Tailored Safari Specialists

Climbing Mount Nyiragongo and mountain gorilla trekking


Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo

from $3,480 per person sharing

Bush-walking

Gorilla and chimp trekking

Climbing Mount Nyiragongo and mountain gorilla trekking

Indication Price (from): $3,480 per person sharing * View all prices.
Length: 5 days
Group Size: 1 - 6
Location: Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Departure Dates: To suit you
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INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

We do not charge you for our services. We generate revenue from our lodge suppliers, based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

Virunga National Park is closed to tourists until further notice, while the authorities improve on security measures.

Mount Nyiragongo in Virunga National Park is a spectacular stratovolcano that hosts one of the world’s largest and rarest lava lakes, making it one of Africa’s most exciting and rewarding hiking experiences. Watch this incredible video of the hike up the volcano and read this personal travel diary from one of our clients.

Lava lakes are without a doubt one of the most impressive forms of volcanic activity that any outdoor 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 its 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. Climbing Nyiragongo, gazing at its lava cauldron, smelling the sulphuric gasses, listening to the sound of it heaving and boiling, feeling its heat and sensing the might of the planet is an experience that you will neither expect, nor forget.

Mount Nyiragongo, in eastern DR Congo, rises majestically to an altitude of 3470m overlooking the Virunga 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.

To further ensure an unforgettable experience, this tour includes a mountain gorilla trekking experience in the Bukima sector of Virunga NP, a mere 30 minute drive from Nyiragongo. With the recent increase in gorilla trekking rates in neighbouring Rwanda, Virunga NP now offers the most affordablegenuine and significant way to contribute towards the safekeeping of mountain gorillas and the world famous Virunga NP. Coming face to face with mountain gorillas is a hugely emotional and humbling experience, if not life-changing.

Before and after these two singular walking adventures you will enjoy a relaxing visit to the idyllic shores of Lake Kivu.

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Detailed Itinerary

On arrival at Kigali International Airport you will be met by our representative and, unless you require some last minute shopping for essentials, will set off north towards the sleepy border town of Gisenyi. En route you will be able to stop at handicraft shops, bustling villages, and scenic viewpoints to soak in the crafted beauty, entrepreneurial spirit and natural splendour of Rwanda. This short 3-hour drive will soon have you admiring a myriad of volcanic cones towering all around you, and before you know it you will be gazing onto the blue placid waters of Lake Kivu.

On arrival at your accommodation for the night (Paradis Malahide Hotel) you will have a chance to freshen up, maybe take a swim in the lake, enjoy the sunset and indulge in a delicious home-cooked dinner at the lake’s edge.

Before you retire, our DR Congo aide will come meet you at the hotel in order to debrief you on border crossing proceedings and a debrief on the hiking logistics involved the following day.

Overnight at Paradis Malahide Hotel
After an early wake-up call, breakfast and a swift transfer to the Rwanda/DR Congo border post, you will meet with our aide and cross into the DR Congo. Without delay you will now be transferred on a 4WD to 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 will be assigned one or two porters (your choice!) and begin the climb towards Mount Nyiragongo’s summit. The party will be led and escorted by a set of armed Virunga NP rangers/guides and a small contingent of aides and 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 infinite horizons, with Lake Kivu, Goma, Rwanda and Burundi at your feet. You are now standing on the lava flow remnants of Mount Nyiragongo’s 2002 eruption, and around you stand proud a number of volcanic giants such as Nyamulagira, Mikeno,Karisimbi, Visoke and many more.

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 gigantic everlastings. Shortly after you will reach Mount Nyiragongo’s crater’s edge and your overnight cabins.

The remainder of the afternoon will be spent exploring the crater’s edge and soaking up 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. Expect the unexpected, for this sight defies most peoples’ comprehension, and nothing really prepares you for the multi-sensory overload experience that ensues.

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 can return to a designated spot at the crater’s edge to once again gaze and appreciate Mount Nyiragongo’s molten lava lake. In the darkness of night one is able to better appreciate the dark, crusty surface of lava, spliced and splitting into ever changing plates. As the plates separate, bright orange lava fills the cracks and a fantastic spiderweb pattern emerges. Every now and then fountains of lava flare up disrupting these pretty patterns, but adding a surge of energy and power to this spectacular sight.

