Departure Times For Virunga Park Packages are the scheduled times when the guests are meant to set off for their journey to the starting points of the safari.
Did you know that all packages that Virunga park offers have a set-off time/departure time? These times MUST be observed and they are not flexible. Failure to keep time when going for a tour in Virunga park will lead you to miss out on your Virunga tour package that can’t be refunded. It is very important to check with your flights before you book a tour package with Virunga.
This was implemented recently as a security measure for Virunga National Park when it reopened recently in February 2019. The meeting point for all visitors going to the Virunga National Park is the Grand barrier post that is located at the Goma border and that is where you meet to check in and receive the trekking permits that are to be presented at the beginning of every activity. It can be accessed from Rwanda – Gisenyi side or by flying into Goma airport by Ethiopian Airlines. The visitors join a convoy of the Virunga security that sets off from the Grande Barrier at the allocated scheduled times and once the convoy sets off, you are not allowed to follow it. Also, ensure you are on the list of the visitors visiting the park at least 2 days before your trip because you will not be allowed to join in on the convoy if you haven’t been cleared and added on the list.
Below are the set departure times for the tours of Virunga National Park.
The Nyiragongo Hike: Trekkers should ensure to be at the Grande Barrier border by 7:00 am so that they have checked in and received their hike permits by 8:00 am on the morning of their booked trek. Once check-in is done, the trekkers join the convoy that is scheduled to set off for Kibati post where they start their 2-day hike. This helps trekkers reach the summit by 5 pm so as to enjoy views at the summit where they spend a night and descend the next morning at 6:00 am. The convoy back to Goma usually sets off by 12:00 pm. You may stay more than one night at the summit if you may wish at an extra charge.
The Mikeno Mist: This is a 4-day trek that lets visitors of Virunga National Park visit the mountain gorillas and hike Nyiragongo mountain. Visitors are expected to be at the Grande Barrier by 12:15pm to check in and get permits for the gorilla trek and Nyiragongo hike. The security convoy sets off from the meeting point at 13:00 to Kibumba Tented Camp where you will spend 2 nights then one night at the Nyiragongo summit.
The Petit Virunga (Mikeno): This is a package that lets visitors stay at Mikeno lodge for 2 nights and one night at the Nyiragongo summit. The visitors who book this package are expected to be at the Grande Barrier by 11:00 am on Fridays only. Please note, this package only starts on Fridays, not any other day so ensure to check your flights align with this plan if you wish to stay at Mikeno Lodge and also those interested in the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage, ensure to book this package to be able to.
The Petit Virunga (Bukima) This is a 4-day package where trekkers get to visit the mountain gorillas and hike mount Nyiragongo with 1 night at Bukima tented camp, the second night at Mikeno lodge and one night at the top of Mount Nyiragongo. The visitors for this package are expected to have finished checking in at the Grande Barrier by 11:00 which is the set off time. This package is also special as it only sets off on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11:00 am. You are also able to visit Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage center when you book this package.
The Virunga Classic: This a 5-day trip that offers Virunga national park visitors the opportunity to spend 3 nights at Mikeno lodge, 1 night at Bukima tented camp with 2 gorilla treks with one Nyiragongo hike and also the chance to visit the park headquarters and the Senkwekwe Gorilla orphanage. It is the ideal package to explore the whole of Virunga. This package also has specific departure dates that are only Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:00 am so ensure to have checked in by then to avoid the disappointment of being turned away at the Grande barrier on late check-in.
The Great Ape: This is a great package just like its name as visitors to the park get to see the 2 ape species of the park that is the mountain gorillas and the Chimpanzees. This package just like the Virunga classic departs Goma on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:00 am to Mikeno lodge where you will spend 3 nights, then one night at Bukima Tented Camp. This package involves 2 gorilla treks and 1 chimpanzee trek so for those interested in the primates could book this package as you spend quality time with them.
Groups of many are advised to reach the border at least an hour or 2 in advance in case of delays on check-in. These Virunga packages are all available for booking as of July 2019. Reach out to us to organize for you one of the great packages on your visit to Congo, Uganda or Rwanda.