- Trek in search of the largest gorilla subspecies, Grauer's gorilla, in Kahuzi-Biega National Park
- Visit the forgotten island of Idjwi, hidden at the centre of Lake Kivu
- Explore Virunga National Park, trekking for endangered mountain gorillas
- Climb Mount Nyiragongo, which is topped by a lava lake, and camp on its crater rim
Discover DRC's wild Kivu Region, home to lava-lake-topped volcanoes, dramatic landscapes and two subspecies of gorilla. Explore in the company of conservationist Stuart Nixon, an expert in primates.
Lake Kivu and Kahuzi-Biega National Park
Begin at Cormoran Lodge, in Rwanda, which is the perfect place to acclimatise and relax before you enter the DRC. Set on the shores of Lake Kivu, it looks out over the lake, towards the DRC.
The following day, cross the border and enter the lakeside town of Bukavu. Here, the focus is the nearby Kahuzi-Biega National Park, which is one of the only places to encounter Grauer's gorillas. This critically endangered lowland subspecies of gorilla is only found in a handful areas across DRC, with the only habituated families located within this remote park. Stuart Nixon is an expert in Grauer's gorillas and, having worked in the park in the past, is the perfect person to accompany you on the gorilla trek.
Afterwards, travel by boat up Lake Kivu, heading north. But instead of continuing to Goma, as almost all visitors do, stop halfway at Idjwi Island, a beautiful and remote island that sits in the centre of the lake. This forgotten island is home to a large community, most of whom live a subsistence living, disconnected from both Rwanda and the rest of the DRC. Spend a night on the island, visiting the local hospital that is funded by Amani, a remarkable charity that is dedicated to improving lives on Idjwi.
Virunga National Park
From Idjwi, continue north up Lake Kivu, disembarking at Goma, before heading into Virunga National Park. Made famous by the 2014 documentary of the same name, this vast park is fascinating for the animals that survive here, the incredible challenges it faces and beautiful landscapes that lie within it.
From the tented Bukima Camp that sits within the park, trek in search of another subspecies of gorilla, mountain gorillas. Again accompanied by Stuart Nixon, climb the forested slopes of the Virunga Massif, before spending an hour in the company of these critically endangered primates as they feed, play and groom.
After a night at the comfortable lava-stone-built Mikeno Lodge, begin the ascent of Mount Nyiragongo. This conical volcano rises dramatically out of Virunga's forests and a dramatic lava lake sits within its crater. The climb up is tough, but the views from the top are like nothing else on earth. Within the crater, molten rock spits and smokes, and looking out, it is possible to see Goma, Lake Kivu and even Rwanda. Spend the night beside the crater rim, camping in huts that cling to the slope. (For those who feel the climb is too challenging, we can arrange an additional night at Mikeno Lodge instead).
After descending the volcano, finish with some time at Tchegera Island. This sunken caldera lies just off Goma, with tents spreading along its emerald horseshoe ridge that emerges from the waters. Beautifully peaceful, it is the perfect place to relax after the excitement of Nyiragongo.
Why We Like It
In eastern DRC, it is Virunga National Park that attracts most attention, largely thanks to the documentary that brought it international fame. However, the region offers far more than just Virunga. This trip is unique in also including Kahuzi-Biega National Park - the only place where you can encounter Grauer's gorillas - as well as Idjwi Island, which is peaceful but completely unvisited by outsiders.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.