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“Great base for gorilla trek and not ridiculously overpriced”
Review of Virunga Hotel

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Virunga Hotel
Ranked #5 of 17 Ruhengeri B&B and Inns
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great base for gorilla trek and not ridiculously overpriced”
Reviewed 24 May 2010

Before travelling to Rwanda, I researched hotels in Ruhengeri and the price at the famous lodges was shocking - like, USD$500 per person per night.

We were only staying in the area for one night, the night before our gorilla trek, and to pay such a high rate seemed like a colossal waste of money. So I took a gamble and booked a room at Virunga Hotel through their website, reconfirmed by email.

I was surprisingly pleased with the accommodation. The hotel is not atmospheric, scenic, or fancy - so don't expect that - but it was a clean, newish business hotel in the town for the reasonable rate of USD$80 for a double room . Our room was simple but tidy, clean, comfortable and new-feeling, not old and grungy. There was a TV and free WiFi, although the signal was low in the room and it worked best in the restaurant/bar downstairs.

The best thing about the place was the service. The young man at the front desk, Olivier, without being asked put us in a room near the back of the hotel in case there was noise (our room was dead quiet, but there might have been street noise if we were in a room overlooking the road).

We had a problem with our gorilla trek booking -- there had been a mix-up; in the end after a lot of stress it turned out fine -- and a genuinely concerned Olivier went out of his way to assist us and take care of us. He even accompanied us to the park office in the morning to make sure that we were OK.

The hotel manager was frequently around, asking if everything was all right.

It took only 15 minutes to travel from the hotel to the national park office, where you must go in the morning before beginning the trek, to be divided into groups. You will then require a 4x4 vehicle to travel to the location where you will start the trek. We were able to rent a good vehicle/driver through the Virunga Hotel - I can't remember the cost but it was reasonable.

The only problem was the free breakfast, included in the room rate. It was slow to prepare and wasn't ready in time, and so we only had bread to eat before our four-hour trek. I would recommend leaving a lot of time for breakfast, or asking the night before if they can prepare something quickly.

But otherwise I would highly recommend staying at Virunga Hotel if you are looking for a cheaper, just fine alternative to the expensive lodges in the area.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank wrongwaysmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
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English first
Brooklyn-Phoenicia NY
Level 3 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2010

this is an under-the-radar hotel with exceptional service in the heart of ruhengeri. we stayed for a few days while gorilla & monkey trekking and visiting friends in ruhengeri. they were more than accomodating in terms of early breakfast (pre-gorilla trekking). breakfast was made to order.

they have a nice little bar with free wifi (good connection) and an adjacent great restaurant. they had no problem when we ordered food not on the menu. everything was made to order. it's a good business hotel that goes out of its way to accomodate tourists.

the rooms are very clean, spacious and have comfortable beds. shower consistently had hot water and good water pressure.

the staff are great people and were were very sad to say goodbye to them.

i thoroughly recommend this hotel. my only modest complaint is that the terrace can get a bit noisey at night, but it's no big deal.

also the police training academy is quite close and you can hear their early morning/late night trainings and chanting. it's actually very cool!

i'm not sure why this hotel isn't recommended more for gorilla trekking because it's location and value are really great.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jackie-Do
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 December 2009

My husband and I stayed at Virunga Hotel on November 15th, 2009, before going to the Volcanoes National Park to see the mountain gorillas. This hotel is not to be confused with Virunga Lodge, which is a lot further out of town. Virunga Hotel is about a 5 minute walk from the bus station in Ruhengeri. It is right in town but not on the main road. We arrived at the hotel at about 4 pm after a 2 hour bus ride from Kigali. Not only is the hotel immaculate, which we were not used to in Rwanda, but they also provide a welcome drink when you arrive. We ordered African tea, and it was by far the best African tea I had on the whole trip. We didn't take pictures of this place, but the rooms are very large with either full or queen size beds, a television, a stand-up shower, toilet, phone, patio, and bottled water. We got up very early for our gorilla hike and had a breakfast of omelet and fresh fruit, which were both also very tasty. Another nice perk was that after the gorilla hike, the hotel allowed us to come back and use our room to shower (we were really muddy from the hike) and change before our next bus ride to Gisenyi. This was definitely the nicest hotel we stayed in during our stay in Rwanda.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Slobina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Virunga Hotel

Property: Virunga Hotel
Address: Ruhengeri Street, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Region: Rwanda > Northern Province > Musanze District > Ruhengeri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 17 B&Bs / Inns in Ruhengeri
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 25
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Also Known As:
Virunga Hotel Rwanda/Ruhengeri

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