As you return to your cabins on Mount Nyiragongo, the lights of Goma and other lakeside hamlets glow below.

Overnight in two-bed cabins at the rim of the giant crater, high above Mount Nyiragongo’s active lava lake.
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 back to Kibati. The descent generally takes 2 – 3 hours, but there really is no rush and the views are as always magnificent. Back at Kibati, your transport will be waiting to take you through to Bukima Tented Camp where happy smiles and lunch await. En route, you will have a chance to witness a rather derelict countryside with plenty of subsistence farming, but very proud and dignified children and farming folk going about their daily routines. Time allowing, you may want to take a stroll to a nearby lava tube cave, yet another local fascinating geological feature. Drinks and dinner await back at camp, and after admiring Bukima’s starry skies and impressive silhouette of nearby Mikeno Volcano, you will surely be headed for a well deserved shower and glorious rest.

Overnight at Bukima Tented Camp
After breakfast you will take a gentle stroll to the Bukima Ranger Station (2 minutes away) where you will meet with the local rangers that are going to lead your mountain gorilla trekking experience. An informative talk on what to expect, how to behave and etiquette required for gorilla trekking will precede the actual walk.

Once the different gorilla trekking groups have been formed you will start your trekking towards the different territories and areas in the park where your allocated mountain gorilla family resides. Gorilla trekking can take between 1 and 6 hours and you could climb to altitudes in excess of 2300m (7 500 feet).

Although the climb can be physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery always makes the trekking a worthwhile experience. Your trekking rangers are professionals at this activity and will ensure that the pace and route taken is adequate for everyone. That said, once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten.

Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of mountain gorillas is surely the most exciting and poignant wildlife encounter that Africa has on offer – and arguably one of the most profound natural history experiences in the world.

When the group returns from the hills a transfer will take you back to the mellow lakeside town of Gisenyi, where you will check into the Paradis Malahide Hotel for a delicious lunch, well-earned shower and rest. No activities are planned for the afternoon in order to allow participants the choice of a leisurely swim in Lake Kivu, catching up with news by its shores, or spending the evening just relaxing with drinks while watching the sunset.

Dinner and overnight at Paradis Malahide Hotel.
Shortly after breakfast and depending on your flight departure time, you will depart Gisenyi for Kigali. On arrival you have the chance to visit some of Kigali’s main attractions such as the Caplaki Handicrafts Market (the perfect place to browse for Rwandan souvenirs), the Kimironko City Market where all types of colourful and tasty food is sold, or the Kigali Genocide Memorial located in Gisozi – a site that houses over 250 000 victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide and stands as a vivid testimony to the courage and reconciliation efforts of the Rwandan people.

After a light lunch at a cozy Kigali restaurant you will be transferred back to Kigali Airport for your homebound flight connection.

Indication Price (from):

$3,480

  per person sharing

Departure Dates: To suit you

ParticipantsPrice Per Person Sharing
1$4,770
2$3,480
4$3,300
6$3,120


Price includes:

Transfers to and from the airport in Kigali on arrival and departure days. Transport in a 4WD vehicle for the entirety of the tour, including fuel. Services of an English speaking tour guide/driver. Four night’s accommodation on full board. All meals mentioned in the itinerary (starting with dinner on arrival day to lunch on departure day). Coffee, tea, and mineral water during meals. A single entry Nyiragongo hiking and overnight permit and gorilla permit per participant. DR Congo visa (arranged on your behalf) and required entrance fees for Virunga National Park. The services of a Mount Nyiragongo guide, and one porter per person climbing Mount Nyiragongo. Camping and trekking kit, including a sleeping bag, will be provided for the Mount Nyiragongo’s hike as well as hot meals/drinks at the summit. 24/7 office support.

Price excludes:
International or local airfare (we can help you with booking your tickets). Rwandan multiple entry visa. Internet services, items of personal nature, telephone calls, laundry, travel and medical insurance, tips, excess baggage charges, gratuities to lodge staff, drivers and the leader. Any activities not specified in the itinerary.

