Congo Gorilla Safari - 3 Days Gorilla Trek in Congo DRC, Virunga Gorilla Trekking
The 3 Day Gorilla trek tour in Congo, trekking Virunga gorillas starts from Kigali in Rwanda to Goma at DR Congo border. It is approximately a 4 hours drive to the border.
From Goma to Bukima in Rumangabo, the park headquarters, it takes 2 to 3 hours on a rough pot-holed road. Gorilla treks in this park require 1 to 2 hours hiking towards any direction depending on where the gorillas spent the previous night and altitude levels.
Gorilla trekking permit costs $400 per foreign adult and Congo Visa is $100.
- Day 1: Depart from Rwanda (Kigali), drive to Goma (Rwanda-DRC Border) and cross the border.
- Day 2: Virunga gorilla trek, tracking gorillas in Virunga National Park, Congo
- Day 3: Depart back to Kigali
Day 1: Start Virunga Gorilla Trek Tour from Kigali to DRC Border (Goma/ Kibati)
We arrange for our guide to meet with you at your hotel in Kigali or up-on arrival at Kigali Airport to start your gorilla tour to Virunga, Congo.
When you meet, you will be briefed through the gorilla tour program before doing a short city tour of Kigali (if there is time). After Kigali city tour, transfer to DR Congo through Goma border post. It is a 3 to 4 hours drive to Goma, and then a 1 to 2 hours drive.
Accommodation for the night before the Virunga gorilla trek depends on your budget.
For lower budget, we stay at Caritas Guesthouse close to the border. For midrange and upscale, we prefer to book either Bukima Lodge (closer to the Virunga gorilla trek start point) or Mikeno Lodge for overnight stay.
Day 2: Gorilla Tracking in Virunga National Park, Congo
Early morning departure for the mountain gorilla tracking in Virunga National Park in Congo. After the briefing from the authorities of the park, set off for the trekking into the rain tropical forest searching for the habituated gorilla family.
You remain close to the beautiful primates for over one hour, for observation and photography. Make sure you carry with you packed lunch and water. After tracking go back to the hotel/ lodge.
Day 3: Departure back to Kigali
After breakfast drive back to Kigali.
Tips, Advice on Congo Gorilla Safari/ Virunga Gorilla Trek Tours
Mountain gorilla trekking takes place in three East African countries – Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Though it is done on a wider scale in Uganda and Rwanda, mainly due to the strategic location of these two countries and their political stability, the DRC is currently trying to revamp its tourism sector.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been affected by conflict, especially in the eastern part of the country, so travellers are advised to check the situation before traveling there. This conflict has also greatly affected the number of gorillas due to habitat destruction and poaching. However, for the past three years, there has been a semblance of peace and Virunga National Park is open for tourism. This year, the park has attracted a good number of tourists who go trekking with gorillas and hike up Mt. Nyiragongo.
Gorilla trekking in the DRC involves hiking deep into the mountain jungles to observe a gorilla family in the wild. Visitors will be led by guides and national park rangers who keep records of the gorillas for conservation purposes and help protect them from poachers. They can determine the general area where a gorilla family will be and are skilled in tracking them.
Your gorilla trekking adventure in the DRC will begin early in the morning and you will be driven up to the gorilla trekking starting point at Bukima – a ranger’s station in the mountains of the Virunga National Park, outside the city of Goma. The small agrarian villages you’ll pass, and the people who run to the road to wave at you, will give you a glimpse of a different way of life.
The length of the trek is entirely dependent on the gorillas — sometimes the guides can track them down in less than two hours, other times it takes much longer. Mountain gorillas are nomadic, travelling the jungle in families and staying in an area just long enough to clear it of food. They also don’t follow a clear path, and you’ll realise when tracking them that they like to meander.
On your first sighting, you may see mothers holding their babies, juvenile gorillas playing, or dominant silverbacks keeping an eye out for their family!
There are families of over 35 gorillas and you only have an hour in their presence, wearing surgical masks to prevent any diseases being passed between species. As you watch them, your guide will also explain the various behaviours.