Trekking Virunga Gorillas from Kigali
Are you in Kigali Rwanda and you are interested in trekking Virunga mountain gorillas in DR Congo? Well, Africa Adventure Vacations is here to make your dream trip happen. Trekking mountain gorillas in DR Congo from Kigali Rwanda gives travelers an opportunity of spending 1 hour with mountain gorillas of Virunga national park in their natural habitats. The park is home to over 8 habituated mountain gorillas that are open for trekking at any time of the year. The park hosts some of the Virunga Mountains like mountain Mikeno, mountain Nyiragongo, mountain Nyamuragira, mountain Sabinyo, and mountain Bisoke though the most liked and hiked mountain is mountain Nyiragongo because it’s the most active volcano in the world having last erupted in May 2021. While on a gorilla trekking safari in Virunga national park, tourists have an opportunity of doing other activities such as hiking, birding, nature walks as well as chimpanzee trekking or chimpanzee habituation.
How to book Trekking Virunga Gorillas from Kigali Safari
Selecting a tour operator to help you in planning a gorilla trekking safari in DR Congo from Kigali
To have a gorilla trekking safari in DR Congo from Kigali requires you to use a tour operator who will assist you in organizing the safari. There are so many ways of organizing a gorilla trekking safari in DR Congo from Kigali city.
Using a tour operator
Before using a tour operator for your DR Congo gorilla trekking safari you have to first know if the tour operator is not a scam or fraudster. But after successfully getting a good tour operator like Africa Adventure Vacations, we shall ask you to tell us the travel dates you want to do your gorilla trekking safari and we shall check for availability with Virunga national park website and on finding the permits available, we shall ask you to send us money and once we have received it we shall secure for you a permit and send you a scanned copy to confirm.
Using a Rwanda tour operator
There are so many tour operators in Rwanda that can book for you gorilla permits and organize a gorilla trekking safari to DR Congo or work hand in hand with local tour operators back in DR Congo. Once these tour operators contact the local tour operators in DR Congo, they do book everything starting from permits, accommodation, and transport on behalf of you. The local tour operators in DR Congo do check for the availability of permits on the day you have decided to travel and once they find the permits available, will ask for payments and then secure you a gorilla trekking permit after which send a scanned copy for confirmation.
How much is a gorilla trekking permit price in DR Congo?
To trek mountain gorillas in DR Congo requires one to have a valid gorilla trekking permit which is got from Virunga national park website or offices. The trekking permits for Virunga national park in DR Congo costs $450 in the dry season (December to February and June to September) and $200 in the low season (March to May and October to November). If you are planning to visit the park in the high season we strongly advise you to book your trekking permits in advance of 3-4 months.
Possible activities to do in Virunga national park
Mountain gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking is the most done activity in Virunga national park and it involves trekking and being around mountain gorillas for a maximum of 1 hour. Trekking mountain gorillas in Virunga national park is done among 8 habituated mountain gorilla families Bageni gorilla group, Nyakamwe gorilla group, Lulengo gorilla family, Munyaga gorilla family, Mapuwa gorilla family, Kabirizi gorilla family, Rugendo gorilla family, and Humba gorilla family. Trekking mountain gorillas in Virunga national park is done by people with valid gorilla trekking permits and these gather at the park headquarters for a briefing very early in the morning at 7 am. After the briefing, the trekkers are led by armed rangers who move the trekkers around different trails of the park searching for these endangered apes. After hours of search and locating the mountain gorillas, the trekkers are given only 1 hour to be around them as watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits and take photos.
Encounter Chimpanzee while in Virunga national park
Chimpanzee trekking and habituation are other activities a traveler would take part in while on a safari to Virunga national park of DR Congo. To trek or habituate chimpanzees in the park you will need permits of which the trekking permit allows the trekkers to be with chimpanzees for 1 hour while the habituation permits allow trekkers to be with chimpanzees for 4 hours. Trekking or habituating chimpanzees begins with a briefing where trekkers are taught about the dos and don’ts of the activity after which the armed rangers lead the trekkers into the jungle to search for the chimpanzee troops. After several hours of trekking and locating the chimpanzees, the trekkers are given 1 hour and 4 hours for chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation respectively.
