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Baby gorilla, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

Primates and Volcanoes

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

Day

Prices Start from

$6,985 ex. flights

This pioneering adventure explores two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – home to great apes, active volcanoes and the world’s largest lava lake. Have the unique chance to trek for two subspecies of gorilla, as well as chimpanzees.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Mountain gorilla, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo 1

Gorillas and Chimps

Encounter mountain and Grauer’s gorillas, as well as chimpanzees

Nyiragongo molten lava, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo 2

Nyiragongo Volcano

Spend a night on Mount Nyiragongo, home to the world’s largest lava lake.

Bbay gorilla playing, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo 3

Gorilla Orphan Sanctuary

Visit the Senkwekwe Mountain Gorilla Orphan Sanctuary.

Anti Poaching Bloodhound and Ranger, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo 4

Anti-Poaching

Meet the bloodhounds that help track poachers in Virunga National Park.

Why we like it

DRC’s dramatic eastern region, shaped by tectonics, has a wild allure. Underdeveloped and rarely visited, it redefines off the beaten track; any trip here is an adventure. However, the wealth of wildlife – including two endangered gorilla subspecies – and the spectacular landscapes, make this journey worth the extra effort.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Kigali - Nyungwe Forest National Park
  • Day 2
    Nyungwe Forest National Park - Bukavu
  • Day 3
    Kahuzi-Biega National Park
  • Day 4
    Lake Kivu - Goma
  • Day 5
    Goma - Virunga National Park
  • Day 6
    Virunga National Park
  • Day 7
    Virunga National Park
  • Day 8
    Virunga National Park
  • Day 9
    Virunga National Park
  • Day 10
    Tchegera Island - Goma - Kigali
Eastern lowland (Grauer's) gorilla, Kahuzi Biega National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo
Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Starting in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, the last remaining habitat for Grauer’s gorillas, base yourself in the colourful town of Bukavu. Here, faded colonial mansions sit on the lakeside peninsula, bougainvillaea flowing down across the gardens to the shores of Lake Kivu. A drive to the gorillas takes you past traditional fisherman on the shores of the lake and on into the lush forests, which are also home to elusive forest elephants and the Congo peafowl.

Looking down from Nyiragongo towards Goma and Lake Kivu, Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo
Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

Virunga National Park

Continue north across the lake by boat, to the city of Goma, a town built on a lava flow. Then enter Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest, containing half of all the biodiversity in sub-Saharan Africa and three habituated groups of mountain gorillas.

Trekking the mountain gorillas here though is only the start of the adventure. Encounter chimps, visit the world’s only mountain gorilla orphanage, meet Virunga’s anti-poaching rangers and spend a night on the top of Nyiragongo volcano for a spectacular display of the world’s largest lava lake. This is a thrilling journey through one of Africa’s wildest regions.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Mikeno Lodge £££££

  • Democratic Republic of Congo

This is a great little lodge and the only small, boutique-style property in the area. Each of the 12, solid lava stone and natural thatch bungalows sit in the heart of Virunga National Park, overlooking the forest or valley with Nyiragongo and Mikeno volcanoes in the distance. Inside each of the large rooms, the Congolese decor and warm fabrics are mixed with simple, but very comfortable African furniture, sleek stone-carved baths and en-suite showers. Given the rainforest environment, large open fires in each room, help keeps the chill at bay.

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Bukima Camp £££££

  • Democratic Republic of Congo

Bukima means the place where there are monkeys and whilst it was originally built as a base for researchers, it is now used as the starting point for Virunga mountain gorilla treks. The six, large meru-style safari tents (4 doubles and 2 twins) are all en-suite (flushing loos and bucket showers) with a small dresser and simple safari chairs, with a similar, but much larger main mess tent, where wholesome, simple meals are taken and where batteries can be charged. This is very much a base canvas and wooden camp from which to explore the surrounding area and whilst simple, it is clean, comfortable and well located for access to the gorilla trekking.

