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© Steffen Schwörer

Mount Nyiragongo & Virunga Gorillas

Democratic Republic of Congo Flying Safari - 7 Days

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Brief Itinerary

Fly into the highland rainforests of Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park. Hike to the summit of Mount Nyiragongo and camp in a shelter on the crater rim of the world’s largest lava lake. Then track the rare mountain gorillas on the rainforest slopes of Mount Mikeno one of the regions last refuges for these iconic creatures.

Highlights

- Summit Mount Nyiragongo and view its lava lake.
- Track the a rare mountain gorilla family on volcano slopes.
- Visit Virunga National Park, the oldest national park in Africa.
- Unwind on the idyllic Tchegera Island in Lake Kivu.
- Private flights to the park from Uganda and Rwanda.
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Welcome to East Africa

Welcome to East Africa! On arrival at either Entebbe or Kigali International Airports, you will find your Savannah Wings representative waiting to greet you. They will then drive you to your accommodation for the night a short distance away. Here you’ll be able to relax and sleep before you begin your safari tomorrow.

Tonight's Accommodation - The Boma, Entebbe town or Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali.

Day 1 - Virunga National Park

After breakfast you’ll be driven the short distance to either Entebbe or Kigali International Airports. Here board your private aircraft to fly west over rolling hills, volcanoes and rainforest to land in Goma, just north of Lake Kivu which is a 1hr 30min flight from Entebbe or a 30min flight from Kigali. Your driver will be waiting for you to guide you through Virunga NP. The park is amazingly diverse with over half of the biodiversity found in sub Saharan African recorded here. Your intimate lodge is nestled in the forest with resident colobus and blue monkeys scampering though the trees. As the sun sets unwind with a superb view of Mount Mikeno and the red glow of the lava lake of Mount Nyiragongo. After dinner at the lodge retire to your private cottage for the night to find a roaring fire awaiting you and prepare for your gorilla tracking tomorrow.

Tonight's Accommodation - Mikeno Lodge, Virunga NP.

Day 2 - Gorillas on Volcano Slopes

Experience a natural wonder with an intimate meeting with a gorilla family living on the slopes of Mount Mikeno. Your day starts early with an orientation from Virunga NP rangers on tracking the gorillas, before they guide you through the rainforest. Your guides will be able to identify and explain the about local plants, birds and wildlife as well the general ecosystem. The length of the trek to find the gorillas can vary depending on where they have spent the night before and can range from one to two hours. Once you find these incredible creatures you will spend one hour with them. We think you’ll agree it’s one of the most magical experiences you can have with nature to see this unique family feed, socialise, nurse their young, patrol and display their prowess. Make the return trek to your lodge where you’ll spend a sedate evening unwinding.

Tonight's Accommodation - Mikeno Lodge, Virunga NP.

Day 3 - Mikeno Surrounds

The day is in your hands. Rise early to trek back onto the rainforest slopes of Mount Mikeno to seek out a different gorilla family. Alternately take a slower start to the day and visit some of the projects supporting the wildlife and people of Virunga NP. Visit the Senkwekwe Centre which is the only facility to care for orphaned mountain gorillas in the world, tour the coffee farm to learn about growing and processing the coffee, or the widows wives project which is providing support for the families of the rangers that have fallen in the line of duty protecting Virunga NP. In the late afternoon drive to your lodge nestled in the rainforest with resident colobus and blue monkeys scampering though the trees. As the sun sets unwind with a superb view of Mount Mikeno and the red glow of the lava lake of Mount Nyiragongo. Then after dinner retire to your private cottage for the night to find a roaring fire awaiting you.

Tonight's Accommodation - Mikeno Lodge, Virunga NP.

Day 4 - The World's Largest Lava Lake

This morning you’ll be driven to the Kibati border post at the base of Mount Nyiragongo to receive your safety briefing from the rangers. The hike covers a steep ascent starting at 1989m above sea level, to the crater rim at 3470m. The path winds up the volcano for a distance of 8km taking between 4 and 6 hours to summit with 4 break points along the way to allow you to adjust to the altitude (ask your guides if you need any additional breaks). On summiting the volcano the billowing smoke and roaring of the lava filled crater is a phenomenal sight. But the real spectacle will be when the sun has set and the glow and full scale of the lava lake comes into view. Watch the mosaic cooling lava plates migrate across the scorching surface, until they are dragged down, sending up splashes of molten rock. You’ll have several hours to watch the spectacle before retiring to your huts containing thermal tents for the night.

Tonight's Accommodation - Nyiragongo Summit Huts, Virunga NP.