Guided nature walks in Virunga National park
Tourists from Kigali to Virunga national park of DR Congo can have nature walks in Virunga national park which has one of the oldest tropical rain forest in Africa. The nature walks are done at a fee and are led by an armed ranger guide who takes you around the forest using different trails. The nature walks in Virunga national park give tourists an opportunity to see some of the park animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, elephants, okapis, antelopes, warthogs, pelicans, birds, and different plant species among others.
Birding in Virunga national park
Birding is one of the activities that can be done on a gorilla safari in DR Congo from Kigali. The park is home to over 706 bird species that have been so far recorded in the area so if you are a birder, you are advised to move along with your birding book and a pair of binoculars to spot most of these birds. The bird species in DR Congo include Narrow-tailed starling, Madagascar bee-eater, black-billed turaco, Grey-throated Barbet, Double-toothed Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Rwenzori turaco, black saw-wing, Black bishop, collared apalis, Rwenzori batis, Red-throated alethe, Thick-billed seedeater, Stripe breasted tit, African goshawk, Olive Sunbird, black thirsted wattle-eye, White-headed wood hoopoe and strange weaver among others.
Hiking Mountain Nyiragongo
Hiking mountain Nyiragongo is every hikers’ dream so when you have a safari to Virunga national park don’t miss out on this amazing activity. Nyiragongo is the most active volcano in the world with the recent eruption having occurred in May 2021. The mountain is 3470m high and hiking requires you to be physically fit as it takes 6-7 hours to get to the top. To hike mountain Nyiragongo you need to be well prepared with equipment such as waterproof hiking shoes, walking stick, insect repellents, long-sleeved clothes, enough drinking water, and energy-giving snacks. The journey to the top of the mountain takes you through different vegetation zones with opportunities of seeing some animals like elephants, giant forest hogs, monkeys, buffaloes, chimpanzees, gorillas, and different bird species. At the summit of the mountain, there are beautiful views of the surroundings, lava lake, Virunga national park, and distant volcanoes such as mountain Karisimbi, mountain Bisoke, mountain Nyamuragira, mountain Mikeno, Rwenzori ranges, and Lake Kivu
What is the best time to have a gorilla trekking safari in DR Congo from Kigali?
Virunga national park can be visited at any time of the year but the drier months are better than the rest. The drier months in Virunga national park happen in December to February and June to September and are characterized by little or no rainfall. During the drier months, the vegetation is thin in Virunga national park giving clear views of the park animals and good photography, the roads leading to the park are passable and the trekking trails in the park are less muddy and not slippery.
The rainy season is the best for budget travelers to visit Virunga national park because during this season the accommodation facilities offer huge discounts, the trekking permits are as low as $200 but there is too much rainfall during this season making the trekking trails muddy and slippery.
Where to stay in Virunga national park on a gorilla trekking safari from Kigali
The accommodation facilities in Virunga national park of DR Congo range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and these include Mikeno Lodge, Nyiragongo Summit Shelters, Bukima Tented Camp, Kibumba Tented Camp, Lulimbi Tented Camp, Tchegera Island Camp, and many others.
How to move from Kigali to DR Congo for Trekking Virunga Gorillas
Travelers who want to visit DR Congo for gorilla trekking in Virunga national park can move to Gisenyi town and from there cross the Rwanda-DR Congo border to Goma Town in DR Congo where you will drive towards Bukima and then to the park headquarters taking you about 2hrs.
What to do with Africa Adventure Vacations?
Africa adventure vacations is a tour company based in Uganda licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board and a member of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators. Booking with Africa adventure vacations provides you safety and confidence during your safari courtesy of well-trained safari driver guides who are well conversant with all routes and tourism destinations in Africa. You can book with us any of the activities you want to do in Africa such as mountain gorilla trekking, mountain gorilla habituation, birding, game drives, hiking, nature walks, and community tours among others. Booking a safari for trekking Virunga Gorillas from Kigali can be done at any time of the year.