Nyiragongo Volcano

Gorilla Trekking & Hiking Virunga Mountains in Africa

We present to you an authentic Guide to Virunga Mountains the home for the mountain Gorillas & Gorilla Trekking adventures in Africa, Guide to Mount Nyiragongo hiking,how to go gorilla trekking & Nyiragongo Hike, Congo safaris, Gorilla tours in congo, Reliable Tour Operators.

Virunga Mountains, Virunga also spelled Birunga, also called Mufumbiro Mountains , volcanic range north of Lake Kivu in east-central Africa, extending about 50 miles (80 km) along the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. The range runs east-west, perpendicular to the rift valley in which lie Lakes Kivu and Edward. Of its eight major volcanic peaks, the highest is Karisimbi, at 14,787 feet (4,507 metres). The name Virunga (“Volcanoes”), probably of Swahili derivation, has prevailed over the earlier Mufumbiro (“That Which Cooks”), which is still used in Uganda. Individual volcanoes bear Rwandan descriptive names, such as Sabinio (Sabinyo; “Old Man with Large Teeth”) and Muhavura (“Landmark,” or “Guide”).

The mountain range consists of eight major volcanoes. Most of them are dormant, except Mount Nyiragongo 3,462 metres (11,358 ft) and Mount Nyamuragira 3,063 metres (10,049 ft), both in the DRC. Recent eruptions occurred in 2006 and in January 2010. Mount Karisimbi is the highest volcano at 4,507 metres (14,787 ft). The oldest mountain is Mount Sabyinyo, which rises 3,634 metres (11,923 ft) above sea level.

The six volcanoes of the centre and east are extinct. Mikeno and Sabinio are the oldest of these, dating from the early part of the Pleistocene Epoch (the Pleistocene began about 2,600,000 years ago and lasted until about 11,700 years ago); their craters have disappeared, and erosion has imposed a jagged relief. Karisimbi, Visoke, Mgahinga, and Muhavura appeared, all but Karisimbi possessing a crater summit. The crater of Muhavura contains a small lake. Not more than 20,000 years ago Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira emerged at the western end of the chain, both with extensive craters.

The main crater of Nyiragongo is about three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) across and contains a liquid lava pool. The lava field of these two volcanoes has remained active, with notable eruptions occurring in 1912, 1938, 1948, the 1970s, and 2002. On several occasions a lava stream reached the shores of Lake Kivu. The 2002 Nyiragongo eruption destroyed much of the nearby city of Goma, Congo, leaving thousands homeless.

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Permits

Rwanda announces increase in the price of Mountain Gorilla Permits

News and updates from Rwanda Development board has announced the increase of the Mountain Gorilla Trekking permit to Volcanoes national Park Rwanda. According the news published to other travelers forums , Kahuzi Biega National Park guide has been informed of the price changes of the mountain Gorilla Permits.

Find Updates and News about the gorilla permit costs in Rwanda.

The Rwanda Development Board has announced an increase in the price of Gorilla Permits from US$ 750 to US $1,500 for all visitors effective immediately. A new exclusive package for tourists who wish to book an entire family of gorillas was also introduced at US$ 15,000, and will receive exclusive personalized tour guide services.

The price increase will not affect tourists who had already purchased their tickets at the time of this announcement.

Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board said: “Gorilla trekking is a highly unique experience. We have raised the price of permits in order to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives and enhance visitors’ experience. We also want to make sure that the communities living near the park area receive a bigger share of tourism revenues to fund development projects and empower them economically.”

Tourists who visit other national parks (Nyungwe and Akagera) for a minimum of three days, in addition to gorilla trekking will receive a discount of 30%. Similarly, conference tourists, who stay pre or post conference dates to see gorillas will be eligible for a 15% discount.

In line with Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy, the price increase aims to strengthen conservation efforts and contribute more to the development of communities living around the Volcanoes National Park.

Along with the new tariff, the tourism revenue sharing rate for communities adjacent to the park, will also increase from 5% to 10%, which will quadruple the absolute revenues received by communities. Over the last 12 years, more than 400 community projects have been completed including hospitals, schools, business development centers and water supply systems to facilitate access to clean water. These projects directly benefit the people living around the parks.

New, high-end lodges are opening in Musanze and plans are underway to improve visitors’ experience at Kinigi, including renovation of the information center to equip it with modern offices and tourism services such as conservation education, children’s learning space as well as digital facilities.

Mountain gorillas are an endangered species with only around 880 remaining in the world. Of those in in the Virunga Massif, Rwanda accounts for 62% of the gorilla population. Stringent conservation measures have significantly contributed to a rise in gorilla numbers. There are currently 20 families habituated for tourism and research in Rwanda, up from just 9 families in 2010.

Find the Reasons why we now recommend Gorilla Trekking in Congo.

Climbing Mount Nyiragongo Volcano

About Mount Nyiragongo in Virunga Congo.

Welcome to the Nyiragongo Volcano Guide offering travel information about climbing nyiragongo, where to stay( safari lodges and Trusted tours Operators in Congo, Cost of the Nyiragongo Hiking permit, gorilla trekking permits and Mountain Gorilla tracking adventure to Congo like 3 Days Gorilla Safari and 3 Days Nyiragongo climbing Safari to hike Nyiragongo Volcano.

Plan a Gorilla Trek Africa Adventure with Trusted tour Operator to congo will reward you visiting the primates of Congo ( Eastern Lowland Gorillas & Mountain Gorillas) with Nyiragongo Hike on 5 Days Congo gorilla Safari holiday.

