Discover mountain gorillas on foot in Virunga National Park and feel great climbing Mount Nyiragongo on this heroic private journey. Your journey in Africa would not be complete without a visit in Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Therefore, Congo gorilla safaris offer you a unique experience of a lifetime with a trek to see the critically endangered mountain gorillas. We invite you on an extraordinary journey into Africa’s true wilderness where you will experience the ultimate adventure safari.
Virunga National Park is home to the rare mountain gorillas a concentration of primates that live within its natural borders. The park is located in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; the park has incredible diversity of habitat and wildlife. A safari to Congo offers you a remarkable Africa adventure safari experience with lots of touristic potentials to visit.
Besides mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo is also another home to the lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park prompting it to become a gorilla trekking safari haven to many travelers.
The Congo gorilla population is distributed around the Virunga region for the mountain’s gorillas and Kahuzi Biega National Park for the lowland gorillas.
Congo is among the 3 countries blessed with mountain gorillas and one can watch gorillas in Virunga National Park. The country is also blessed with the Eastern lowland gorillas which can be found in Kahuzi Biega National Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With Gorilla Safaris Tours, a Congo gorilla safari can easily be arranged setting off from Kigali crossing back to Rwanda for your overnight.
The gorilla trekking permit costs $400 in Congo, $1500 in Rwanda and $700 in Uganda. These gorilla permits help in limiting the number of people trekking the gorillas in order to limit stress on these apes and on their habitat, that may result in their change of behaviour.
There is only a maximum of 8 permits per gorilla group sold each day to make sure the gorillas are not overwhelmed by the human presence. Revenue collected from tourists to this park 20% of it goes to the local communities surrounding the park and the rest to the maintenance of the infrastructure in and around the national park.
The gorilla safari experience
If you’re looking to discover Congo, from the moment you land at Kigali International Airport, you will be met by our company representatives who will transfer you to your hotel for the night before you embark on this once in a life time safari. Travel along Gisenyi which comprises of some of the most stunning view in the area before a magical safari in Virunga National Park.
We drive from Goma to Virunga National Park and the 1-hour drive from Goma to Virunga National Park takes you through some of the most fertile landscapes in the region. Colourful traditional villages are surrounded by patchwork fields of sorghum, wheat and maize that cling to hillsides overlooking rain forest valleys with volcanoes smoking in the distance.
Today you trek gorillas in Virunga National Park, the oldest and most spectacular park in Africa. The park offices are only a minutes’ walk from Bukima, so after breakfast and a short briefing, you meet your porters and head out. A spectacular 20-minute walk in the shadow of Mt Mikeno brings you to the entrance of the park, where you step into the dark forest to begin your adventure.
Walking through thick vegetation on overgrown paths can be slow going, the route you take depending on which of the four habituated mountain gorilla families you are looking for. Humba, Rugendo, Mapua and Nyakamwe, all offer their own challenges, but with regular stops along the way, the chances of sightings are good and given the excellent work by the ranges, increasing all the time.
The gorilla encounters
Once the gorillas have been found, you spend one hour in their company, with your guides on hand to answer any questions and ensure you keep a safe distance. Once the hour is up, you then retrace your steps back to the offices for a short debrief before returning back to camp for a well-deserved shower. Afternoons are kept flexible depending on the length of the trek.
After returning to the lodge, you can still visit the nearby Senkwekwe Gorilla Centre, the only facility of its kind in the world. Each gorilla has suffered as a result of poaching and loss of habitat, but now caretakers look after the gorillas in a large forested enclosure, between 09:00 and 15:00 each day you can view the gorillas in the care of their guardians and gain an insight into the conservation work taking place here. You will be staying at Mikeno Lodge on Full board.
Nyiragongo Volcano Hike
Another activity to do in Virunga National Park is to climb the Nyiragongo volcano mountain. Set off to climb Nyiragongo, an almost perfectly conical active volcano that rises to 3,470 metres.
After a briefing from the head ranger, you start the ascent midway through the morning, at around 2,000 metres slowly climbing towards the rim, where the summit camp is positioned. The trek should not be undertaken lightly, with climbing time heavily dependent on fitness, but it typically takes between 6 and 7hours, including plenty of stops and breaks.
The first part of the climb passes through the volcano’s forested lower slopes, which are home to a variety of animals, including chimpanzees and numerous birds – all of which are slowly returning after previous eruptions. Then continue up to the higher reaches, devoid of vegetation, which offer a stark, beautiful landscape, before finally, ascend to the rim itself, to peer down into the world’s largest lava lake.
On a clear day, the views from the summit are spectacular, with the verdant plains below extending into the distance. A night spent at the top allows for views of a very different kind. From the crater rim, look down into the heart of the volcano; watch as the fiery lava glows and boils in the darkness, a full moon adding drama to the vast plains below, reflected in Lake Kivu.
This is not for the faint hearted, but the spectacular night-time show and stunning summit views justifies every step of the climb. Descend Nyiragongo and transfer back to Goma and then to Kigali for your flight back home.