11 Days Virunga Expedition Package
11 Days Virunga Expedition Package: Take 11 days in Virunga national park visiting the two great apes of the region that is the mountain gorillas and the chimpanzees, take on a game drive in the Lulimbi sector, hike up the active volcanic mount Nyiragongo and relax at the Tchegera Island. This package sets off from Goma on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11:15 am so ensure to align your flights accordingly. Spend a night in the Bukima Tented Camp, 3 nights in the prestigious Mikeno lodge, 3 nights in Lulimba Camp, 2 nights at Tchegera Island and 1 night in the Nyiragongo summit shelters.
Trip Highlights of the 11 Days Virunga Expedition Package
- 2 Gorilla treks in Virunga National Park
- Chimpanzee trek
- Game drives
- Safari walks
- Nyiragongo Hike
- Tchegera Island
- Mikeno lodge
- Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage
- Kigali city tour
Day 1: Connect from Kigali to the Goma Grande Barrier
- Drive from Kigali; Catch an early morning flight into the Rwanda and Kigali International Airport preferably a flight before 8 am and be met by your driver guide upon arrival to brief you and set out on your journey to Goma border to check in with the Virunga tourism office that is located at the Grande Barrier/ Goma border. The drive is about 4 to 5 hours.
- Check in with the office and get your permits for the activities to be done and join the security convoy headed for the Great Ape Package. You will arrive at your hotel in time for a late lunch and spend the afternoon relaxing and anticipating the following days’ events. First night will be spend at the Mikeno lodge in Rumangabo where the park headquarters are also situated.
Day 2: First Gorilla trek in Virunga National Park
- Mountain Gorilla trek; Wake up to an early breakfast at the prestigious Mikeno lodge and drive to the Bukima ranger post where the treks of Virunga start from. This is also where you will be briefed by the ranger guides about the gorilla trek in Virunga National Park and also where you may hire the porters and necessities for the trek.
- Enter the forest searching for the mountain gorillas for about 2 to 3 hours through the thick bushes and once you encounter these amazing creatures, you will spend the accepted 1 hour with them at a 6 meters distance. Enjoy them and after drive to Bukima tented camp for lunch and where you will be spending the second night. If you are interested, you may take on an optional nature walk or take some time to visit the park’s bamboo project.
Day 3: Second Gorilla trek in Virunga National Park
- 2nd Gorilla gorilla: This is yet another thrilling day where you get the second chance to spend some more time with the gorillas. Have breakfast at Bukima tented camp and connect back to the briefing point to visit a second family in the park. Have a briefing like the previous day and set out on your trek. Trek for about 2 to 3 hours according to how far the gorilla family you are to visit this day is. After the trek, your driver-guide will be there waiting to transfer you to Mikeno lodge for lunch.
- Spend the evening enjoying the Mikeno compound where you may visit the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage or the Virunga park headquarters. You can also opt to stay at the terrace enjoying the breeze and the views while reading a book until it is dinner time. Have dinner at Mikeno lodge and spend a second night at the hotel.
Day 4: Chimpanzee family visit
- Chimpanzee trek: By 6:00 am, you will be headed to the Mahura forest of Virunga national park for a chimpanzee trek. The chimpanzee family you will be visiting in Virunga is still being habituated and you get to be a part of this amazing and unique experience you can’t afford to miss out on. Return to the lodge for a late breakfast and have a leisurely day enjoying the luxurious Mikeno lodge.
- You will have dinner and the last night in the park at Mikeno lodge
Day 5: Transfer to Lulimbi tented Camp
- Drive to Lulimbi tented camp: After your breakfast at Mikeno Lodge, pack your bags and check out of the lodge and head out with your driver-guide to connect to the Lumibi tented camp. The Lulimbi tented camp is situated on the southeastern shores of Lake Edward that is on the DRCongo side. You will arrive in time for check-in and get settled into the camp. Connect to the main house for lunch.