Suggested itineraries: We offer safaris to most accredited lodges in sub-Saharan Africa. Those appearing below are some of those on offer. Contact us to adapt these itineraries to your needs.
INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

We do not charge you for our services. We generate revenue from our lodge suppliers, based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

Accommodation: Two nights at Paradis Malahide Hotel (Gisenyi), one night at high altitude cabins on Mount Nyiragongo’s summit, one night at Bukima Tented Camp.

Paradis Malahide Hotel: This lodge is located 7km outside Gisenyi at a beautiful location on the shores of Lake Kivu, with lovely views across to the islands. The bungalows and the main dining/reception areas are surrounded by well-manicured and colourful gardens. A small section of public and private beaches allow visitors to fully enjoy Lake Kivu. All en-suite bungalows are cool and comfortable with a double bed, mosquito netting, bamboo chairs and a small table, as well as a wardrobe. It is a perfectly integrated, charmingly rustic, simple lodge that is enthusiastically run, and offers great food.

Mount Nyiragongo Cabins: These wooden cabins, built on the edge of the volcano’s crater, are relatively new (2011) and are en-suite, spacious and are each endowed with two ground mattresses. They are clean, practical and comfortable.

Bukima Tented Camp: This camp was originally built for researchers, but is now used primarily by trekkers. 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.

Across the valley is Nyiragongo volcano, whose lava lake stains 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 camp and although this is highly frowned upon by park staff, it never ceases to impress the guests.

Climate: Temperatures typically vary from 15°C to 29°C and are rarely below 14°C or above 31°C.

Difficulty: A basic level of fitness is required for trekking mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park. Climbing Mount Nyiragongo in Virunga National Park requires a reasonably good level of fitness and basic hiking experience. Summiting Mount Nyiragongo involves a 4 – 6 hour uphill climb, often on uneven volcanic rock, muddy tracks and slippery trails. It is, however, not particularly steep. The pace of both trekking experiences will be set and determined by professional trekking guides who always ensure that everyone reaches the targeted troop/camp. To make your experience even more enjoyable, porters that can carry your bag (max. 15kg), will be available for hire at Bukima station and have been pre-arranged at the Kibati Patrol Post in Virunga National Park (DR Congo).

Altitude sickness: This may be an issue for some since the climb begins at 1989m (6,525 ft) and ends at the crater’s rim at 3470m (11,382ft), all done in a relative short time (4 – 6 hours). Staying hydrated is the best and most common way to adapt to such changes in altitude, however people prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) should contact their physicians to discuss preventative measures and/or techniques to avoid AMS before undertaking this climb.

Safety and security: Many of the structures required to run Africa’s oldest national park have been restored by the tireless efforts of hard working rangers and staff of the Virunga National Park. These included the cabins and shelters at the crater’s rim – an epic feat when one considers that every single piece of building material had to be lugged on foot to an altitude of 3400m.

The work done by the people involved in rebuilding and protecting the parks assets, as well as those that to date ensure a safe passage and stay at this national park, is nothing short of heroic and well worth rewarding with one’s presence!

Flight details: The cost of return flights to Kigali (Rwanda) is not included. Should you wish to book with us we will do our utmost to secure your booking at the best possible rate. Should you wish to extend your stay/do a pre-trip leading up this tour please contact us for details.

Booking and payment details: Once you have decided to join one of our safaris, you will need to contact us for a booking form, which will include details relating to the deposit required and final payments, etc.

Recommended reading: For the most authoritative and up to date information about Rwanda as a travel destination we recommend Wild Rwanda. Beautifully written and lavishly illustrated, this book contains everything you would like to know about Rwanda’s habitats, reserves, national parks, and where, and how, to find its most iconic birds, primates and fascinating wildlife. Click here to purchase your copy.
Wild-Rwanda-Cover1

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” Make a real difference for African conservation – come on safari with us. We support sustainable, ethical tourism that benefits wildlife and communities. ” Simon Espley, Africa Geographic CEO