5 Day Gorilla Safari and Nyiragongo Hike

Virunga National Park

nyiragongoThis is the oldest National park and the most biological diverse protected area. The park also covers an area of 3000 sq miles and includes, savannahs, forests, swamps, lava plains, active volcanoes, glaciated peaks of the Rwenzoris and the erosion valleys. These have a quarter of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, it has the two other great ape species as well as the eastern lowland gorilla and the chimps. The park is a protected area in the world and has three of the great apes. The Okapi is another endangered species that look like a zebra and is closely related to the Giraffe. The park has large colonies of the hippos, forest and the savanna elephants, lions as well as the rare bird species.

The national park is divided into three areas, the northern sector with the snowcapped Rwenzori Mountain that borders Uganda. Along the semiliki River valley, the Okapis can be found. The park’s central sector is also defined by Lake Edward, the Ishasha River Valley and the Rwindi plains. Lake Edward also has 50 species of fish as well as the many bird species. You can also find the hippos, elephants, warthogs, buffalos. The Rwindi plains is also the area that topis can be found. The southern sector is also best known for the mountain gorillas that live on the franks of the dormant Mikeno volcano. Most of the southern Virunga is well covered with the dense forests, which make an ideal habitant for the chimps and the monkey species.

About Mount Nyiragongo

This is an active volcano with an elevation of 3,470m and its part of the Virunga Mountain chain associated with the Albertine Rift. The volcano is in the Virunga National park boundaries and some 20 kilometers north of the town of Goma on Lake Kivu, just west of the Rwandan border. The main crater is 2 km wide and usually contains a lave lake. In the recent years, this lava lake in the Nyiragongo’s crater has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake. Preceding to the January 1977 eruption, the elevation of the lava lake was also recorded at 3,250m, the lake depth was at 600m. The Nyiragongo and the Nyamuragira are responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kigali & transfer to Kisoro, Uganda

The Guide will meet you at Kigali international Airport and will brief you of the itinerary. After you will start your journey to the town of Kisoro in western Uganda, this is the best Vantage point to access the section of the Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where you will be tracking the mountain Gorillas the next morning.

Your guide will take you across the Rwanda / Uganda border and then drive you to your accommodation in Kisoro.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 2: Transfer to Virunga National park and do gorilla trekking

Have breakfast and then the guide will take you from Kisoro to the Uganda/DRC border, some 30 minutes distance. After crossing, you will go directly to the Virunga National paprk headquarters and then report for your mountain gorilla tracking, Have breakfast and the guide will take you to the headquarters of the Virunga National park, register you and the assign you to your group and the ranger guide. You will then start your gorilla trekking. It can take up to many hours to locate them, you are assigned to after which you will be allowed to spend one hour with the gorillas.

You will be taken back to your accommodation.

Day 3: Transfer to Mount Nyiragongo

Have breakfast and then the guide will take you to the base of mount Nyiragongo in preparation for your climb the following day. En route you will travel through the parts of the virunga National park, a rain forest teaming with wildlife and the birds. Dinner will be served at your accommodation and we also suggest an early night, as the climb up mount Nyiragongo in the morning will be somewhat so demanding.

Day 4: Ascend Mount Nyiragongo

Have breakfast and then you will be taken by the guide to the park headquarters to register for the mount Nyiragongo hike. After you will be assigned a local guide and porters, if you need equipment carried, you will start your climb up the trail. The hike up the mount takes between 4 to 6 hours and this depends on your climbing abilities. The vegetation and the wildlife you will meet during the hike is so nice and there are cabanas at the summit where you will rest when ou arrive at the top of the mountain, and where you will sleep the night. Seeing the volcanoes from the rim at different times of the day and the night is so interesting in full darkness.

Dinner will be prepared for you at the cabanas.

Day 5: Departure

Have breakfast and pack the things, you will start your descent of mount Nyiragongo . You will reunite with the guide who will take you to the town of Goma, on the north end of Lake Kivu for a city tour. This will also give you a chance to fathom the disaster of 2002 when mount Nyiragongo erupted and also destroyed the town of Goma, cars and building were all left in piles of the hardened lave flow

Then you will transfer to Kigali Rwanda for your flight.