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Nyiragongo Mountain trek hiking Congo

Congo Mountain Gorilla Trekking, Nyiragongo Climbing- 4 Days

4 Days Nyiragongo volcano trekking and Virunga gorilla trek package in D.R. Congo from Kigali Rwanda. This Congo gorilla tour price includes accommodation and meals, Virunga gorilla trek permit, all transfers, Nyiragongo volcano hike permit, Congo Tourist visa. Tour price: 1 pax - USD2445; 2 pax USD2020 PER PERSON; 3 pax USD1600 PER PERSON; 4 pax USD1800 PER PERSON. These prices can be lower if you are make you way to the DRC border GOMA at 11am. Please send email to inquire or book here

Overview
Itinerary
Accommodation
Inclusions
Overview

Congo Virunga Gorilla Trekking, Nyiragongo Volcano Climbing- 4 Days

4-days  Congo -DRC gorilla trek, with gorilla tracking in Virunga National Park and Nyiragongo Mountain Hiking.

  • Day 1: Drive from Kigali to Virunga National Park in 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

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.

Itinerary
 

Congo 4 days Gorilla Trekking in Virunga and Nyiragongo Volcanoe Climbing

Day 1: Drive from Kigali to Virunga National Park in Congo (DRC)

At 6:30 am, you will be picked up from your hotel or from Kigali Airport by our driver guide who transfer you to Goma Grande Barriere border crossing in the Democratic Republic of Congo at 10:30 am and ensure check-in with Virunga tourism office by 11:15 am. The tourism office is conveniently located in the Grande Barriere border post building, opposite passport control. Guests will receive gorilla and volcano trek permits at check-in which must be presented at the start of each trek. Once check-in is complete, visitors will be transported to Kibumba.

Overnight at  Kibumba Tented Camp for our overnight and Dinner.

Day 2: Gorilla Tracking In Virunga National Park

After an early breakfast at Kibumba Tented Camp, trekkers will head down the hill to meet their Ranger guides and have a briefing before the gorilla trek in Virunga National Park. Gorilla trekking in Virunga usually requires 1-2.5 hours of hiking each way, depending on the location of the gorilla group being trekked and the difficulty of the terrain. This is a day to encounter the endangered species in the wilderness as you observe more about their human-like characters and you will have the best with the gorillas. After spending the allotted hour with the gorilla group, trekkers will make their way back to camp, enjoy a late lunch and have the rest of the day at leisure, including time for nature walks and bird watching.

Overnight at  Kibumba Tented Camp for our overnight and Dinner.

Day 3: Climbing Mount Nyiragongo

After breakfast in Kibumba, guests will be transported to the Kibati Ranger Post at 8:15 am, the departure point for the Nyiragongo volcano trek. On arrival to Kibati, guests will receive a briefing and will have the opportunity to hire porters. The climb up the Nyiragongo volcano will take around four to six hours and trekkers will overnight on the 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 afternoon, you will reach Mount Nyiragongo’s crater and your overnight cabins.

The remainder of the afternoon will be spent exploring the crater's edge and soaking in the surrounding views and Mount Nyiragongo's’ 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 crater's 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.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

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.

Accommodation

Bukima Lodge

Bukima camp in Virunga National Park - Silverback gorilla visiting cam

Mountain gorilla silverback near Bukima Camp Virunga National Park

Just outside the Virunga National Park boundary lays the Bukima tented camp, which is one of the main starting points Virunga mountain gorilla treks. The camp was originally built for researchers, but is now used primarily by trekkers. As the name suggests, overnight guests at Bukima sleep in platform tents, but by camping standards they are quite plush. Each tent features an adjoining bathroom with running water and a nicely appointed bed and dresser for clothes. The views from the tent sites – or anywhere in camp for that matter – are spectacular. To the south, the view is dominated by Mt. Mikeno, whose 4437m (14,560’) summit towers over the gorilla sector. Across the valley is Nyiragongo volcano, whose lava lake colors the night sky with a red glow. Every few years, Nyamulagira volcano erupts and steals the nighttime show by spewing hot lava hundreds of feet into the air. Occasionally, the mountain gorillas themselves wander into the Bukima tented camp. Although this is highly frowned upon by park staff, it never ceases to impress the guests.

Prices for the camp include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Alcoholic beverages are available for an additional charge. Of the six tents, four feature double beds and two are outfitted with twin beds.

Mikeno Lodge

The Mikeno Lodge is a 90 minute drive from Goma and offers large bungalows and a good restaurant. The lodge and restaurant are located within a forest and offer beautiful views of the rift valley and Nyiragongo and Mikeno volcanoes. Nature walks and visits to local places of interest can be arranged. There is an abundance of bird life, as well as resident blue monkeys, colobus monkeys, and baboons. Chimpanzees are also frequent visitors to the area.

