Congo Mountain Gorilla Tracking, Nyiragongo Hike Safari - 4 Days
4-days Congo -DRC gorilla trek, with gorilla tracking in Virunga National Park and Nyiragongo Mountain Hiking.
This is a 4 day safari which starts and ends in Kigali, Rwanda with 1 gorilla permit ( Virunga National Park in DRC), Nyiragongo trekking permit and DRC Tourist visa included.
Having a chance to see some of the last remaining 900 mountain gorillas in the world is a wonderful experience. It offers you an opportunity to track gorillas in a very unique habitat. and later visit the Nyiragongo Volcanoes.
Mount Nyiragongo is a spectacular stratovolcano that hosts one of the worlds largest and rarest lava lakes, making it one of Africa’s most exciting and rewarding hiking experiences.
Lava lakes are without a doubt one of the most impressive forms of volcanic activity that any outdoors enthusiast could hope to witness. Once you have reached the summit on your Mount Nyiragongo climb, you will be able to observe its bubbling lava cauldron (from a safe distance) and feel this volcano’s energy, as it heaves and breathes. An overnight stay at Mount Nyiragongo’s crater edge will allow you to enjoy this spectacle in the dark, but also at dawn and dusk when its alluring beauty is enhanced.
Mount Nyiragongo, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo rises majestically to an altitude of 3470m overlooking the Virungas National Park and associated Albertine Rift. The climb up Mount Nyiragongo is not technically difficult and reaching the top should not take longer than 5 hours.
- Day 1: Transfer from Kigali to Goma - Congo DRC
- Day 2: Gorilla Tracking Virunga National Park
- Day 3: Climbing mountain Nyiragongo
- Day 4: Descent and Drive back to Kigali for departure flight
Day 1: Volcanoes National Park
In the morning, you will be picked up from your lodge by our driver guide who will drive through kigali heading to the Bukima in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This will take you roughly 4 hours to reach Goma where you will have a stop over for lunch refreshment. Later, you will transfer to Bukima reaching in the evening for dinner and overnight stay at Bukima lodge.
Overnight at Bukima Lodge for our overnight and Dinner.
Day 2: Gorilla Tracking In Virunga National Park
You will have an early morning breakfast and then transfer to the park head quarters for briefing before gorilla trekking. This is a day to encounter the endangered species in the wilderness as you observe more about their human like characters. In the evening, you will have a community walk to the adjacent local areas where you will learn more about local village life.
After an early morning breakfast hike to Bukima patrol post for guided gorilla trekking tour. Normally the hike to gorillas ranges between 1 to 2 hours. You are permitted to keep in the presence of gorillas for a solid 1 hour. To keep the gorillas safe, you are provided with surgical masks. In case of a cold or diarrhea, you are advised to desist from participating in the gorilla trek.
Day 3: Climbing Mount Nyiragongo
After an early wake-up call, breakfast and a swift transfer towards the Kibati patrol post at the base of Mount Nyiragongo, a mere 50km outside Goma.
After a safety debrief and final check of everyone’s packs and equipment you begin the climb towards Mount Nyiragongo’s summit. The party will be lead and escorted by a set of rangers/guides and a small contingent of porters.
For the first two hours of the walk you will traverse a lush pristine forest, where towering trees offer a welcome shelter from the sun until you emerge from the forest onto a small plateau with commanding views that stretch towards the infinite horizon, with Lake Kivu, Bukavu, Rwanda and Burundi at your feet. You are now standing on the lava flow remnants of Mount Nyiragongo’s 2002 eruption.
From here on, the climbing trail becomes firmer and the forest gives way to several swathes of recovering heath with vegetation dominated by ferns, sedges, heather and everlastings. Shortly after noon, you will reach Mount Nyiragongo’s crater and your overnight cabins.
The remainder of the afternoon will be spent exploring the craters edge and soaking in the surrounding views and Mount Nyiragongos’ bewitching lava cauldron. Fortunately your guides know exactly how to reach the best observation and photogenic spots safely.
When everyone has had enough, the party will return to camp to settle into their cabins, rest and enjoy an early supper.
At 18h00 you will return to a designated spot at the craters edge to gaze and appreciate again Mount Nyiragongo’s molten lava lake. In the dark of night one is able to appreciate better the dark crusty surface of lava, spliced and splitting into ever changing plates. As the plates separate, bright orange lava fill the cracks and a fantastic spider-web pattern emerges. Every now and then fountains of lava flare up disrupting these pretty patterns, but adding a surge of dynamism and power to this spectacular sight. Sometimes, fountains appear throughout the crust like a collection of campfires, creating yet another fascinating show.
