Virunga Retreat - 5 Days - DR Congo / Rwanda
Day 1 - Arrival and transfer to lake Kivu
We welcome you at Kigali international airport and transfer to our hotel in Kigali. Together, we will go through your travel plan over a hot cup of coffee in Kigali's city center. From there, we intend to travel west in order to reach lake Kivu and its shores near Gisenyi town. Gisenyi is adjacent to DR Congo and the city of Goma. With the volcanoes in the distance, we will visit the local market and embark on a canoe excursion at sunset before dinner at the lodge. View Palm Resort (Budget) is located directly at the lakeside.
Day 2 - Crossing DRC border and Nyiragongo volcano hike
After a refreshing shower in the early morning and a nutritious breakfast at our lodge, we will make our way to DR Congo. With our valid visas and activity receipts for hiking and gorilla tracking, we will be able to reapidly cross the borders and find ourselves on the way to Nyiragongo's briefing point, which is located at the foothills of the 3,409 m volcano. The ascent to the rim of Mt. Nyiragongo - bearing the world's largest permanent lava lake - will take us approximately four hours, which are filled with rewarding views of the Great Rift Valley in the north east and a view of lake Kivu in the south. After reaching the top of the volcano, we will have the chance to enjoy the natural forces at work in the lava lake. We will set up our camping equipment and tents at the top of the volcano and prepare for the night. What's for dinner? We will cook a delicious meal together, using vegetables and other ingredients from the market in Gisenyi. Accommodation at more than 3,400 m in a summit overnight shelter.
Day 3 - Morning at the lava lake, descent, and transfer to Mikeno
On the third day of our journey, we will wake up with the lava forcefully flowing within the crater lake beneath us. An empowering breakfast this morning is supplemented with a majestic view across the borders of Uganda and Rwanda. After packing up our tents and equipment we will begin our descent will and expect to be back at our vehicle around noon. From there, we will travel north to a hidden gem of the region, Mikeno Lodge (Luxury). Situated in the valley between Nyiragongo and Mikeno volcanoes, you will be welcomed with delicious meals in the tastefully designed retreat in the middle of the rain forest. Sometimes, mountain gorillas enter the premises. Not long ago, a small stray gorilla from the orphanage broke into one of the bungalows at night and rearranged the furniture. Before we settle for the night, we would like to take you on a walk and show you the local caves and coffee estate on a community hike.
Day 4 - Mountain gorilla tracking in Virunga National Park
As the clouds pass through the deep valleys of the highlands, it is time to embark on our mountain gorilla trek in Virunga National Park - Africa's oldest national park! Entering from Bukima park entrance on our ICCN-guided (Institut Congolais pour le Conservation de la Nature) hike, we plan to visit the mountain gorillas deep in the rain forest. After this whole day's activity and a hot shower at our lodge, we will have the chance to attend an ICCN Congo hounds training exercise demonstration. These dogs are specially trained to help fight illegal charcoal harvesting in the park as well as poachers who are out to hunt mountain gorillas and other wildlife. Afterwards, we will have dinner at the lodge and relax at our bonfire. Accommodation at Mikeno Lodge (Luxury).
Day 5 - Return to Kigali and end of safari
After our encounter with the wild mountain gorillas in the forests around Mikeno village, we plan to travel back to Kigali on the last day of our safari. Via Goma and Gisenyi, we expect to reach Kigali in the afternoon, allowing for a visit at the 1994 Genocide Memorial Site in the city center. Our safari ends with your successful check-in for your returning or connecting flight from Kigali international airport.
Are you ready for your adventure?
What is included?
VAT is included in the tour price - emergency air ambulance evacuation gold cover from AMREF Flying Doctors (www.flydoc.org) valid in Uganda and Rwanda, only. DR Congo is not yet part of the service and no emergency air ambulance is provided - your Instinct Safaris guide and driver are included in your safari itinerary - your half or full board accommodation in the specified lodges, hotels, and camps is included on a shared room basis - your secure transport is ensured by traveling in a fully safari-customized Land Rover Defender or Toyota Land Cruiser - all other transportation included in your travel plan is on us - soft drinks, water, and endemic fruits are included in your safari with us. We support the local community by buying as much produce as possible from them rather than large chains - park entrance fees to Virunga National Park are included in your trip - your active volcano hike on Mt. Nyiragongo is included (US $300 value) - your mountain gorilla tracking permit in Virunga National Park is included (US $400 value) - a canoe trip on lake Kivu is included in your trip - a visit to the 1994 Genocide Memorial Site in Kigali is included in your price - your Instinct Safaris Foundation fee is included in the tour, supporting local vocational, health, and educational projects.
What is excluded?
Emergency air ambulance evacuation cover for DR Congo - International flights to and from Kigali are excluded - any additional travel health insurance is not part of your safari price - all sorts of expenses of personal nature - souvenirs, drinks, laundry, and additional equipment - are not included - activities not stated in the itinerary are excluded - gratuities and tips to rangers, driver, guide, porter, lodge staff, or others, are not included - visa fees to Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo (where applicable) are not included - Instinct Safaris is not to be held responsible for the loss or damage taken to any object or piece of equipment taken in the wild.