Day 1: Welcome to Rwanda!
Your driver/guide will be at Kigali Airport to pick you up from your flight.
Depending on your arrival time you may be able to visit some of Kigali’s craft markets to browse amongst the pottery, carvings, batik, weaving, sculpture, musical instruments, leather and fabrics on offer. Prepare to use your haggling skills! All activities and purchases today are at your own cost.
Day 2: To Bukavu in DR Congo
Today you will meet with your tour leader who will guide you during your entire tour in DR Congo. You will drive through the rolling hills of Rwanda to the border town Goma. If you used our Visa services you Visa approval will be ready at the border and you will receive your Congolese Visa in your passport.
You will go with the Ihusi express boat to Bukavu. In the late afternoon you have time to explore Bukavu with its old colonial architecture and impresive cathedral in the city centre. You can also just enjoy the lake view from your veranda.
You will stay in into your preferred hotel. You will not expect this stylish accommodation on the shores of Lake Kivu. It is the perfect starting place for tomorrow’s activity.
Day 3: Lowland Gorilla tracking
Early in the morning you will depart for your first Gorilla tracking of this tour. The Eastern Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla berengei graueri) live in a small national park called Kahuzi-Biega National Park. The national park is named after the 2 extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega which dominate the park with summits at around 2600 meter above sea level.
One of the last remaining groups of Eastern Lowland gorillas can be seen here. There is estimation that there are only 250 individuals remaining in this national park. The Gorillas live at an altitude between 2100 to 2400 meters above sea-level.
The lowland Gorilla should not be confused with their relatives the Mountain Gorilla’s. The main difference in appearance is the size and type of hair. The Eastern lowland gorilla or Grauer Gorilla’s are the largest gorilla’s in the world! Kahuzi-Biega is the last remaining protected area where these magnificent creatures live and is on the UNESCO world heritage list.
During your tracking you will be able to approach the gorillas at short range. You will spend one hour with them and you are able to make pictures but without flash.
Besides the habitat of the Lowland Gorilla’s, Kahuzi-Biega is also an important endemic bird area with an impressive list of 349 species of which 42 are endemic species. If that is not enough, the stunning landscapes will provide unique photo moments.
Depending on what time you finish your Gorilla tracking you can go for the optional activity of visiting the Lwiro Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre.
After the amazing encounters with the Lowland Gorilla’s you will drive back to Bukavu. Here you can relax or do an optional activity like a boat ride on Lake Kivu or take a stroll along the lake side. In the evening you will enjoy a lovely meal at your preferred hotel
Day 4: To Virunga N.P.
The driver will take you to Bukavu harbor where you will board the express boat back to Goma. On arrival in Goma you will go on a small city tour to see the old cathedral ruined by the latest eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano. You can still see how close the lava came to the city. There is a volcanic observatory in Goma to monitor especially the Nyiragongo volcano.
The driver of Virunga national park will be waiting to take you to Virunga National park. The Virunga N.P. is the oldest national park in Africa and it is the most varied region on the entire continent and home to the endangered Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzee. It boasts the only glacier in Africa with its Rwenzori Mountains and has typical savanna grass land near Lake Edward and the Rwindi plains.
The Virunga N.P. is the oldest national park in Africa and it is the most varied region on the entire continent. Home to the endangered Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzee. It boasts the only glacier in Africa with its Rwenzori mountains and has typical savanna grass land near Lake Edward and the Rwindi plains.
Day 5: Mountain Gorilla Tracking
Today is an exciting day and the second tracking of this tour. Today you will stand eye-to-eye with the Mountain Gorilla.
Virunga National park is an UNESCO world heritage site and the oldest national park on the continent! It is a diverse protected areas with the peaks of the Rwenzori mountains, erosion valleys, active volcanoes, forest and even savanna areas.
This national park has been hidden from the public for a long time due to civil war and unrest in Eastern Congo. At this moment it is fully operational and the perfect place to track the mountain gorillas in the wild. Starting at the headquarters in Rumangabo you will go for a challenging hike in search of these gentle giants.
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 Congo’s own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.
Note: Wild African Safaris purchases the permits in advance but is unable to reserve a specific gorilla group as it is for the head-ranger to decide this!
Visit the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage
When you are back from the Gorilla tracking you can choose to visit the Senkwekwe Gorilla orphanage which is located in Rumangabo next to Mikeno lodge. Each of the four gorillas living at the center was victimized by poachers or animal traffickers, and likely witnessed family members being murdered. Thanks to the financial support of individuals around the world – and the loving care provided by their human caregivers – the orphans now lead happy and secure lives in their forested enclosure. Please note that you will not be interacting with the Gorilla’s but you can see them from a distance playing and their how their caregivers take care of them. This activity is for free.
Tonight you will sleep into your preferred hotel
Day 6: 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. Matoke tours will provide you with an overnight backpack which 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 strato volcano recently erupted in 2002 but is predicatable and therefore safe to climb. The volcano’s forested lower slopes are home to a variety of animals, including monkeys and bushbucks.
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 to admire this spectacle. After a nice hot meal prepared by your personal cook.
At night you can see the sea of lava in the crater which gives spectacular pictures! You will sleep in one of the huts on the crater rim. These huts are very basic at the moment. In your Matoke tours Backpack you will find a fleece vest and sleeping bag.
Day 7: Relaxing at Tchegera Island
Around noon you will be at the base camp of the Nyiragongo. After this amazing experience it is time to relax. Your driver/guide will take you to Goma harbour where you will take a short boat ride on the lake to Tchegera Island.
The tented camp offers spectacular views of the lake and four volcanoes. On clear nights, Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira volcanoes add to the drama by turning the night sky red with their glowing lava. There is also an abundance of birdlife on the island. You can choose to relax on the beach or explore other parts of the island in a sea kayak or by paddle board.
Day 8: Departure
Today is unfortunatlly your last day with us.
After a day of relaxing you will go back to Goma by boat. You tour leader will wait for you at Goma harbour to take you back to Kigali for your international flight home.
You don’t want the fun to end? You can continue your tour in the region with one of our extensions.
This is the end of what we hope was a wonderful tour through DR Congo!