Day 4: Descent from Mount Nyiragongo, Transfer to Kigali departure flight back home (about 3.5 hrs drive).
After a rather early cup of tea/coffee, you will be summoned back to the crater’s rim at dawn for one last peek. Wrapped in warm clothing you greet the new day as the intense red and yellow glow of the lava below mixes with a backdrop of blue and indigo skies.
After breakfast, the party will commence its descent from to Kibati. The descent generally takes 2-3 hours. Back at Kibati, your transport will be waiting to take you back to Goma before crossing back into Rwanda. It will be about 3 hours of driving before we arrive Kigali International Airport from where you catch your departure flight.
Nyiragongo Volcano Treks
Nyiragongo is a beautiful stratovolcano that features the world’s largest lava lake. The volcano’s forested lower slopes are home to a variety of animals, including chimpanzees, monkeys, and bushbuck. Nyiragongo’s summit rim is largely devoid of vegetation and is sometimes dusted with snow. From the rim, visitors can peer down into a churning lava lake and see and hear hot gases exploding up though a mosaic of molten lava. Although predictable and therefore safe for tourists, Nyiragongo is greatly feared during eruptions. Because of the low silica content of its lava, Nyiragongo’s lava flows are extremely fluid. During the 2002 eruption, some of Nyiragongo’s lava flows were clocked at 100 km/hr (62 mph) and reached all the way to Lake Kivu.
Treks to the summit of Nyiragongo volcano begin at the Kibati patrol post. Park rangers lead all treks and porters (unaffiliated with the park) are available for hire. The time required to reach the summit depends on the average fitness of each group, but typically takes 4 – 6 hours. Altitude sickness can be an issue for some because the climb begins at 1989m (6,525 ft) and ascends to 3470m (11,382ft) in a short time. Proper hydration is the best way to adapt to the change in altitude. People prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) should speak to their physicians about taking preventative measures before making the climb. It is possible for fitter people to climb up and descend in one day, but the vast majority choose to overnight in the basic accommodations available at the top (included in the permit fee) because the best time to view the lava lake is at night.
1. All climbs begin promptly at 10:00 am. Late arrivals will not be allowed to climb and permits are non-refundable. For security reasons, there will be no exceptions. The Kibati ranger station, which is the trailhead for Nyiragongo, is approximately 30 minutes from Goma by car. Kibati is approximately 45 minutes from Bukima Tented Camp and Mikeno Lodge by car. All climbers must check in at the Kibati station by no later than 9:15 am on the day of their climb. Climbers typically descend the volcano at between 6:30 – 7:00 am the next morning and arrive back at Kibati station by 11:30 am. If one intends to fly out of Kigali on the same day, please make sure not to schedule your departure flight before 6 pm.
2. Trekkers are strongly advised to bring full rain and cold weather gear (moisture-wicking base layer, sweater or fleece, jacket, rain resistant pants, long underwear, warm socks, hat, and a 0°C/32° – rated sleeping bag). Temperatures at the summit are routinely below freezing. Although most people arrive at the summit sweating from the steep climb, this sense of warmth quickly gives way to cold. A complete change of base layers is a must. Failure to bring proper gear will lead to hypothermia. Please do not endanger yourself and others by coming unprepared for these conditions.
3. All guests can arrange packed meal service and gear rental for the trip at an additional charge at checkout. Packed meal service includes snacks, lunch, and dinner on Day 1 and breakfast and snacks on Day 2. Water is also included for both days. The gear package includes a sleeping bag, jacket, fleece top, hat and rain poncho. Porters can be hired at the base of the climb to carry loads for $24 round trip (gratuity not included). The maximum weight that porters are authorized to carry is 15 kg. Porters can be arranged by speaking with a Virunga National Park ranger at the Kibati station.
4. Packed meal plan includes snacks, lunch, and dinner on Day 1 and breakfast and snacks on Day 2. Water is also included for both days.
The gear package includes a sleeping bag, jacket, fleece top, hat and rain poncho. Porters can be hired at the base of the climb to carry loads for $24 round trip (gratuity not included). The maximum weight that porters are authorized to carry is 15 kg. Porters can be arranged by speaking with a Virunga National Park ranger at the Kibati station.
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