A very comfortable eco-lodge, perched on a hilltop with breathtaking views over the Virunga volcanoes and lakes, Virunga Safari Lodge makes a fabulous base for a gorilla tracking adventure and for exploring the stunning landscapes of north-western Rwanda. Owned and operated by Volcanoes Safaris, specialists in mountain gorilla safaris, it is just 45 minutes’ scenic drive away from Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, where the gorilla treks start and three hours’ drive from Kigali. The serene spaces of the lodge are wonderfully quiet and away from it all, a fitting introduction to the gorillas in the mist experience.
Eight stone ‘banda’, traditionally built cottages with tiled roofs, are strategically sited on the hillside below the main lodge, four with views over the lakes and four looking out to the volcanoes. Simply furnished with all the comforts in an elegant rustic style, they have big beds, spacious bathrooms with solar heated hot water, and private terraces to sit and look out over the view. You can enjoy a complementary massage to unravel any tight muscles after your trek.
Beautiful grounds have lots of secluded nooks to sit and soak up the views, and the main lodge, warmed by a roaring fire on cool nights, is a comfortable and welcoming space to socialise and share stories of the day’s adventures when you meet other guests before dinner at the long family style table. Hearty, well-cooked meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner are supplemented by sustaining snacks packed for guests to take on their treks and afternoon tea and cakes, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
The focus is on the main attraction of gorilla tracking, with early morning wake-ups with tea, coffee and cookies, free laundry and boot cleaning for those returning from a muddy trek, and flexible lunch times. Other activities include golden monkey tracking, cultural visits to local villages and schools, gentle hikes around the lakes or a mountain hike to visit Diane Fossey’s grave.
Volcanoes Safaris’ award-winning approach to ecotourism ensures that the lodge has a light footprint and is well suited to conservation minded visitors to this unspoilt environment.