Reviews of Virunga Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Our Expert Africa consultant advised that there are two high end lodges for luxury-minded gorilla trekkers: Sabyinyo and Virunga. We opted for the latter because we understand that staying at Sabyinyo required an arduous uphill walk from the carpark to the lodge.
However, Virunga is located at the top of a hill about an hour's drive to the Volcanoes Park headquarters, whilst Sabyinyo is just 20 minutes away. The longer drive did not bother us because it enabled us to have more time enjoying the lovely mountainous scenery and teeming village life en route. Do note that the last ten minutes of the drive to Virunga are bone-jarring!
Our banda at Virunga was spacious and, though it lacked internet access (which is available only in the lodge's very comfortable main lounge), it afforded all modern amenities. A recent renovation has upgraded the lodge's electrical system, and now powerpoints for charging batteries are now available ensuite.
Service by lodge personnel was accommodating and gracious, and the boot cleaning service it offered was world-class. (Our mud-caked boots post-trek were cleaned so thoroughly that they looked brand new when they were delivered to our banda!)
We were a bit disappointed with the meals . . . breakfasts were fine, but the mains offered at lunch and dinner were ordinary and not well-seasoned. Virunga does have an excellent baking staff because all the cakes and cookies offered at tea time were scrumptious.
Spectacular location, excellent and obliging staff, good food.
Quite a drive each morning to get to the Park HQ so may consider staying at a Lodge closer to the entrance should I return.
Nice, private location.
Rooms could use charging facilities for electronic devices
The lodge a little run down.. I think in need of a renovation... and should have an electrical outlet in the room.. not of abig fan of electricicty going out at night...(eco-lodge)Read more about the whole safari
Virunga Lodge review
Loved the long dining table where all the guest could share their travel experiences.
Virunga Lodge review
Superb stay at Virunga Lodge. The setting is stunning, the food and service excellent adn the accommodation great.
I cannot recommend this more highly
Beautiful lodge, stunning location
Virunga Lodge was amazing. The views are unreal, and there are flowers everywhere you turn. The lodge personnel were all very warm and welcoming. I don't think the photos on the EA website had been updated for the remodeling when I chose this lodge, and it turned out to be even nicer than I expected.
The bed was very comfortable with really nice linens. The bathroom had two sinks, a flush toilet, and a regular (non-bucket) shower. There was also 24 hour electricity in the rooms, and cool motion detector lights in the bathroom that were very handy if you needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. While it is a longer drive to the park headquarters than other lodges, I wouldn't let that discourage anyone from choosing this lodge, since the drive is so pretty and seems to go by very quickly anyway.
Patrick from Primate Safaris was a wonderful guide. I was traveling by myself and it felt almost like I had an older brother looking out for me. Patrick is very knowledgeable about the history and economy of Rwanda, and we had many very interesting discussions about public policy and economic development. I had read quite a few books about Rwanda before I visited, and my conversations with Patrick helped me connect a lot of dots and place everything I had learned in context - definitely a highlight of the trip. I would highly recommend Patrick as a guide.
Virunga Lodge review
I have been to heaven and it is Virunga Lodge.
We absolutely adored this place it was complete food for our souls. The setting is fantastic and I shed a tear when we left.
It is of course not 5 star in the generally accepted sense and if visitors are after marble and deep divans etc this would not be the place for them. However, for us it was perfection, the staff are fantastic and the overall ambience superb. We loved sitting round the fire in the lounge discussing our stories with fellow guests and then dining with them iaround the large table.
This is the place I will dream about when I can't get to sleep at nights!
Virunga Lodge review
Magical setting with 360 degree views overlooking lakes and volcaneos. Particularly impressed with ecological credentials - the solar toilets are ingenious. Staff couldn't be faulted and made our stay memorable.
Tribal dancing was uplifting & fun - not at all "cheesey" as we're experienced elsewhere. The kids looked like they really enjoyed it too!
The gorilla treks were everything we had hoped for. The organistion at park HQ was slick, the guides were first class (knowlegable, informative and aware of comfort / safety / needs of guests). We left with great pictures and even more wonderful memories!!
Just made it to Virunga Lodge
Again, a qualified rating, given that we were actually accommodated in the Jack Hannah Cottage at Mountain Gorilla's Nest Lodge (MGNL) for the first two nights, owing to a Primate Safari's 'upgrade', for what they informed us was a result of overbooking (and no room available) at Virunga for the nights of 5th and 6th.
Although situated in the grounds of what is now a tired and largely unoccupied lodge complex, the Cottage was absolutely fantastic. We had three permanent staff - chef, waiter and housekeeper - and lived in sheer opulence for the two days and nights. The MGNL is a very short drive to the park HQ, so was actually better situated and convenient than Virunga, at approx 0.75 hour. It's fair to say that we lived very well at the Cottage - absolutely no complaints whatsoever - but then again, it wasn't part of the original package.
Virunga Lodge - for the night of the 7th & 8th only, was very comfortable and, rather spookily, largely unoccupied for our limited time there. The service was excellent and the location breathtaking - the rooms and facilities extremely comfortable.
Our evening meal (served in the main dining room) was very good for the 7th and superb for the 8th, by which time we were the only guests in the whole Lodge (!) and were able to dine and subsequently breakfast on the 9th in the central lounge area next to the fire. Again, a unique experience brought about by circumstances.
The Gorillas themselves defy description. The organisation by Primate Safaris seamless and without fault. Rwanda is stunning in its scenery and vibrancy. This will not be our only visit to the country, although from what we learn (the Jack Hannah Cottage is available for rent at $2000 per day??), we would certainly revisit Virunga Lodge in view of our experience.