Mikeno Lodge in Virunga NP Congo

Mikeno Lodge in Virunga NP Congo

rooms at Mikeno Lodge

Rooms at Mikeno Lodge

Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelters

Aerial view of Nyiragongo summit shelters

Aerial view of Nyiragongo summit shelters

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 frequently 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 high 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, which is approximately 30 minutes by car from Goma. The patrol post is less than a one hour drive from the Mikeno Lodge in Rumangabo. 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 most groups choose to overnight in basic accommodation available at the top (included in the permit fee). Trekkers are advised to bring raincoats and cold weather gear. Rain showers are a common occurrence on the climb up during the rainy season and temperatures at the summit can dip below 0°C/32°F.

Guests staying at the Mikeno lodge can arrange packed meal service for the trip, while those coming with tour groups must supply their own. There is no food service on Nyiragongo. Porters can be hired at the base of the climb to carry loads for $12/day ($24 for the overnight trip). The maximum weight that porters are authorized to carry is 15kg.

Summit Shelters

Each of the twelve summit shelters contains two single beds on which visitors can put their sleeping bags. Although these shelters aren’t plush, they offer a welcome escape from the elements. The cost of staying in a summit shelter is included in the permit fee.

Inclusions

Included

1 gorilla trek permit 

2 nights accommodation at Kibumba Tented Camp

1 night stay on Nyiragongo

Volcano trek permit

All transport to, from and within the Park once in the country

DRC Tourist Visa

Not included in this package:

 

  •  
  • D

Excluded

  • Fees for optional activities and additional gorilla permits 
  • Flight tickets and departure taxes
  • Travel documentation (Rwanda visas) travel and medical insurance
  • Drinks
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Tips and gratuities for your guides and accommodation staff
  • Nyiragongo backpack Porter fees Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls, postage fees and so on
  • Meals not indicated on your detailed itinerary

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Trekking the Gorillas in Congo (D.R.Congo)'s Virunga National Park

Virunga is located in the DRC’s North Kivu province, and covers nearly 8,000 square miles. As well as being home to one of the world’s largest populations of the critically endangered mountain gorillas, it has hundreds of other rare species.

The mountain gorillas in Congo are one of the wildlife species that have put Congo on the map being known for the gorilla trekking activity that many travelers fancy across the world. The Democratic Republic of Congo is blessed to be one of the 3 countries with the endangered mountain gorillas species. Mountain gorillas in Congo are only found in the Virunga National Park and this is the only place in Congo for gorilla trekking activity.  The mountain gorilla population in Virunga has been stable throughout the years despite the unrest in the region. Congo gorillas are fascinating creatures and are more habituated than most gorillas as it has been evident from past scenarios on how they relate to visitors and the park rangers.

According to WWF (World Wildlife Federation), gorillas are the world’s largest primate. The mountain gorillas are larger than the lowland gorillas whereby the mountain gorillas weigh about 135 to 220kgs while the lowland gorillas weigh less of about 68 to 181kgs.

A group of gorillas is called a band/ a troop and can have about 2 to 50 members with one dominate male silverback gorilla per family and can stay or dominate an area of up to 16 square miles. A silverback gorilla is identified by the grey hair on its back. When a male leaves its family, he will wander around alone for a while until he creates a family of his own as there can only be one dominant male per family.

Gorillas are herbivores so they feed on leaves, tree roots, shoots, tree pulp and can also eat insects like termites and caterpillars as well as small animals and are estimated to eat about 18kgs of food per day.

The gestation period for gorillas is the same as for humans that is 9 months and usually give birth to one in fact and a few cases may birth twins. A fully grown gorilla is considered after the age of 7 years and can have an offspring of its own and can leave the mother’s family to join another.

The estimated life expectancy of gorillas is up to 35 years in the wild and up to 50 years in the zoos or protected areas/ sanctuaries. The mortality rate for individuals below the age of 2 is high whereas for the adults above 5 years is at only 5%. A gorilla that was held captive in the United States was believed to have lived up to 54 years.

Other fascinating facts about gorillas in Congo are that did you know gorillas may not need to drink water as they get the moisture from what they feed on that acts as a drink for the day.

Gorillas in Congo build new nests every night in the forest from the tree branches and leaves. The older gorillas make their nests on the ground while the younger ones tend to nest up in the trees.

Mountain gorilla trekking; Mountain gorilla trekking safaris to Virunga are the most popular of tourism activities in DR Congo. There are not so many Mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park despite the large size of the habitat and six families are open for tourism activities. Kabirizi family is the popular to many travelers on gorilla trekking tour to DR Congo. Kabirizi is a dominant polygamist silverback with the largest of the gorilla family that has close to three dozen members.

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