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Tchegera Island Lodge £££££

  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Tented Camps
  • Unusual

Definitely one of a kind, this excellent tented camp sits on the exposed ridge of a collapsed volcanic caldera in the middle of Lake Kivu. The handful of safari-style Meru tents lie directly on the black sandy shores, with small verandas under canvas. From here you can sit back and admire the view or watch birds and butterflies amongst the trees, which help provide shade and privacy. Inside the tents are simple, spacious and clean, with flushing loos, bucket showers and power from a generator.

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Nyiragongo Summit Shelter £££££

  • Democratic Republic of Congo

They are very much shelter and not much else. These fibre-glass huts keep out the wind and stay surprisingly warm but are very spartan. Inside each hut are small foam mattresses, which lie directly on the floor. However, after the hike to the top, they will feel like a king-size bed. There is a small window at one end. Basic sleeping bags are provided and whilst the shelters keep out the elements and can be quite warm, we recommend you bring either your own sleeping bag or at least a good sleeping bag liner. All food is brought by the porters and food is cooked on a small stove – surprisingly filling – along with some fresh fruit. Water is also provided, although you or your porter will need to carry this. There is no running water (bring travel hand wipes) and the loo is a long drop affair, reached by a short, steep walk on a rocky path (there is a safety rope to help you back up). Please be aware, this is a VERY basic affair, being nothing more than a tiny, bare hut.

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A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From $6,985 Per person

When to travel

Democratic Republic of Congo in January

January and February is the short dry season, so it is a good time to visit. It is hot, so if you are planning to climb Nyiragongo it will be slightly less cold on the top. However be prepared for rain at any time of year though, as the DRC has a tropical climate.

Democratic Republic of Congo in February

January and February is the short dry season, so it is a good time to visit. It is hot, so if you are planning to climb Nyiragongo it will be slightly less cold on the top. However be prepared for rain at any time of year though, as the DRC has a tropical climate.

Democratic Republic of Congo in March

March to May is the short rainy season, so you’ll definitely need to bring a raincoat if you plan to travel at this time. It is the quietest time of year though, so you can have your pick of the best accommodation.

Democratic Republic of Congo in April

March to May is the short rainy season, so you’ll definitely need to bring a raincoat if you plan to travel at this time. It is the quietest time of year though, so you can have your pick of the best accommodation.

Democratic Republic of Congo in May

March to May is the short rainy season, so you’ll definitely need to bring a raincoat if you plan to travel at this time. It is the quietest time of year though, so you can have your pick of the best accommodation.

Democratic Republic of Congo in June

June to September is definitely the driest time of year to explore Virunga and Nyiragongo. It will be cooler and less humid, so easier for trekking. However, you will need all your layers on the top of Nyiragongo. The most popular time to travel so is prepared to book in advance to secure the best accommodation.

Democratic Republic of Congo in July

June to September is definitely the driest time of year to explore Virunga and Nyiragongo. It will be cooler and less humid, so easier for trekking. However, you will need all your layers on the top of Nyiragongo. The most popular time to travel, so be prepared to book in advance to secure the best accommodation.

Democratic Republic of Congo in August

June to September is definitely the driest time of year to explore Virunga and Nyiragongo. It will be cooler and less humid, so easier for trekking. However, you will need all your layers on the top of Nyiragongo. The most popular time to travel, so be prepared to book in advance to secure the best accommodation.

Democratic Republic of Congo in September

June to September is definitely the driest time of year to explore Virunga and Nyiragongo. It will be cooler and less humid, so easier for trekking. However, you will need all your layers on the top of Nyiragongo. The most popular time to travel, so be prepared to book in advance to secure the best accommodation.

Democratic Republic of Congo in October

October to December is the long rainy season. November is the wettest month, so if you do plan to travel at this time you’ll need to be well prepared with all-weather gear. However, accommodation is easier to come by and you may be able to save money on gorilla permits and hotels.

Democratic Republic of Congo in November

October to December is the long rainy season. November is the wettest month, so if you do plan to travel at this time you’ll need to be well prepared with all-weather gear. However, accommodation is easier to come by and you may be able to save money on gorilla permits and hotels.

Democratic Republic of Congo in December

October to December is the long rainy season. November is the wettest month, so if you do plan to travel at this time you’ll need to be well prepared with all-weather gear. However, accommodation is easier to come by and you may be able to save money on gorilla permits and hotels.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?


Why Steppes

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