In Congo, you can trek to see both mountain and lowland gorillas, meet pygmies still practising their traditional way of life in the forests, spot bonobos and okapi—two rare species not found anywhere else on earth, climb to the summits of active volcanoes and more.
This tour is designed for adventurers. You will climb the active Nyiragongo Volcano in Congo and track mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
• Gorilla tracking
• Cultural tour
• Golden monkey tracking
• Nyiragongo hike
Day 1: Airport pick – Transfer to Volcanoes National park
Today, you will be picked from the Kigali airport by a representative of Bird’s Nest Safaris and transferred to Volcanoes National park
Journey Time: 2 hours from the airport
Accommodation: Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge
Meal Plan: No meals inclusive
Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge (Mid-range)
Situated on the edge of the dense forest that makes up Parc National Des Volcans, this lodge offers an excellent resting place before and after your visit with the gorillas. From the large rooms, you can look out over the expansive lawns and tropical rainforest with the mighty Mount Sabinyo that rising up in the background like a Mt.Olympus of the Virunga range. In the evening, enjoy a camp fire and some entertainment from a local dance troop.
You can upgrade to the Five Volcanoes lodge which is one of the most beautiful lodges in the country. It has stunning beautiful views
Day 2: Gorilla tracking and Iby’iwacu cultural tour
Today after breakfast, you will drive into the park office. The head ranger of the ORTPN will divide you into groups based on interest and fitness. From here your driver/guide will take you as close as possible to the starting point of your tracking. You will track one of the habituated Gorillas groups. The time taken to track the gorillas can take as little as half an hour to as much as 8 hours!
Your track will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorillas’ current location. Your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity, including dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots. Once the gorillas have been located, you will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Rwanda’s own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.
In the afternoon, you will go to Iby’iwacu Cultural Village, a Non-Profit umbrella organization that aims at improving the lives of reformed poachers and communities around Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park through provision of conservation incentives, supporting community enterprise development and livelihood based projects
It provides tourists experiences beyond wildlife. It has created a new understanding of tourism among tourists, rural communities, tour operators, but also has changed the traditional perceptions of tourism in Rwanda.
Journey Time: 15 minutes by car, tracking time varies
Accommodation:Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge
Meal plan: All meals
Day 3: Golden monkey tracking- Transfer to Gisenyi
This morning you will depart after breakfast for the park headquarters for your walk to see the golden monkeys – a completely different experience but just as rewarding. These beautiful, lively creatures are on the endangered list, and are fascinating to watch as they leap through the vegetation.
Later, our driver/guide will take you to Gisenyi on the shores of Lake Kivu.
In the evening, you have time to explore Gisenyi town. Optional activities can be organized by the lodge. Activities today are at your own cost.
Accommodation: Waterfront Resort Lake Kivu
Meal plan: All meals
Waterfront Resort Lake Kivu (mid-range) is located in the quaint village of Rubona, 6km south of the city. This hotel has a large lawn and private beach giving it a relaxed atmosphere where you can have a drink and unwind. The complex is spacious and authentically decorated in colourful and lively African themes. The traditional rooms have a private outdoor shower.
Day 4: Climb Nyiragongo Volcano
Your driver will take you to the Kibati patrol post on the foot of the Nyiragongo Volcano. You will start hiking at 10 AM in the morning. You will have your own porter to carry your backpack and your personal cook will prepare your meal on top of the crater rim. You will need an overnight back pack with a sleeping bag and warm fleece shirt.
The Nyiragongo is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has the world’s largest lava lake. This stratovolcano recently erupted in 2002 but is predictable and therefore safe to climb. The volcano’s forested lower slopes are home to a variety of animals, including monkeys and bush-bucks.
In the late afternoon you will reach the top with an extraordinary view of the crater filled with sea of lava. You are one of the few persons to admire this spectacle. After a nice hot meal, prepared by your personal cook, you have some time to relax and enjoy the view.
At night you can see the sea of lava in the crater which results in fantastic photos. You will sleep in one of the basic huts on the crater rim.
