20 Jul Uganda Gorilla and Nyiragongo Hike Tours
Uganda gorilla and Nyiragongo hike in Congo gives you an opportunity of trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park so far the best safari activity in Africa and over the world with a combination of the Nyiragongo volcano hike the world’s largest lava lake located within the Democratic Republic of Congo in Virunga National Park.
The Nyiragongo hike tour in Congo is thus designed to avail an adventure hike to this historical volcano involving a night on the mountain with an option of a boat cruise on Lake Kivu just west of the border with Rwanda. So if you’re a traveler and you’re planning to go to Congo for a safari, you have to apply for a tourist visa, have a valid Vaccination Yellow Card and a valid Passport. This can be done through Virunga website, for others it is easy getting it through a tour operator.
With 480 mountain gorilla population which is more than the entire population 800 of which 14 gorilla groups are habituated making Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park the Ultimate Uganda gorilla safari destination positioned in the south west of Uganda.
Being located in the south western part of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can be accessed through Queen Elizabeth National Park Mweya-Kihihi-Buhoma via Ishasha the southern sector to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, another route can also be accessed through Kampala-Kibale –kanungu-Buhoma, another one passes through Kampala –Ntungamo- Rikungiri-Kihihi Buhoma, then also through Kabale-Ruhija-Buhoma.
From Entebbe, there are scheduled flights to Kihihi which is close to the northern sector of Bwindi and also flights to Kisoro which is close to the Southern sector of Bwindi. Flights to Kisoro only leave in the morning while Kihihi has both morning and afternoon departures from Entebbe. You can also do charter flights from Kajjansi Airstrip to either Kisoro or Kihihi.
Mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest is conducted under the guidance of highly knowledgeable and intelligent park rangers and who guide you to one of several habituated gorilla groups. Gorilla movements are monitored around the clock whereby during your trek to gorillas, can be located easily from where they slept the previous day.
Treks in Bwindi Forest set out daily and armed ranger guides keep headquarters informed by radio call of gorillas’ whereabouts, so sightings are guaranteed 96%. So after an obligation of briefing, you are assigned to a gorilla group of not more than 8 trekkers, and guides plus porters. Each group is allocated to a particular gorilla group including the one hour with the gorillas which takes anything from 2 to 8 hours depending on the location of gorillas group.
The ranger guides will explain the rules and regulations of the park; you must be quiet and keep a distance of 7meters away from the gorillas, although there is nothing to stop the curious apes from getting close to you. Usually gorillas will go on their routine activities like mothers feeding the young ones, eating, sleeping, and swinging on trees among others. Outside Bwindi forest, there community walks that provide an insight into the lives of the Bakiga and Batwa people living besides the forest.
After the budget gorilla safaris experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, we cross to Congo side for the Nyiragongo Volcano hike. The border crossings between Rwanda and the DRC at Gisenyi/Goma and Bunagana from Uganda side are currently open between 06:00 and 18:00. Visas for Congo and permits are arranged by the tour operators. Anyone interested can easily fly/drive to Kigali in Rwanda and drive to Goma which is about 3 hours from Kigali to Gisenyi border entry point to Goma in Congo. The other easy way to access Virunga National Park for gorilla trekking and Nyiragongo is via Bunagana border in Kisoro district south-western Uganda.
Mount Nyiragongo is a beautiful active strato volcano located within the Democratic Republic of Congo inside Virunga National Park located 2okm north of town of Goma as well as Lake Kivu. There have been eruptions that have taken place around Nyiragongo volcanic mountains and these include the 1977 eruption, 2002 eruption that destroyed half of Goma town and killing a count of people along with their property.
Hiking Nyiragongo is one of the unforgettable experiences one can ever do in Congo. Ascending up the Nyiragongo Volcano needs one to be bodily fit, the trails start at Kibati patrol post which takes 30 minutes only from the town of Goma and an hour from Mikeno Lodge in Rumangabo. Hiking the volcano starts around 10:00am in the morning and normally takes about six hours to reach the top which sometimes makes some times tired due to the fact the entire climbing process starts at 1989m and increases to 3470m.
Park rangers lead all treks and porters are available for hire. The time required to reach the summit depends on the average fitness of each group. It is possible for fit people to climb up and descend in one day, but most groups choose to overnight in basic accommodation available at the top including in the permit fee. Trekkers are advised to bring rain gears and hiking boots during the rainy season and temperatures at the summit. The 4-5 hour hike through lush rain forest will climax with a fascinating view of this lava lake as you chill for a night at the crater rim because best views occur at night, overnight in tents at the top of the volcano.
Early in the morning after breakfast you descend the volcano and transfer back to Gisenyi where you will later transfer to Kigali for an overnight or late flight back home.
Note: Guests staying at the Mikeno lodge can be arranged the Mikeno package services including meals for the trip at a fee of $80, there is no food service on Nyiragongo, so who intend not to buy the Mikeno package are advised to climb with their own food. Porters can be hired at the park headquarters at a fee of $24 to help you carry loads, maximum weight that potters are authorized to carry is 15kg.