11 Days Best Of Congo Safari | The Virunga Expedition

11 Days Best Of Congo Safari takes you to the Virunga national park of the Democratic republic of Congo is a best choice for any traveller. This 11 day Virunga expedition tour gives you an opportunity to visit the best that this park has to offer. 

Take on a 2-day gorilla trekking with a visit to the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage, a chimpanzee trekking in the Mahura forest, have game drives, safari walks and bird watching experience in the savannah plains of Virunga national park and also take on the overnight hike up Mount Nyiragongo and conclude the safari with a night on the Tchegera Island. 

Trip highlights of the 11 Days Best Of Congo Safari (The Virunga Expedition)

  • Day 1: Drive to Mikeno lodge from Kigali
  • Day 2: Mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga national park
  • Day 3: Second mountain gorilla trekking in DR Congo
  • Day 4: Chimpanzee trekking in Virunga national park
  • Day 5: Transfer to Lulimbi sector
  • Day 6: Safari walk and evening game drive
  • Day 7: Bird watching
  • Day 8: Hiking up Mount Nyiragongo
  • Day 9: Descend the Mount Nyiragongo and transfer to Tchegera Island
  • Day 10: Leisure day on the island
  • Day 11: Drive back to Kigali

Trip description

Day 1: Drive to Mikeno lodge from Kigali

By 9 am, your driver with the tour guide will be waiting to pick you up from your hotel to start your 11 day Congo tour. You will be picked up from your agreed pick up location in Kigali or Goma. You will drive towards the Grande Barrier border to check-in at the Virunga Tourism office and receive your permits for the activities.

After all formalities have been observed, you will join the Virunga security and drive towards your accommodation. You will be welcomed with a cold glass of juice and have a late lunch after checking in. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the hotel terrace. Dinner and the overnight stay will be at Mikeno lodge

Day 2: Mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga national park

Have an early breakfast at your hotel right before you meet up with your driver guide to set out to your gorilla trekking brief at the Bukima Ranger post. You will reach and be briefed by the park ranger guides before you enter the forest. Book your porters and the necessary gear and enter the forest to start the search for the mountain gorillas.

You will trek for about to 2 to 4 hours until you meet the gorilla family of the day according to their location that day. Spend an hour in their presence, taking photos and studying their behavior at a 6 meter distance. After the gorilla trekking in Virunga national park, you will drive to Bukima Tented Camp for a late lunch. The rest of the day will be spent at the camp exploring Bukima, bird watching or take some time to visit the Bamboo project of Virunga. 

Day 3: Second mountain gorilla trekking in DR Congo

Wake up for your second chance with the mountain gorillas. Right after breakfast, you will drive back to Bukima ranger post for the morning brief and after head out to the forest like the day before. You will either trek the same gorilla family of the previous day or opt to visit a different gorilla family. After the 2 to 4 hour gorilla trekking, you will exit the forest headed back to Mikeno lodge. 

Have your late lunch and spend the rest of the day enjoying the lodge terrace reading a book or go visit the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage. Dinner and overnight will be at Mikeno lodge

Day 4: Chimpanzee trekking in Virunga national park

Chimpanzee trekking in Virunga national park is done in the Mahura forest. You will get up as early as 6 am and head out to join the team of rangers habituating the chimpanzee family of Virunga national park. You will move in the forest searching for these playful creatures which you will hear from the start of the trek up to when you exit the forest. 

The Chimpanzees will be seen swinging from one tree branch to another. After the chimpanzee trekking, you will drive back to your hotel for a late breakfast as you regain your strength for the day. Later in the day, you may visit the Virunga park headquarters to learn about the projects on going and future prospects of the park. If you did not visit the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage the day before, you may visit it on this day as you wait for dinner to be served. You will spend another night in Mikeno lodge

Day 5: Transfer to Lulimbi sector

Breakfast will be served as early and after you will check out of your Mikeno lodge headed for the Lulimbi sector of Virunga national park congo. The Lulimbi sector is the wildlife sector of the park and is located on the south eastern shores of Lake Edward. You will arrive in the Lulimbi sector in the mid-morning, check into the hotel and have lunch.

After lunch is when you can go out for a guided safari walk in the afternoon to explore the savannah of the Ishasha plains. In the evening, enjoy a sundowner on the banks of the Ishasha river giving you a view of the Lulimbi resident hippos wallowing. Dinner will be served and you will spend a night in the Lulimbi Tented camp

Day 6: Safari walk and evening game drive

After having breakfast prepared at your hotel, you will set out for your second safari walk on the Ishasha plains where you will come across the fauna and flora of the Lulimbi area and also spot the birdlife that is existent in Lulimbi. Return to your hotel for a leisurely lunch and let the food settle in at the camp as you view the Lulimbi hippos wallowing in the Ishasha river from a distance. On a good day, the elephants of the Virunga national park tend to pass by to get some water to drink.

In the evening, you will go on your first game drive on the Ishasha plains to cover more land and view more game that you may have missed on the safari walk.

Day 7: Bird watching

This will be a leisurely day where you will wake up to a breakfast set up at your hotel and set out for a full day birding experience. The Virunga national park has a number of birds like the Rwenzori turaco, the forest ground thrush, shoebill storks, egrets, grey herons, ibises to mention but a few. You will be served a BBQ lunch on the shores of Lake Edward shortly before heading back to the camp to spend the rest of the day at leisure as dinner gets ready.

You will spend the last night in Lulimbi at Lulimbi Tented Camp

Day 8: Hiking up Mount Nyiragongo

An early breakfast will be served and you will head out to meet your driver guide waiting to transfer you for your pre hike brief at the Kibati Ranger post which is the starting point of the hike up Mount Nyiragongo. Hike up hill for about 5 hours with 2 stopping points to refresh.

Arrive at the summit in the early evening hours and settle in at the Nyiragongo summit shelters where you will be spending the night.

Day 9: Descend the Mount Nyiragongo and transfer to Tchegera Island

Wake up to catch the sun rise at the top of the volcano and have breakfast as you enjoy the last moments at the top. Leave the crater rim and descend back to the trailhead arriving by midday and connect with your driver guide to drive you to the kituku port where you will board a boat to Tchegera Island Retreat.

11 Days Best Of Congo Safari (The Virunga Expedition)
11 Days Best Of Congo Safari (The Virunga Expedition)

When you arrive at Tchegera Island Retreat, you will settle in, relax and dinner will be served. The night will be spent at Tchegera island Retreat camp.

Day 10: Leisure day on the island

Have breakfast and spend a leisurely day at the Island kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling or taking nature walks on the virgin land of the island. Take a stroll on the black sand beach and spend the second night at Tchegera Island Retreat camp

Day 11: Drive back to Kigali

Breakfast will be served at leisure and guests will be transported back to Kituku port to drive back to their drop off location in Goma or Kigali as you will advise.

You may have the Kigali city tour on this day visiting the Kimironko market for souvenirs and the Kigali Genocide memorial ground for the history of the 1994 Rwanda genocide if you missed it out on the first day.

End of the 11 Days Best Of Congo Safari (The Virunga Expedition)

Quote to include

  • 4WD full fueled Safari Vehicle
  • Accommodation as stated above
  • Activities in the itinerary
  • Meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Bottled water  
  • Tourist visa for DRCongo
  • All transfers

Quote to exclude

  • International flight fares
  • Visa fees for Rwanda
  • Optional activities not mentioned
  • Personal needs like phone calls, laundry, tips and gratuities

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