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“Over the Top”
Review of Virunga Lodge

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Virunga Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Houston, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Over the Top”
Reviewed 10 January 2013

If you want a truly unforgettable experience, the Virunga lodge in Rwanda is truly
amazing. The view from any spot on the mountain top it is located on is fantastic.
All of the "rooms", (really individual houses), are just great. Staff is beyond
courteous. Really can't compliment this hotel enough.
Having traveled all over south and eastern africa, and stayed in top of the line
camps, I will say this is the best.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Bill K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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264 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (75)
Date | Rating
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English first
Kigali, Rwanda
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 December 2012

This place has the most stunning view I have ever experienced. A bit surreal. Its a bit of a hike to get up here, but well worth it. The design and layout of the property really capitalize on the location and there are many wonderful spots to enjoy the spectacular views.

Our banda was beautiful, spacious, and built with local materials. It fit in beautifully. The bathroom had a breathtaking view! I thought some minor things could have been improved on, a few more personal touches in the room/bathroom would be nice (for example, there was only one refillable pump bottle in the shower area that contained an all-in-one soap and shampoo). Loved that they gave us hot water bottles to keep up warm as we slept.

This is a true eco lodge, creates some inconveniences (can't be guaranteed hot water at all times, lighting very dim, etc.), but its impressive that they are so committed.

Common area very cozy, inviting and creates a wonderful sense of community. You meet very interesting people, and the place is set up to encourage conversations among guests.

The service was fantastic, and that fact that it was all inclusive (drinks too) was very relaxing. The food was OK, I thought it could have been a little more lavish/gourmet (but when you think about where you are it perhaps puts things into perspective).

All in all a fantastic lodge set in a stunning corner of the world.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Nupur1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kampala, Uganda
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2012

I will start by saying this is my favourite lodge i've ever stayed in, anywhere. For the views alone it gets five stars, its in a truly unique location with some of the most beautiful views in Africa if not the world. You overlook 3 volcanoes to the west and 2 joining lakes the east, you could spend hours soaking up the landscape and every evening they put on local dancing display which is very impressive. The banda's themselves are comfortable and have balcony's with spectacular views. It's all done out in Volcanoes unique style and you'll find lot's of nooks and crannies around the lodge that offer places to relax. The staff, food and service are all what you'd expect from a top quality lodge and of course the gortilla tracking activity available is a once in a lifetime experience. If you can afford it, go.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled on business
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Stewart G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
122 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 November 2012

The support team here are fantastic with a capital F - a reallly nice set up with amazing views overlooking 6 volcanoes, however the electriciity was provided courtesy of solar panels.
This meant that if we had a shower in the afternoon, we had no hot water in the morning which was very disappointing
This was the only fault - the team were so friendly and welcoming, the food was wholesome and tasty, and there were comfortable beds and lodges, which were slightly musty in the rainy season

We would not hesitate to return here - the service more than made up for the cold water in the morning

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MikeOgilvie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. John, Virgin Islands
Level 6 Contributor
137 reviews
88 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2012

This was my favorite of the Volcanoes Lodges we stayed in on a 8 day trip between Uganda and Rwanda. We are truly impressed by Rwanda and the beauty & cleanliness & friendly attitudes. This lodge is in a gorgeous spot! 360 degree views of the volcanoes, lakes, highlands, fields. Loved the firepit in the very cozy lounge area, great place to meet fellow travelers & share adventures. Had a very romantic dinner one evening with lots of candlelight & fine wines...4 couples we just met...from Argentina, Belgium, New Zealand, & England & us, Americans. Truly enjoy meeting people from all over the world in these remote places! Try the local banana vodka.
Bandas are nice & roomy with large bathrooms.
But real treat, of course, is the gorilla trekking!!! Very well done and the center is impressive. You can ask for as easy or difficult a day that works for you. We lucked out...no rain! I also did the Golden Monkeys one morning, which was just right...4 hours & then back for a lunch with wine & massage in the afternoon. My husband did the trek up to Dian Fossey grave & did not get back until 5:30pm. It rained, hailed, foggy...while I was in sunshine, same day.
Would recommend doing the "Volcanoes" lodges...service was excellent thoughout & we had our own driver/guide, Charles, who met us at the airstrip in Uganda & drove us all over & across the border into Rwanda. Felt very "taken care of" by everyone. Thank you!

Room Tip: All rooms have lovely views and patios or porches. Main lodge has great areas for relaxing.
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank sstj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2012

I have visited Virunga lodge a number of times to see the sunset and have a drink from its fantastic location and have always been impressed with the friendliness of the management and staff towards people who were not paying guests, especially as they only have 8 rooms. I finally had the chance to spend the night there and again I was very impressed with my stay.

The location is stunning, with great views of both the twin lakes as well as the full range of volcanoes. The staff are both very professional and very friendly but at the same time give you your space to enjoy the lodge as you please.

There are a range of areas to sit, have a drink and enjoy the atmosphere and the central sitting area with the fireplace is also a nice place to be when it gets cold.

Meals are well prepared, but dinner is in a communal setting, so keep that in mind in case you prefer your privacy.

The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms even more so. Each has a great view - with 4 facing the lake and 4 facing the volcanoes. Mine had a bit of a musty smell, so maybe they are getting a bit old now, though the lodge has only been open 8 years.

I took a fantastic walk down to the lake and through the villages for 3 hours which gave a great view to life in rural Rwanda that you can't quite see just by driving through it.

One consideration when staying there is that you do have to leave much earlier than many of the other lodges to get to the gorilla meeting point, given that it is about a 45 minute drive away rather than 5 to 15 minutes from some of the other places. Not a big deal, unless that extra 1/2 hour of sleep is important to you.

The price here is very high, so I can't comment on whether it is worth the price, but its definitely a memorable experience to stay there.

Room Tip: Half the rooms face the volcanoes and half face the lakes. All are quite private
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gshah18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 October 2012

After a long drive from Kigali we arrived at the lodge at 7:00 pm, made a quick stop in our room and joined the other guests for a family style dinner. A wonderful way to meet new people and learn about their days and their experiences. Out room/cabin/banda was beautiful, very large main room with bed, sitting area, lovely bathroom and all rooms with incredible views. Each banda has a private patio with incredible views of the other mountains, volcanos and lakes. Unfortunately for us the weather didn't cooperate (afternoon rain storms each day) so we didn't get the pleasure of sitting outside. The main lounge area is very comfortable and welcoming as most guests meet there pre-dinner for some drinks, to enjoy the fire and hear about everyone's day.

It is quite a drive up the mountain to get to the lodge and as other guests mentioned a 45 minute drive to the Gorilla Trek meeting location, however the location and view is well worth it.

Service is great, rooms fantastic, food quite good and all in all a wonderful experience.

The gorilla trekking, once you get to it, is lots of fun and there is an attempt to match capability with difficulty of hike however as the gorillas move each night there is no guarantee on how far they will be. Hiking shoes/boots/something waterproof or resistant is recommended, it can be quite muddy. We had gators which weren't necessary for the mud but did help with the stinging nettles.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank HMacT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Virunga Lodge

Property: Virunga Lodge
Address: Lake Bulera, Ruhengeri, Rwanda
Region: Rwanda > Northern Province > Musanze District > Ruhengeri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 18 Speciality Lodging in Ruhengeri
Number of rooms: 8
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

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