6 DAY GORILLA TRACKING AND MOUNT NYIRAGONGO HIKE DRC.

 Safaris overview 

This  6 day Congo  tours offers a variety of activities including mountain gorilla tour at virunga national park and later proceeding  to do mountain nyiragongo one of the world wonders due to its active volcano state.

ITINERARY

DAY 1:  ARRIVE KIGALI TRANSFER TO KISORO, UGANDA

Your Jewel Safaris guide will meet you at the Kigali International Airport and give you a briefing of the upcoming itinerary.  Immediately, you will begin 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 (DRC), where you will be tracking the Mountain Gorillas the next morning.

Your Jewel Safaris guide will take you across the Rwanda/Uganda border and drive you to your accommodation in Kisoro.  Dinner will be at your accommodation.

DAY 2:  TRANSFER TO VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK (DRC) AND GORILLA TRACKING

After an early breakfast, your Jewel Safaris guide will take you from Kisoro to the Uganda/DRC border, a 30-minutes distance.  After crossing the border, you will go directly to the Virunga National Park headquarters and report for your Mountain Gorilla Tracking.  You will be assigned a group and a Park Ranger; after which time you will begin tracking the famous Silver backs and their family.  As the Gorillas wander around the forest, it is not known how long you will have to track them until you come in contact with the specific family of gorillas you have been assigned; this can take a number of hours. Once you meet up with them, you are allowed one hour to observe and photograph them.  When your tracking is finished, you will descend and meet up with your Jewel Safaris guide who will then take you to your accommodation, near the park.  Dinner will be served at your accommodation.

DAY 3:  TRANSFER TO BASE OF MOUNT NYIRGONGO IN VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast, your Gorilla Jewel Safaris guide will take you closer to the base of Mount Nyirgongo, in preparation for your climb the following morning.  En route you will travel through parts of the Virunga National Park, a pristine rain forest teaming with wildlife and birds, many of which you will no doubt see as you pass along the road.   Dinner will be served at your accommodation.

DAY 4:  ASCENDING MOUNT NYIRAGONGO

After an early breakfast again, you will be taken by your Jewel Safaris guide to the park headquarters to register for your Mount Nyiragongo hike.  Immediately, you have been assigned a local guide and porters, if you have equipment that needs to be carried, you will begin your climb up the trail.  The climb up Mount Nyiragongo takes between 4 and 6 hours depending on your climbing abilities and the weather.   At the summit, there are cabanas where you can rest when you reach the top; these cabanas will be your accommodation for the night.  Dinner will be prepared for you at the cabanas.

DAY 5:

After you have had breakfast and packed up your things, you will begin your descent of Mount Nyirgongo.  You will reunite with your Jewel Safaris guide who will take you to the town of Goma, on the north end of Lake Kivu for a city tour.  This will give you an opportunity to fathom the disaster of 2002 when Mount Nyirgongo erupted and almost completely destroyed the town of Goma; cars and building were left in piles of hardened lava flow throughout the town.

You will then return to Kisoro, crossing the DRC/Uganda border and stay overnight.  Dinner will be at your accommodation.

DAY 6:

After breakfast, your Jewel Safaris guide will take you across the Rwanda/Uganda border to Kigali to meet you flight; time permitting, your guide will give you a city tour of Kigali, including the Genocide Memorial Center and any other cultural and/or historical sites you desire to see.  Also this is an opportunity to do any souvenir shopping at one of the local markets or craft workshops in Kigali.

VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK INFORMATION

VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK is the continent’s oldest National Park and the Africa’s most biologically diverse protected area.  The park is 3000 square miles in size and includes the glaciated peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains, forests, savannas, lava plains, swamps, erosion valleys as well as active volcanoes.

Here in Virunga National Park, live one quarter of the world’s endangered Mountain Gorillas, as well as two other Great Ape species, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, also known as Grauer’s Gorilla and a number of species of Chimpanzee.  Virunga National Park is the only protected area in the world that hosts three such Great Apes.  The Okapi, another endangered species that is most closely related to the Giraffe, but resembles a zebra is found in Virunga National Park,  The park also has large colonies of hippopotamus, forest and savanna elephants, lions and numerous rare bird species.

The park is divided into three distinct areas.  The Southern Sector is best known for the Mountain Gorillas that live on the flanks of the dormant Mikeno Volcano.  Most of Southern Virunga is covered with dense forests, which make an ideal habitat for Chimpanzees and numerous species of Monkey. The Central Sector is defined by Lake Edward, the Ishasha River valley and the Rwindi plains.  Lake Edward contains over 50 species of fish as well as numerous bird species.  Here by the lake and adjacent Ishasha River valley you will find the park’s recovering hippo population and the highest concentrations of elephant, buffalo and warthogs.  The Rwindi plains is the area that the Topi can be found. The Northern Sector is defined by the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains that border Uganda. The snowmelt from the Rwenzoris is one of the primary sources of the Nile River.  Here, along the Semiliki River valley, the Okapis can be found.  .

MOUNTAIN NYIRAGONGO INFORMATION

MOUNT NYIRAGONGO is an active volcano, the summit reaches an elevation of 3,470 Meters; it is part of the Virunga Mountain chain associated with the Albertine Rift.  The volcano is within the Virunga National Park boundaries, 20 kilometers north of the town of Goma on Lake Kivu, just west of the Rwanda border.  The main crater, which usually contains a lava lake, is two kilometers wide.  The lava lake in Nyiragongo’s crater, in recent years, has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake.  Prior to the January 1977 eruption, the elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 3,250 meters, the lake depth was 600 meters.  Together, Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.

In October 2014, the Virunga National Park authorities re-opened the route to climb Mount Nyirangongo for tourists.  It had been closed off because of fears of an eruption.  The fact that Nyiragongo hosts one of the worlds largest and rarest lava lakes, makes it one of Africa’s most exciting and rewarding hiking experiences.  Reaching the summit, you will observe its bubbling lava cauldron and feel this volcano’s energy, as it seems to be breathing.  At the crater’s edge, tourists are allowed to overnight and enjoy this spectacle in the dark; at dawn and dusk its beauty is enhanced by the changing light.