Day 5 - Volcano Descent

This morning descend down the side of Mount Nyiragongo. This part of the trek can be as challenging as your ascent, as you clamber down the loose volcanic rock. The hike will take about the same amount of time as you took to reach the summit, with breaks along the way. The hike will be completed around midday when you reach the Kibati border post where your vehicle will be waiting. Then drive south through Virunga NP to the shores of Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. A 20 minute motorised boat will take you out to one of the lakes islands, Tchegera Island and your tented camp. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the island and marvel at the view of four volcanoes including the dramatic red lava glow emitted from Mt Nyiragongo and Mt Nyamuragira.

Tonight's Accommodation - Tchegera Island Camp, Virunga NP.

Day 6 - Tchegera Island

Choose the pace of today after your previous days trekking on Mount Mikeno and Mount Nyiragongo. Explore the island on foot, go bird watching to spot some of the islands many species, paddleboard or sea kayak along the shores and relax on the beach with a good book. Whichever options you choose, you’ll be able to unwind and enjoy the tranquility of Tchegera Island.

Tonight's Accommodation - Tchegera Island Camp, Virunga NP.

Day 7 - Heading Home

Today you’ll return to Goma and make the return flight over the highland rainforests and volcanoes, to Entebbe or Kigali International Airports. Your Savannah Wings representative will be waiting to take you to your accommodation, where you’ll have a day room to prepare you for your flight home this evening. For those travelling through Entebbe, before dinner you’ll be taken to the lakeshores from where you’ll take a cruise, with light refreshments served to you as you watch the sunset over Lake Victoria.

Day Room - The Boma, Entebbe town or Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali.

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The Boma

The Boma is Entebbe's original and most exclusive hotel, set in tropical gardens in a leafy suburb, just a few minutes drive from Entebbe International Airport. The rooms combine the modern comforts one expects today with the charm and character of the original 1940's home.

Your Room
Each of the rooms at The Boma are individually decorated in a mixture of African and European décor, and have been designed to reflect the original colonial architecture. Each room is complete with a four-poster bed with mosquito net, safe, satellite TV, en suite bathroom facilities and your own private veranda.

Facilities
• Wi-Fi throughout the guesthouse.
• Swimming pool.
• 24-hour reception services.
• Fully stocked bar.
• Safe in each room.

The official lodge website - The Boma

Kigali Serena Hotel

Ideally positioned on one of Kigali’s most charming boulevards, just 10 minutes away from Kigali International Airport. Kigali Serena Hotel is built around a polished granite atrium, which showcases the very best of Rwandese cultural art and has five star facilities to ensure you experience the upmost level of comfort during your stay.

Your Room
Each of the rooms at Kigali Serna Hotel are tastefully decorated in a pan-African style with either twin or queen-sized beds available. To ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible all the modern amenities are included such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, flat screen satellite TV and mini bar.

Facilities
• Swimming pool, pool deck and gardens.
• Selection of bar, café and restaurant options.
• Health club including gym and spa.
• Safe in each room.
• Business centre.

The official lodge website - Kigali Serena Hotel

Mikeno Lodge

Mikeno Lodge is positioned in a remote location amongst the trees of a rainforest with abundant wildlife including baboons, colobus and blue monkeys. The lodge is made up of private cottages and a main lodge building including a bar/restaurant with views across the rift valley below with views across to Mount Mikeno and Nyiragongo volcanoes on the horizon.

Your Room
Each of the private thatched cottages are nestled amongst the trees in seclusion from each other and the main lodge building with beautiful forest views. Each of the rooms is tastefully decorated with a mixture of local and western design, complete with a double bed, fireplace, en suite bathroom facilities and a terrace.

Facilities
• Bar and restaurant facilities.
• Wi-fi in main lodge
• Safe in each room.

The official lodge website - Mikeno Lodge

Mount Nyiragongo Summit Shelters

The summit shelters are made up of eight twin huts perched on the crater rim of Mount Nyiragongo. Situated a few meters from the view down into the churning lava lake. The facilities are basic, with meals and water packed and carried by your porters for the night.

Your Room
Each of the basic summit shelters sleeps two people and contains a thermal tent and mattress. There is no running water or power available on the volcano. If you need to hire thermal wear, sleeping bags and backpacks, they are available for hire for your stay on the volcano with advance notice.

The official lodge website - Mount Nyiragongo Summit Shelters

Tchegera Island Tented Camp

Tchegera Island Tented Camp is made up of eight tents and main lodge building with a restaurant. This eco camp is situated a short distance off the northern shores of Lake Kivu and is the perfect place to unwind with its volcano panorama after exploring Virunga National Park.

Your Room
Each of the permanent safari tents are located along the lakeshore with views across the water and are comfortably furnished, with solar power, and en suite bathroom with hot running water.

The official lodge website - Tchegera Island Tented Camp

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