- Safari walk: After lunch, you will set out for a guided afternoon safari walk exploring the savannah of the Ishasha plains and you may encounter some wildlife on this walk. Return to your lodge to rest abit and later in the evening when the sun cools down, you can get to the Ishasha river banks and enjoy the Lulimbi hippos wallowing at the shores of the river. Dinner and night stay will be at the Lulimbi Tented camp.
Day 6: Explore Lulimbi sector
- Explore the Lulimbi sector: Have an early breakfast and set out back for a second safari walk in the Lulimbi sector mainly to see the fauna that the area habituates and also see the vast flora spread out with the great presence of birdlife which could be attractive to the birders. Spend almost all morning in the park and get back to your hotel in time for lunch to restore your energy spent. The dining area faces the banks of River Ishasha which gives you great views of the hippos wallowing in the river and the elephants that visit time and again to drink water from the river.
- Game drive: In the evening hours, you will get to experience the park on wheels covering more of the park in search of the wildlife of the Ishasha plains. Set back to the camp for a second night’s stay and dinner.
Day 7: Second day in Lulimbi
- Lulimbi sector: This will be a leisurely day to enjoy the last moments in the wildlife sector of Virunga National park. Have breakfast and drive around the park with your driver guide in search of the animals you may have missed out in n the previous days. Get back to the camp in time for the BBQ lunch set up at the shores of Lake Edward. Have lunch with the great breeze and views of the area. The rest of the day may be spent at leisure as you may prefer. Dinner and the last night in Lulimbi sector will be at the camp as the nights before.
Day 8: Transfer to Kibati Ranger post for Nyiragongo hike up
- Ascend Mount Nyiragongo: After breakfast at the Mikeno lodge, meet with your driver guide to drive to the Nyiragongo trailhead to join the other hikers for the Nyiragongo ascent that day. You will hire the porter, hiking stick and Nyiragongo backpack and set out on your 5 hour up this active volcanic mountain with 2 stopovers enroute the hike up.
- Reach the summit in the early evening hours to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking views at the top of Mount Nyiragongo. Have dinner and enjoy the night in the Nyiragongo summit shelters.
Day 9: Descend Mount Nyiragongo and transfer to Tchegera Island
- Descend the volcano: Wake up very early to enjoy the wee morning hours at the top of the volcano to enjoy the views and have breakfast shortly before you set off on your descent back to the trailhead. Reach the trailhead at about 12pm and drive to Kituku port in Goma where you will embark on the boat to transfer you to Tchegera Island Retreat. Arrive in time for check-in and have a late lunch.
- You will spend the evening enjoying the island at leisure and have dinner and spend a night in the tented camp on the Island.
Day 10: Full day at Tchegera Island
- Tchegera Island: On this day, you may choose what activity to engage in after breakfast at the camp. You may opt to kayak on the Lake Kivu, or paddleboard or even go for snorkeling. Have a BBQ lunch back at the camp. In the evening, you may take on a nature walk in the pristine region as most of the land is virgin.
- Return before it gets dark and have dinner and spend the second night at Tchegera Tented camp.
Day 11: Connect back to Goma and further to Kigali
- Drive back to Rwanda: The last day of your 11 days Virunga Expedition will be leisurely as you will have breakfast and leave the park headed for Rwanda via Goma with an enroute lunch in Musanze, Rwanda. You will have a Kigali City tour visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial and the Kimironko market and be dropped off in Kigali for your flight out or hotel as you will advise your driver-guide.
End of the 11 Days Virunga Expedition Package
- Gorilla trek permits
- Chimpanzee trek permits
- Tchegera Island visit
- Nyiragongo hike permit
- Boat transfer
- Game drives
- DRCongo tourist visa
- Bed nights as described above
- Full-time English/ French speaking driver-guide
- 4WD fueled safari vehicle for all ground transfers
- Meals all through the trip
- Bottled water on the trip
- Money transfer fees
- Visa fees for Rwanda
- International flights
- Optional activities
- Personal needs such as airtime, tips, laundry e.t.c.