This usually involves meeting with the shy endangered ground dwelling Mountain Gorillas in the Jungles of Virunga National Park plus a hike to one of the popularly known active Volcanoes in the World and Mountain Nyiragongo. Visiting the Mountain Gorillas of the Democratic Republic of Congo plus the Nyiragongo hike is an experiential rewarding ultimate adventure to tell or recommend to your fellow travellers from different countries of the World when you meet up elsewhere due to the exciting moments experienced in the due course.
These two features which include Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park and Mountain Nyiragongo Volcano are ranked to be the Democratic Republic of Congo’s top exciting attractions which invites more tourists from different countries of the World to year very interested in exploring. They have also contributed a big part as far as highlighting the Democratic Republic of Congo on the list of top destinations to visit in the African Continent on your great African Safari vacation.
About Virunga National Park. This Democratic Republic of Congo must visit, its popularly known to be the oldest National Park in Africa formerly called Albert National Park, it was first gazetted as Virunga Massif but later divided into different National Parks including Mgahinga National Park of Uganda and Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda.
Virunga National Park is located in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo; it stretches from Virunga Mountains in the North to Rwenzori Mountains in the South nearing Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, Rwenzori Mountains and Queen Elizabeth National Park of Uganda.
It’s characterised by thick tropical rainforests, marshes, alpine forests, bogs, riverine forests, montane forests and swampy areas, it’s popularly known for habiting species of Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzee primates in the Tongo forest which is part of Virunga. Besides mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees, this park also provides habitat to different Wildlife species including primates like Colobus monkeys, Mangabey, baboons, vervet monkeys, Blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys and more, as different bird species, different insect species and different reptile species including geckos, chameleon, lizards, snakes like black cobra, python and more.
How to get there. Democratic Republic of Congo in the Central part of Africa is characterised by a poor transport system therefore all visitors to this amazing destination land in Rwanda at Kigali International Airport and transfer from there up to the Goma border where entry permission to DR Congo is issued, it’s usually recommended and more convenient when you arrange all transportation services from Kigali up to Goma border with a local tour operator than using a public taxi.
Reaching at Goma border, you will be required to present three documents at the customs for permission entry, these documents include a valid passport, a valid yellow fever vaccination card and a tourist entry visa which costs $100 USD per person and is usually booked in advance before your travelling dates through a local tour operator.
All transportation services from the Goma border up to the suburbs of the Democratic Republic of Congo are provided by Virunga Foundation in partnership with your local tour operator, this is best recommended and more secure since this organisation also manages the Park, they mostly mind for security of the client while in the Park.
Virunga Foundation will use their stable 4×4 wheel drive Safari jeeps to transfer you from the Goma border up to your hotel of residence near Virunga National Park usually Mikeno Lodge or Kibumba tented camp at affordable prices.
Mountain Gorilla trekking. This is an amazing activity done in Virunga National Park, it usually involves meeting with the shy endangered ground-dwelling herbivores Mountain Gorillas in the Jungles of Virunga National Park.
This adventurous amazing activity is usually started in the morning from the Park offices or starting point after a short briefing conducted by park officials highlighting how to behave while in the presence of these apes in the Jungles.
After the briefing, a Park ranger guide and armed officers are assigned to a group of eight people to start the journey heading to the jungle following the well-established routes in search of these apes for interaction.
Gorilla trackers are usually the first to go early in the morning to locate where these apes spent their last night and after locating them they will contact the ranger via radio calls who is leading the group of trekkers informing them on the exaction directions of locating these apes in the Jungles.
After locating these apes in the jungles of Virunga, you are allowed to stay in their presence for only one hour while seeing them playing with young ones, feeding, laughing plus taking photos and videos of them provided you are not using a flush camera after one hour next step is descending back to Park offices for Gorilla trekking certificate award which is a sign indicating that you have contributed part towards conserving Gorilla lives.
This amazing activity to do requires a permit such that you are granted permission for it and this Permit in the Democratic Republic of Congo costs $400 USD per person usually booked in advance before your trekking dates such that it’s processed in time.
Mountain Nyiragongo hiking. This is another exciting and adventurous activity to do while in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it usually involves hiking up to the top of the popularly known active volcano in the Virunga Mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This adventurous hiking is usually done in two days whereby day one is for hiking from the starting point in Kibati up to the top of the Volcano for a night stay, then day two is for descending back to the starting point after an exciting night and spending at the top.
A briefing about the journey is first conducted by the officials at the starting point before the journey is started and the briefing, a guide plus armed officers are assigned to the group of trekkers to start the amazing journey up to the top, Route stops overs are associated with rest a bit, refresh, stretch, ease yourself, eat, drink and then continue with the journey. This journey is associated with en-route game viewing.
This activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo requires a hiking fee of $300 USD per person, a Mikeno package which comprises food cooked at the top, a chef, drinking water, snacks, cooking utensils, some wearing gear like waterproof jackets and more at a cost of $100 USD per person including its transportation from Mikeno lodge up to the starting point. Hiking stick is also important and it costs $5 USD per person porters are available to carry your luggage up to the top and then back at a cost of $24 USD per person.
What to pack. Some essentials things to pack for this adventure include strong hiking shoes, enough clothes to wear like long-sleeved shirts and trousers, jumpers, a head shock to cover your head, gloves to cover your fingers since conditions at the top are very cold, a water bottle, insect repellents, nose capes, sunglasses, waterproof jackets and bags to protect your water sensitive devices like mobile phones, cameras and more.
Besides that what else in Congo? Besides Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Biega National Park plus Nyiragongo hiking, you can also do the Chimpanzee habituation Walk in the Tongo forest, birding watching and nature walk in Kahuzi Biega National Park