8 Days Virunga National Park special
8 Days Virunga National Park special: This is a perfect tour for anyone who has enough time to spend in the Virunga National park as you get the ultimate time with all the attractions that the park has to offer. The mountain gorilla lovers get to spend 3 days trekking the gorillas, visit the chimpanzees, the gorilla orphans, and the park headquarters and also spend 3 magical nights in the new Ngila lodge, 3 nights in the Mikeno lodge. You also get to trek up the active volcanic mountain of Virunga National Park that is Mount Nyiragongo. Spend a total of 8 days in the Virunga national park of DRCongo.
This package only departs Goma on Mondays only so ensure to make your travel plans in line with these days if you are taking it on.
Trip highlights of the 8 Days Virunga National Park special
- 3 nights in Ngila lodge
- 3 nights in Mikeno lodge
- 3 mountain gorilla treks in Virunga
- Chimpanzee trek
- Virunga park Headquarter visit
- Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage visit
- Mount Nyiragongo hike
- 1 night at the top of Mount Nyiragongo
Day 1: Arrive in Kigali by 8 am and transfer to Goma for departure
- Night in Ngila lodge: Your driver guide will be ready to welcome you from the Kigali International airport or at your hotel in Kigali and will brief you what to expect for the next few days. The driver-guide will be a fluent English or French speaker so incase you need another language speaker, please advise. You will set off for your 5 hour cross from Kigali to Goma in time to check in with the Virunga tourism office for your 8 days Virunga National Park special. You will avail your yellow fever card and get your tourist visa and permits for the activities that you are booked for in the park and connect back with your driver to connect to the luxurious Ngila lodge. Check in and have lunch and spend the evening relaxing on the terrace or your room. Dinner will be served and you will spend your first night here.
Day 2: First mountain gorilla trek in Virunga
- Mountain gorilla trek in Virunga: Wake up energetic for the new and exciting day. This is the day you go on your first gorilla trek in Virunga Nation Park. The ranger guides and porters will be waiting to meet you at the starting point of your mountain gorilla trek. Have the pre-trek briefing and set out into the forest. You will trek for about 2 to 4 hours before you encounter a family or group of gorillas at their home for the day. You will observe them and take as many photos as you can in the 1 hour you are allowed around the gorillas. The photography should be non-flash and no sound so as not to irritate or scare the gorillas. After the trek, you along with your driver-guide will drive back to your hotel to rest and have lunch. The evening may be spent reminiscing or cooling off but if you are up for an optional activity that can be arranged with your driver guide. Be at the dining area in time for dinner and after, return to your rooms as the night before.
Day 3: Second mountain gorilla trek in Virunga
- Mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga national park: Raise up ready for a new challenge with yesterdays’ activity. Grab your packed lunch packs and a simple breakfast to keep you going as you trek and connect back to the gorilla trekking point. You get to trek a different gorilla family with a new group of people. Your ranger guides will lead you back into the forest in search of the mountain gorillas. You will encounter after a bit of trekking as they change homes every night. Spend the allotted one hour in the vicinity of the mountain gorillas and exit the forest led by the ranger guides. Ensure to always be close to your ranger guide and not be left far behind. You will have a barbeque dinner setting for this night and end the day with the third night at Ngila lodge.
Day 4: Third mountain gorilla trek in Virunga
- Trek mountain gorillas in Virunga NP: Every gorilla trek has a twist to it so wake up anticipating the twist that this day offers. Have a quick breakfast and drive back to the park for the pre-trek brief. Yes! You are briefed before setting out to the forest. Get allocated which gorilla family to trek and incase of any special requests, this would be the time to communicate it. After your gorilla trek, you will connect with your driver guide and drive to the Mikeno lodge. The Mikeno is famously known for its luxury status and the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage that is set up strategically in the compound of the lodge. This is where you will spend your evening. Dinner will be served and you will spend the first night in Mikeno lodge
Day 5: Visit the Virunga park headquarters and Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage
- Virunga park headquarters visit and Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage visit: This is more of a leisurely day where you will wake up to a sumptuous breakfast and after set out to the park headquarters where you will meet a few staff and have a tour around. Also get insight on the current projects being run by the park along with the local community. Connect back to your Mikeno lodge for lunch and spend the evening at leisure or take off the evening to go visit the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage that is located in the compound of the lodge. You will have dinner later on and spend your second night in Mikeno lodge
Day 6: Trek the chimpanzees of Virunga
- Chimpanzee trek in Virunga NP: You will be expected to be ready to get into the Mahura forest in search for the Virunga chimpanzee family by 6am as they are early risers. Grab a quick breakfast and drive to the starting point outside the Mahura forest. You will start to hear the sounds of the chimpanzees right from the moment you enter the forest till you exit. You will join the team of Virunga rangers that are habituating the chimpanzees. Exit the park in time for lunch. Have lunch and spend the evening at the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage center or return to the park headquarters. Be back in time for dinner and the final night in Mikeno lodge.
Day 7: Transfer to Kibati ranger post
- Ascend Mount Nyiragongo: As early as 6am, you will be expected to be in the breakfast lounge for an early breakfast and drive to the Kibati ranger post where the hike up Nyiragongo starts from. You will have a short briefing, get your Nyiragongo backpacks and hire a porter then you are good to go for your 5 hour uphill trek. There are 2 stopovers along the trail where you will stop to catch a breath then continue uphill arriving at the summit in the evening hours. View the beauty of Goma city from the top at night and the boiling lava in the active Crater Lake. Have dinner at the summit and retire into the summit shelters for the night. Be sure to carry enough warm clothing as the temperatures can go as low as 0 degrees.
Day 8: Descend and drive back to Kigali for drop off
- Trek down the volcano: The early bird catches the early worm so wake up in time to catch the sunrise. Enjoy your last moments at the Nyiragongo summit and descend back to the trailhead after a simple Congolese breakfast. You will choose you drop off location. If you have time, you may visit the Kimironko market in Kigali for souvenirs and the Kigali Genocide memorial grounds for the history of the 1994 events.
End of the 8 Days Virunga National Park special
- Driver guide
- Full time fueled safari vehicle
- Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
- Meals throughout the safari
- 3 gorilla trekking permits
- Chimpanzee visit
- Senkwekwe orphanage visit
- Nyiragongo trek permit
- DRCongo tourist visa
- International air fares
- Rwanda visa
- Personal needs like airtime, tips, laundry, alcoholic beverages etc
- Any activity not included in this itinerary.