Virunga Lodge has the wow-factor for its location alone – add gorillas and golden monkeys to the mix, plus all the other outstanding activities, and you have nothing short of a dream destination. A fab base for getting to know Volcanoes!
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The lodge is situated approximately an hour from the headquarters of Volcanoes National Park, up a steep road. Virunga Lodge boasts a breathtaking location, high up on a ridge overlooking lakes Bulera and Ruhonda. The Virunga Volcanoes are also visible from the lodge, leading guests to describe the view as the best in the world! Why not see for yourself?
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
Volcanoes Safaris prides itself on eco-tourism, treating the local environment and its peoples with the utmost respect. Its communal facilities are housed in a solid stone building, with superb views of the majestic mountains and the lakes below. The lounge contains comfy rattan chairs and sofas around coffee tables, in addition to a fireplace in the centre of the area – ideal for chilly evenings! In the dining room, there is a long communal table surrounded by cushioned chairs – this has a fantastic social vibe, as hosts and guests come together to enjoy some first-rate food and drink. Liquid refreshment is also available at the bar, which has further snug seating for a homely feel. And the main building also offers plenty of places for simply sitting and enjoying the view, not least along the pathway linking the lodge to the road – there are some amazing viewpoints here!
Virunga’s guest accommodation consists of ten stone bandas with sturdy doors and glass windows, all linked to the communal building by stone paths. Each banda is named after an African lake! Two are described as deluxe, while four are doubles and the remaining two are twins. All beds are very comfortable, with mosquito netting to keep irritating insects away. There is 240V lighting for the bedside lamps. At the foot of each bed, there is a large storage chest. Both furniture and floors are wooden, and there are a few African artefacts and pot plants adorning the surfaces. The en-suite facilities are situated to the side of each banda. They comprise an eco-toilet, twin washbasins, and a solar-heated shower. There is ample room for hanging clothes and a bench either for sitting or for storing more of your belongings. Outside each banda, there is a terrace – please note, not all units have views of the lakes! We shall ensure that we book a lakeview banda for you, if that is your preference.
The most popular activity from Virunga is gorilla trekking, though expeditions to spot the resident golden monkey come a pretty close second! The region is home to about 300 individual mountain gorillas, with seven habituated groups to visit. A trek from the property starts about an hour away and lasts anything from three to eight hours. Trek groups are small – usually six to eight persons – and the total time for interaction is limited to one hour. The thick forest provides an exciting environment for treks, home to such other wildlife as forest elephant, giant forest hog, bushbuck, bushpig, and approximately 200 types of bird! And there are also the golden monkeys, of course, an Old World species, presently listed as endangered on the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Red List – coming across one of these little chaps feels like an enormous achievement. Volcanoes National Park is also first rate for hiking –including an excursion to primatologist Dian Fossey’s grave – while guests who like a little culture will be keen to take up opportunities to visit the local village and Mwiko School. There really is a lot to do!