At a Glance
Groups traveling together will love the communal space at this lodge, which is also known to have the area’s best views.
A three-hour drive from Kigali, the Virunga Lodge is located a mile down a dirt road that runs through a small village near the shores of both lake Ruhondo and Bulera. Each of the lodge’s ten, free-standing bandas overlooks one of the lakes and offers great views. Set along a stone path that leads up to the main lodge, the bandas each have their own terrace, a large bedroom and en-suite bathroom with windows so big that you almost feel as if you are in an outdoor shower. The decor can be described as “organic, bush-chic,” and there is a heavily eco-friendly feel throughout. Water is heated by solar panels, so truly hot water can be spotty at times. The main lodge is the only place where you can charge phones, cameras and computers overnight (it has power twenty-four hours a day). Throughout the rest of the property, the power is turned off between ten and midnight in order to preserve it for the next day.
The lodge’s main building is a cozy epicenter where some of the best afternoons and evenings are spent conversing with other guests and rehashing the day’s events. A fire pit is located in its center, and picture of guides, gorillas and guests line the wall. Similar to the other Volcanoes properties, all meals are served at a communal table but private tables are available. For days when gorilla trekking is not an option, guests can visit Lake Kivu and the Imbabazi Orphanage, which was started by the author Roz Carr (see our suggested reading list) after the Rwandan genocide. Village walks and school visits are also made possible and staff at the lodge is more than happy to take guests down.
Who Should Stay
Guests who place a strong emphasis on service as well as community will love the ambiance of Virunga. While it is not the area’s most luxurious option (hot water can often be spotty and hairdryers are non-existent), it certainly has the most character.
Written by Indagare