Journey Time: 5 – 6 hours hike to the top
Accommodation: Nyiragongo summit shelter
Meal plan: All meals
Nyiragongo summit shelter (Basic) is very basic at the moment. Sleeping on the crater rim of the active Nyiragongo volcano is a once in a life time experience with stunning views of the lava lake at night. We expect that by July 2016 there will be a newly build accommodation on the crater rim with a common area. Your personal cook will prepare a delicious hot meal for you. In your backpack you need a comfortable sleeping bag to keep you warm at night. In the morning you wake up feeling like you are on the top of the world.
Day 5: Transfer back to Kigali
Today you will descend and have a picnic lunch. After this amazing experience your driver/guide will take you across the border again and he will take you to your accommodation in Kigali or drop you at the airport in time for you flight.
Please note that you will not arrive in Kigali before 6 PM. It is possible to book an extra night in Kigali depending on your flight departure. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Journey Time: 4 hours
Accommodation: Not included
Meal plan: Breakfast
This is a private tour, departure can be organised for anytime throughout the year subject to the availability of accommodation and transport.
The bookings with the hotels mentioned in the program depend on availability. Reservations will only be made after your booking.
In case the mentioned hotels are not available during the requested period, we will do our best to book a hotel in the same class for you- of course after consulting you.
Gorilla and chimp permits
It is not possible to ‘reserve’ gorilla and chimpanzee permits. Therefore we can only buy them after your booking and down-payment and it all depends on availability.
Our standard offering for mid-range tours is a 4wd safari van with a pop-up roof for easy safari viewing. All clients will have a dedicated window seat. Your professional driver/guide will be at your disposal for questions or translations.
Tour Package Including:
• Transport in a 4WD mini-van with pop-up roof for excellent safari view;
• All fuel for the tour;
• English speaking Ugandan driver/guide;
• Accommodation as listed in the program;
• Meals as per the itinerary
• Packed lunch for the gorilla tracking;
• Park-entrance fees according to the program;
• All activities described in the itinerary;
• Golden monkey tracking
• 1 gorilla permit per person
• Nyiragongo Hike
• International air fares and entry visa
• Congo Visa fees ($130)
• Meals that are not part of your accommodation;
• A porter for during the gorilla tracking (someone who carries your day pack);
• Personal (medical/travel) insurance;
• Tips and gratuities to rangers, driver/guide, porter, hotel staff, etc;
• All expenses of personal nature (e.g. drinks, laundry, optional activities, souvenirs etc.)
This tour can be tailor made to suit budget and luxury travelers
Gorilla tracking is dependent on the permits availability at the time of your booking. Gorilla permits in all parks are on a very high demand and we advise that you book them as early as possible.
Safety and risks
Your own responsibility
Every country in the world has a negative travel advice for travelling in Congo/ DRC. Bird’s Nest Safaris can only be held responsible for the organization of the trip itself.
Travelling against the travel advice of your country therefore will be on your own risk and you will have to sign for this before going on tour with Bird’s Nest Safaris. Please check the status from the website of your own embassy and check if this will affect the validation of your travel- or medical insurance. You might have to take alternative or additional travel and health insurances to be covered. Check The UK travel Advice:
Travel with the right attitude
Although the Democratic Republic of the Congo is no longer considered as risky as it used to be, it remains a destination for only the most seasoned, hardcore African traveler. It is not a country for the casual “tourist”: the average backpacker, holidaymaker, and especially those seeking luxury safaris or organized cultural experiences. The DRC remains one of the least developed countries in Africa.
When you travel expect that almost every activity runs late, people do not speak English they speak French instead and service at hotels and activities are not to be compared with more experienced tourist destinations in Africa. As well information provided by guides and rangers can be a bit poor.
Be flexible and patient. Those who do brave the elements to travel here are in for quite the adventure.
IMPORTANT: LIABILITY INSURANCE
The client acknowledges and accepts that there may be no policy covering Bird’s Nest Safaris liability to its clients for death, injury, damage or loss occurring anywhere in the world. The client also specifically acknowledges that with respect to passenger accident liability cover this cover may be very limited or may not exist at all. The client acknowledges that he has taken reasonable steps in safeguarding its liability. Although Bird’s Nest Safaris does hold various insurances this booking condition states that the client must assume he/she is not covered by any Bird’s Nest Safaris insurance policy, including all liability insurance, for death, injury, damage or any other loss. Inquire now for rates.
End of the safari
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