Virunga Lodge enjoys one of the most spectacular locations of any lodge in Africa. The lodge is perched high on a ridge in Volcanoes National Park with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and Musanze Valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east. The lodge is just an hour's drive away from Park Headquarters making gorilla trekking easily accessible
Virunga Lodge is a 3-hour road transfer from Kigali Airport or a 20-minute helicopter transfer, a distance of about 100km.
Virunga Lodge has just 10 stone bandas, each with wooden flooring and uniquely decorated in Rwandan style with locally inspired furniture and fabrics. With a private terrace, each room enjoys magnificent views of the volcanoes and the valley to the west and Lake Bulera and Ruhondo to the east.
Two deluxe bandas, Ibirunga and Ibayaga, are more spacious with their own sitting room and more refined interiors. The central main lodge is very sociable and comfortable with a 'home away from home' feel. Fireplaces, comfortable seating areas and a small restaurant and bar welcome guests.
Take a magical trek through the dense forest to track the critically endangered mountain gorilla. Only eight visitors are allowed per gorilla group each day and visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7 metres from the gorillas to prevent the transmission of any human diseases. 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.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda is one of the two places in Africa where the beautiful golden monkey can be seen the other being the foothills of the volcanic mountains of Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. These playful primates, seen in groups of 30, are a joy to watch and are characterised by their bright golden body, cheeks and tail with contrasting black limbs, crown and tail end. 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.
Take a challenging yet spectacular hike to see the grave of Dian Fossey and some of her beloved gorillas as well as the ruins of the original Karisoke Research centre. At an altitude of 3,000 metres in the saddle between the Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanic cones, a visit to this beautiful spot is highly recommended. Operates by the National Park, the trek starts early in the morning and takes 6 to 8 hours.
Home to a vast variety of bird species Rwanda offers some the world's most incredible bird watching. Rwanda has over 700 bird species and is home to the second highest number of Albertine endemics in the Albertine region.
During the late afternoon, the local community's dance troupe performs and you are invited to come and watch. This fabulous troupe is supported by the Volcanoes Safari Partnership Trust (VSPT) who have been working with the troupe at Virunga Lodge in Rwanda since 2004.
Take a challenging hike to the Virunga chain of volcanoes, the reward at the top being the most stunning panoramic view. The three most popular volcano climbs are Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Muhavura and Mt. Sabyinyo and take a full day. The treks start at 7.00am from park headquarters and vary in difficulty.
Meander down the mountain slope from Virunga Lodge, through local villages to Lake Bulera. Pass through local communities, visit local schools and community centres and take a peek into the vibrancy of village life.
Rwanda is a destination for all seasons, however, visiting Rwanda to trek the mountain gorilla is best during the drier season from June to September. This is also the optimum time for tracking chimpanzees. Temperatures hardly vary throughout the seasons due to Rwanda's position just south of the Equator. Days are warm and nights are cool, especially at altitude.