This trip is tailor made to take your breath away at Africa’s oldest national Park, Virunga. The highlight is trekking mountain gorillas and climbing Mountain Nyiragongo, an active volcano with a bubbling lava lake.
Day 1: Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda and transfer to Congo
On your arrival at Kigali International Park, you will find our driver guide set to take you for a four hours’ journey to Rwanda’s border with Congo, Gisenyi. Upon getting clearance with immigration, you will proceed on with the short drive to Volcanos National Park.
Day 2: Hike to the summit of Mountain Nyiragongo
This 4-6 hours journey starts at Kibati patrol post where you can hire a guide to carry your luggage as you ascend the mountain. In doing this, you will be directly making locals a beneficiary of tourism.
Don’t forget to pack essentials like a sleeping bag, raincoats, some energy giving snacks and of course your camera.
The lava lake atop the mountain is fascinating and has been bubbling for over 10 years now. According to scientists, it is expected to rapture in 2034. At night, its bright orange glow beautifully lights up the sky. There is a basic wooden cabin/hut above cloud level. From here, you can stay as you take in the beauty of its waves and listen to its bubbling sound.
By the time you get to the summit of this mountain, you will have passed through three main vegetation zones; starting with the forest zone, bamboo zone and volcanic rocks.
Day 3: Descent to the foot of Nyiragongo
After a refreshing breakfast at the crater rim, you start descending down the mountain. In four hours’ time, you will be at the base, where you will find our driver guide ready to drive you to the Headquarters of Virunga National Park. On your way, you will see what a typical village in Congo looks like as you pass a number of small settlements and towns.
You will spend the night at Mikeno Lodge, a boutique accommodation of the 12 bungalows built out of solid lava stone and natural thatch.
Day 4: Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Virunga National Park
If you are looking for a forest destination to satisfy your mountain gorilla and lowland gorilla encounters, Congo's Virunga National Park is the answer to that. Beyond its ranking as Africa's oldest part (close to 100years), it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with surface area of 7,800 Km2 (3000square miles).
Scenically, the Park is as diverse as its wildlife occupants, lying in the shadows of the Africa’s third highest mountain, Rwenzori Mountain (5,109m above sea level). On a clear day you can see all the way to its snow caped peaks. A mix of both active and dormant volcanoes dominate sections within Virunga Park. At their feet you will find pockets of scenic crater lakes that feed the surrounding Albertine Rift Valley with mineral rich waters. Virunga’s tropical forest is home to 60% of last surviving population of mountain gorillas, an estimated 604.
Day 5: Visit Senkekwe Center, return to Kigali and Departure
Senkekwe is the only facility in the world that looks after orphaned gorillas. During your visit here, you will learn about the different collaborations with various veterinary organizations that are being done to ensure that the health of gorillas doesn’t drop. Established in 2010, the center which is found near the Headquarters of Virunga currently takes care of four gorillas that were victims of wars that previously ravaged Congo. These are, Masisha, Ndeze, Matabishi and Ndakasi.
After breakfast, you will be driven to Goma to process your entry back into Rwanda ahead of flight out through Kigali International Airport. You will be dropped off at airport early in time for check in.