Virunga Lodge

Virunga Lodge is in a spectacular location overlooking the Virunga volcanoes and shimmering lakes Ruhondo and Bulera near Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. The lodge, set on a hillside, has ten bandas overlooking terraced gardens, with lake views or volcano views that are awe-inspiring. Each stone and tile-roof banda features its own private terrace, fireplace, double-vanity bathroom, and charging station. Wi-Fi is available in all the rooms, as well as in the main common area. Some rooms have private outdoor showers and fireplaces as well—the perfect spot to sip a glass of wine while watching the sunset over the lakes, or early in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee watching the sun rise over the lake and clouds.

Other than gorilla trekking (a must), guests can climb a volcano, track the golden monkey, visit Diane Fossey’s grave and the Ellen Degeneres Campus, or go for gentle strolls around the picturesque villages near the lakes and check out the community projects connected to the lodge.

The only downside is that it is not right outside the national park gate, which means you have to get up a little earlier on the day of your gorilla trek (already an early morning) than if you stayed somewhere closer to the gate. Virunga Lodge compares favorably to Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge as a high-end option for travelers visiting the gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Its style is more eco than luxury, but it’s one of our favorites.