Gorillas and Volcanoes of the DRC

This adventurous safari to the Democratic Republic of Congo lets you track endangered mountain gorillas in the mountains of Virunga National Park, and sleep out on the crater rim of the Nyiragongo volcano.

Duration 9 days
Price From $5,546
When Year Round
Destination DRC

Safari Overview

Trek through the mountains of Virunga National Park in search of endangered mountain gorillas, sleep on the crater rim of the Nyiragongo volcano, and relax on the beaches of the peaceful Tchegera island; this pioneering safari offers something different for the more adventurous traveller. Starting on the shores of Lake Kivu, you will explore the rugged landscapes of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern border, including the incredibly diverse Virunga National Park - the oldest national park in Africa. You will have two opportunities to spend time with the elusive mountain gorillas who reside in the park, learning about their behaviour and the conservation work surrounding them, before enjoying some relaxation on Tchegera island, offering stunning views over the lake and the surrounding volcanoes.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Hike to and sleep on the crater rim of Mt. Nyiragongo
  • Seek out mountain gorillas in the isolated Virunga National Park
  • Relax on the shores of Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s ‘great lakes’
  • Learn about the anti-poaching efforts of the Congohounds and their work protecting the wildlife of Virunga

On clear nights, the molten lava of Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira volcanoes lights up the sky with a red glow.

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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive DRC

Upon arrival into Kigali, Rwanda, you will be met and transferred to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After being assisted on the Rwanda side with your visa and paperwork, you will then be met on the DRC side by your guide and ICCN vehicle. You will transfer the short distance to the lovely Lake Kivu Lodge, located on the shores of the lake itself. The remainder of the day is yours to relax and prepare for the weeks coming adventures.

Overnight: Lake Kivu Lodge

Day 2

Lake Kivu - Nyiragongo

Enjoy a hearty breakfast this morning before setting off on your volcano climb. Starting at Kibati, you will have a short briefing and finalise your paperwork. The climb to the summit will take between 4-6 hours subject to your fitness level. It is a stunning climb as you pass through four different vegetation zones and finally arrive at the summit, affording beautiful vistas over Goma and the lake below. Make your way to the crater rim and look down into the pulsing heart and molten lava of Mt Nyiragongo. Tonight is a once in a lifetime experience as you sleep on the crater rim in your mountain hut.

Overnight: Mount Nyiragongo Summit Huts B, L, D

Day 3

Mt Nyiragongo - Virunga National Park

Take one last chance to peer down into the crater before a quick breakfast and hike back down the volcano. Arriving back in Kibati towards the mid-morning, you will meet your driver and transfer northwards to Rumangabo. On arrival in Mikeno, take a chance to freshen up with a hot shower and a hearty lunch. This afternoon you have the chance to relax and take in your surroundings, or alternatively visit the famous gorilla orphans.

Overnight: Mikeno Lodge B, L, D

Day 4

Virunga National Park

Today the plan is to simply relax; take the time to absorb your surroundings and digest where you really are. The DRC is an incredible country and you should take the opportunity to take in what it means to have access to such a diverse region. Optional activities that you may want to enjoy include visiting the local widow's workshop (an amazing sewing project for the wives of the fallen park rangers), a demonstration by the anti-poaching dog team or a three hour walk through the local coffee plantation.

Overnight: Mikeno Lodge B, L, D

Day 5

Bukima Gorilla Tracking

An early start this morning as you depart for Bukima. This 45 minute drive takes you through the local villages and surrounding countryside, before arriving at Bukima headquarters. Following your introductory briefing, you will then set off into the forest in search of the elusive mountain gorillas of DRC. With only eight habituated gorilla groups in Virunga, this is a unique experience and spending time with these amiable apes is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Following your hour with the gorillas, you will transfer back to Mikeno Lodge where you have a chance to relax and reminisce over the adventures of today.

Overnight: Mikeno Lodge B, L, D

Day 6

Bukima Gorilla Tracking

Another early start this morning as you are transferred back to Bukima for your second gorilla tracking experience. Today try and take the time to truly immerse yourself in your surroundings and take in how magical this experience really is. Returning to Mikeno later in the day, take the afternoon to relax, or alternatively enjoy one of the aforementioned activities that are available at the lodge.

Overnight: Mikeno Lodge B, L, D

Day 7

Virunga - Goma

Enjoy a relaxing breakfast, prior to transferring back south, passing Mt Nyiragongo along the way, on to Goma. On arrival in Goma town, you will catch your boat to the peaceful island of Tchegera. This horse-shoe shaped island getaway is the perfect place to sit back and relax taking in the adventures of the last week or so, or alternatively go for a more gentle stroll to explore the islands 2.5km length. This evening, enjoy dinner overlooking the lake shore and, if you are lucky, the distant glow of the volcanic peak of Mt Nyiragongo.

Overnight: Tchegera Island Tented Camp B, L, D

Day 8

Tchegera Island

Today you will have a full day to sit back and do nothing. For those who want a bit more adventure, there is a chance to swim in the waters of Lake Kivu, or even snorkel or canoe around the island.

Overnight: Tchegera Island Tented Camp B, L, D

Day 9

Depart DRC

A gentle start to the day, prior to your transfer back to Goma where you will be met and helped to cross the border back into Rwanda. From here you will transfer back through the land of a thousand hills and to the airport in time for your international flight back home.

Trip Details

This safari is run on a tailor-made basis. Please get in contact with our destination specialist to plan your perfect safari to the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Read NWS MD's DRC Safari Blog for more of an insight into this safari!

Your Next Steps

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