8 Days Nyiragongo Long Stay and Gorilla Safaris

8 Days Nyiragongo Long Stay and Gorilla Safaris

This eight days’ safari offers you a lifetime adventure holiday, from hiking Mount Nyiragongo where you will spend three nights at the rim of an active lava lake—before descending to encounter mountain gorillas in the jungles of Virunga. You will then pursue one on of Africa’s unbeaten paths that lead to astonishing discoveries.

Day 1:Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda 

Arrive in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, check in at the Kigali Serena Hotel, a relaxed yet elegant five-star hotel that has everything a business traveler needs and wants: Resplendent rooms, extensive tropical gardens, relaxed and lavish menu, cozy spa and health club, a palatial swimming pool… It is ideally located on one of Kigali’s most charming and serene neighborhoods. Serena is built around a polished granite atrium that showcases the very best of Rwanda’s cultural art. On arrival, you will receive a full briefing of your safari from our guide. After this brief starter, you will be left alone to relax in your room or enjoy the hotel’s inviting amenities, most of which are free of crowds.

Day 2:Kigali City Tour and transfer to Lake Kivu

After breakfast, visit the Kigali Genocide memorial museum, one of the museums that were established to commemorate the victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. This is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda. It honors the memory of the more than one million Rwandans killed in 1994. It takes a lot of strength and courage to experience this dark tour, but it is worth it. Its history and exhibits such as bones of the victims is well presented. You will leave feeling shaken, saddened and better informed about how this relatively small country has quickly recovered from its painful history.

After this enlightening tour, go for lunch at Hotel Des Mille Collines, that was featured in the Hollywood movie ’Hotel Rwanda’ in 2004. After lunch, depart Kigali and drive west, to Lake Kivu through the green rolling hills with fertile farms. After two and half hours’ drive, arrive at Lake Kivu Serena that sits on the shores of the Lake Kivu. It is a yogi still attraction in a convent quiet setting that boasts of pristine beaches. The welcoming open-plan lobby gives a private stretch of beach reserved exclusively to the hotel guests. Enjoy the sundowner as the Africa sun brightens Kivu waters.

Day 3:Hike to the Top of Mt Nyiragongo

After breakfast, drive to Goma, Congo’s border, and after visa entry processing, proceed to Kibatsi where you will pick a ranger guide who will brief you and lead you on the Nyiragongo hike.  Nyiragongo is a conical active volcano that rises to 3,470 metres above sea level. It takes between four to six hours to hike it, passing through the volcano’s forested lower slopes, which are home to a variety of animals, including chimpanzees and numerous birds – all of which are slowly returning after previous eruptions.

Spend a night at Nyirangongo’s Summit Shelters (huts). This out-of-the-way vintage point will reward you with wonderful views of fiery lava bubbling, boiling and glowing in the darkness at the crater rim. You will also see a full moon adding drama to the vast plains below.

Day 4:Full Day at Nyiragongo’s summit

Spend the entire day at Nyiragongo´s summit and discover the volcanic activity of the lava lake. Explore the structure and volcanic wonders of the surrounding caldera. Relax at your room verandah after meals. Overnight at Nyirangongo Summit Shelters

Day 5:Second full day at Nyiragongo´s caldera rim

An extra day gives you an opportunity to be on the rim of Nyiragongo´s summit caldera. Explore and photograph the activity of the lava lake and surrounding landscape during different times of the day and night. Overnight at Nyirangongo Summit Shelters

Day 6:Descend from Nyiragongo – Goma Volcano Observatory

After breakfast, descend from Nyiragongo´s summit back to the Kibatsi patrol post from where our guide will drive you to Virunga National park en route a number of small settlements and towns. You will stay at Mikeno Lodge, a boutique accommodation with 12 cottages built out of solid lava stone and natural thatch. It sits at the heart of Virunga National Park, overlooking a section of the forest with trees than are over 18ft high, roughly three times the height of average humans. Large open fires in each room help keeps the chill at bay. The wooden verandas outside each room, main bar and seating area are the perfect place to watch the Colobus and Blue monkeys leaping in the trees above.

Day 7:Mountain Gorilla Tracking in Virunga National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage, Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park with a size of 7800 square kilometres (3000 square miles) includes forests, savannahs, lava plains, swamps, erosion valleys, active volcanoes and the glacial peaks of Rwenzori Mountains. It is also the only park in the world to have populations of three great ape species – the chimpanzee, the lowland gorilla and the mountain gorilla. As you wander through the shadowy forests, you might find the Okapi, a beautiful and rare animal that looks quite like giraffes but is closely related to zebras. The forest walk also offers an exciting opportunity of comparing forest elephants to savannah elephants. Other pleasant surprises include large colonies of hippos, numerous rare birds and even lion.

Our main focus today is the endangered mountain gorillas. After an early breakfast, you will drive to the park offices which are one hour away from the lodge. This is where you will meet the park rangers who will give you a short briefing and lead the spirited search for Mountain Gorillas through the thick forest. You will walk in the shadow of Mt Mikeno, the second mountain in the Virunga Massive, a high-altitude landscape which spreads across Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

Once you find the gorilla group, spend one hour watching them feed, play and nurse their young ones. This is regarded as the most thrilling wildlife encounters. Return to Mikeno Lodge for a relaxed evening.

 Day 8:Return to Kigali and Departure

Have breakfast at leisure and drive to Goma to process your entry into Rwanda.  Transfer to Kigali for Lunch and depending on the schedule of your departure flight, you will be dropped off at airport early in time for check in.

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