to 1985 when Fossey died. The exhibition and catalogue have been curated by Giulia Ajmone Marsan, a writer on historical subjects.

Interior of The Dian Fossey Map Room at Volcanoes Safaris Virunga Lodge in Rwanda

Safaris

“A magnificent lodge with beautifully designed bandas and a private terrace. The staff’s warm hospitality and professionalism made our stay at Virunga lodge a wonderful one.”
MASS Design Group
“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!”
Renee, USA
“Words do not suffice how beautiful it is here!”
Byishimo, Portland
“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!”
Adrian, Australia
“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.”
Manuel, 6 day Gahinga and Virunga
“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.”
Nanci, USA

Booking Enquiry

To make a booking, please complete this form or click here to chat to one of our sales consultants via our live chat. Alternatively, send us an email on enquiries@volcanoessafaris.com.
To protect gorillas from disease, no children under 15 years are allowed to go gorilla tracking. For guests booking a stay at Virunga Lodge, please note that the minimum age limit for children at Virunga Lodge is 12 years.

Virunga Lodge Fact Sheet

The Lodge

  • 10 luxury bandas. 6 doubles, 2 twins, 3 deluxe, all with a fireplace in the room and a terrace overlooking the volcanoes or the twin lakes. 1 guide/tour room available at the lodge.
  • 3 larger deluxe bandas perfect for honeymoon couples or families.
  • All rooms are complete with en-suite bathrooms with flushing toilet, double vanity and shower with hot & cold running water.
  • Sun terrace overlooking the Virunga Volcanoes with scenic panoramic views.
  • Personal butler service for all guests.
  • The Ikirunga Spa is available to every guest.
    One 50-minute complimentary massage per guest per stay. Extra massages are available at $50 per 50-minute massage.
  • Full board accommodation including all soft drinks and regular and premium alcoholic beverages including cocktails, cellar collection wines and single malt whiskies. Guests pay for French champagne only.
  • Complimentary laundry service.
  • Power sockets/charging facilities and hair
    dryers available in the rooms. No air
    conditioners.
  • Wi-Fi is available in the main lodge and all
    guest bandas.
  • Sales Tool Kit with images, videos, rates, etc
    can be viewed at this link.

Safari & Lodge Activities

  • Gorilla tracking (exclusive gorilla tracking available).
  • Golden Monkey tracking.
  • Enjoy an Intore dance performance.
  • Take part in the VSPT “One-Sheep-Per-Family” project and Water Tank project.
  • Take part in the solar power project.
  • Hike to Dian Fossey’s grave.
  • Visit the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian
    Fossey Gorilla Fund.
  • Hike Karisimbi or Visoke Volcanoes.

Getting to the Lodge

  • From Kigali: 20 minutes by helicopter or 3- hour drive.
  • From Entebbe: 1-hour flight + 2-hour drive.
  • From Bwindi Lodge (Kihihi): 15-minute flight or a 4-hour walk through the forest + 2-hour
    drive.
  • From Kyambura Gorge Lodge (Kasese): 15-
    minute flight + 2-hour drive.

Seasons & Climate

  • Average daytime temperatures: 15-25 celsius, at night: 5-15 celsius.
  • Rwanda is an all-year-round destination. High season: 15 Dec – 28 Feb / 1 Jun – 30 Sep. Low season: 1 Oct – 14 Dec / 1 Mar – 31 May.

Useful Information

  • Lodge altitude: 2,200m. GPS coordinates: 1.447133, 29.741633.
  • Credit card payments are accepted at the lodge (Amex, Visa and MasterCard). Cash payments or cheques are not accepted.
  • Gratuities are at the discretion of the guest. For VS lodge staff and guides we suggest $5- 10 or more per day. For park guides $5-10 and for trackers $15 per guest.
  • Children under 15 years of age are not permitted to track the gorillas. Children under 12 years of age are not permitted at the lodge.
  • Check out time for all guests is 11am.
Gorilla

Virunga Lodge: Safari Activities

Gorilla Tracking

Gorilla

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 10m 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.

ML Golden Monkey

Virunga Lodge: Safari Activities

Golden Monkey Tracking

ML Golden Monkey

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.

Dian Fossey Digit

Virunga Lodge: Safari Activities

Visit Dian Fossey's Grave

Dian Fossey Digit

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.

Sinamatella Rwanda Virunga Volcano View

Virunga Lodge: Safari Activities

Climb A Volcano

Sinamatella Rwanda Virunga Volcano View

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.

Mountain Trekking

Virunga Lodge: Safari Activities

Birding

Mountain Trekking

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.

Volcanoes Safaris Uganda Domestic Life

Virunga Lodge: Safari Activities

Community Walk

Volcanoes Safaris Uganda Domestic Life

Community walk

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