This place was home for four days, it was about a 2-3 hr from Kigali, a very pleasant drive and a great way to see the country with a thousand hills. There were four in our group with three rooms, my room was no. 1., close to the main lodge and with a beautiful view of the lake beneath, other rooms had views of either the lake or the volcanoes with their stunning cloud formations. The room was really a spacioua cottage, with a nice terrace area with lounge chairs, a four poster bed with mosquitoes netting ( but I did not get one single bite during the 5 days in this country) tons of candles, electricity and hot water from solar panels, comfy sitting sofa and writing desk, and a cheerful bathroom and toilet that looked out at the scenery in the garden.
It was rainy season so we had momentary bursts of sunshine and warmth but also hours of cold wet weather where we congregated along with fellow travellers around the fireplace in the main lodge to swapped tales and photos. All meals were served in the main lodge as well, good food in general and unlimited alcohol.
This place was not luxurious the way Indian safaris are ( ie not the Oberoi Jaipur "tents" with marble bathrooms, tubs and quilted tents) but it was comfortable and mostly built from local material (ie volcanic rocks).
Views were amazing all over the property, plenty of opportunity to admire the volcanoes, the abundant birdlife, or take one of the walks around the property.
Service was excellent and much better vs what we experienced ie in the best hotels in Kigali (whether Serena or hotel mille) ie tea delivered to the room 5 am, the staff would greet us post hike in the rain with umbrellas, take our muddy boots, and return them end of the day cleaned and looking almost brand new. Dinner was always lovingly prepared with choice of three entrees, the beds were warmed up nightly with hot water bottles.
The highlight of any outing here of course is to see the mountain gorillas, so much more interesting an encounter vs a typical African sit in your jeep & look for the big 5 experience, & this lodge was a perfect place for this.
Only word of advice: don't fly Kenya air (codeshare Delta & Klm,) I fly constantly and rank Kenya air as THE worst ( Air India a close 2nd). My trip home included two horrific KA segments which turned the normally 20 hr return trip into a 60 hr trip ordeal. My friends had six segments on KA and everything that could go wrong ( ie lost luggages, tons of mechanical failures, food poisoning, arbitrarily changed flights without notification, missed connection due to KA "technical issues", being dropped off at KA arranged airport hotels only to realize hotel was full, etc. It was ridiculous ... Don't fly KA unless time is not important (ie no job or loved ones to return to) & you enjoy sleeping in airports.
- 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