Mount Nyiragongo is an active strato volcano with an elevation of 3,470 metres (11,380 ft)  in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, about 20 km (12 mi) north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. The main crater is about two kilometres wide and usually contains a lava lake.

Nyiragongo, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, is a large strato volcano. This type of volcano, also known as a composite cone, is the most picturesque of the volcano types with gentle lower slopes that rise steeply near the summit, and then break to reveal the smoking caldera. The summit stands at 3,468m (11,380ft), with an average diameter of 1.2 km (0.7 miles) across a deep crater formation. In the centre of the crater is the world’s largest lava lake. It is so bright that on a clear night, the glow can be seen not only from Goma but also from Rwanda. In the most recent volcanic eruption of 2002, a fissure opened on the south side of the volcano sending a lava flow toward the city of Goma, covering one-third of the city’s airport runway, and reaching Lake Kivu.

Geology of Mount Nyiragongo

Not much is known about how long the volcano has been erupting, but since 1882, it has erupted at least 34 times, including many periods where activity was continuous for years at a time, often in the form of a churning lava lake in the crater. The volcano partly overlaps with two older volcanoes, Baratu and Shaheru, and is also surrounded by hundreds of small volcanic cinder cones from flank eruptions.

The lava emitted in eruptions at Nyiragongo is often unusually fluid. Nyiragongo’s lava are made of melilite nephelinite, an alkali-rich type of volcanic rock whose unusual chemical composition may be a factor in the unusual fluidity of the lavas there. Whereas most lava flows move rather slowly and rarely pose a danger to human life, Nyiragongo’s lava flows may race downhill at up to 100 km/h (60 mph).

Climbing Mount Nyiragongo

Climbing the volcano is a two-mile-hike which starts 20 km (12 miles) north of Goma near Kibati. The trek takes approximately five hours and involves walking through lush forest and lava fields with a steep incline near the top. Please note that this is a serious hike and visitors need to be fit. The standard trip includes an overnight stay on the rim of the volcano in the Nyiragongo Crater Cabins, with comfortable beds, so visitors only have to bring a sleeping bag. The overnight stay is essential, as the view of the lava lake at night is stunning. The maximum group size per day is 24 pax. Minimum age for visitors is 12, check on the 3 Days Nyiragongo Hike Tour.

The Cost of the Nyiragongo Hiking Permit.

The Nyiragongo Permit can be booked through the Virunga Park or trusted tour operator recommended by the  Kahuzi Biega National Park travelers guide. But the Authority to confirm the availability is subjected to the confirmation from the park and its advisable to book the nyiragongo hike in advance to avoid disappointment like the case for Gorilla Trekking on a gorilla Safari.

What to Note while booking Nyiragongo Hike in Congo

Permit price does NOT include transport to the starting point of the hike, if your an independent traveler we recommend to check on the car rental firms in congo that offer transportation where by from Goma to Kibati they charge around USD 50 or to be booked through the Tour Operator.

Nyiragongo Trekkers must be at least 12 years of age and are required to bring full rain and cold weather gear (moisture-wicking base layer, sweater or fleece, jacket, rain resistant pants, long underwear, warm socks, hat, and a 0°C/32° – rated sleeping bag). Temperatures at the summit are routinely below freezing. Although most people arrive at the summit sweating from the steep climb, this sense of warmth quickly gives way to cold. A complete change of base layers is a must. Failure to bring proper gear will lead to hypothermia. Please do not endanger yourself and others by coming unprepared for these conditions.

PLEASE MAKE SURE TO ARRIVE AT THE KIBATI STATION (trail head for Nyiragongo) BY 9:15 AM ON THE DAY OF YOUR CLIMB. Climbers typically descend the volcano at between 6:30 – 7:00 am the next morning and arrive back at Kibati station by 11:30 am. If one intends to fly out of Kigali on the same day, please make sure to schedule your departure flight AFTER 6 pm in the evening hours due to the driving time from Gisenyi to Kigali and the driving speed.

Summit Shelters – Each of the twelve summit shelters contains two single beds on which visitors can put their sleeping bags. Although these shelters aren’t plush, they offer a welcome escape from the elements. The cost of staying in a summit shelter is included in the permit fee.

Meal Plan ($75) – includes snacks, lunch, and dinner on Day 1 and breakfast and snacks on Day 2. Water is also included for both days.

Meal and gear package ($100) – includes meal plan plus a sleeping bag, jacket, fleece top, hat and rain poncho.

Porters ($24) –  can be hired at the base of the climb to carry loads for $24 round trip (gratuity not included). The maximum weight that porters are authorized to carry is 15 kg. Porters can be arranged by speaking with a Virunga National Park ranger at the Kibati station.

Accommodation at the Top Summit of Nyiragongo Volcano.

Nyiragongo Crater Cabanas. On the edge of the Nyiragongo crater within sight of the sweltering lava lake, stand eight simple but firm Cabanas. Coloured black the Cabins blend in perfectly with the lava rock surroundings. Any trip up the volcano should include a night spent in these Cabins, that is why they have been included in the price of the volcano permit. They allow visitors to spend their night in sufficient comfort whilst also giving rise to the
opportunity to view the lava lake from the top of the crater at any point during the night. Each Cabana is fitted
with two beds allowing 16 visitors to reside at the crater at the same time.Gorilla Trek Africa & Nyiragongo Hike 5 Days

What visitors should bring. For the Volcano trek in Nyiragongo:
The Nyiragongo Cabin takes a max of 24 pax and the availability of the nyiragongo hike is 24pax per day and check out what to bring incase your not paying for the mikeno package of USD 100.

  • Sleeping Bag & Food (lunch, dinner, breakfast) will be provided by Origins Safaris.
  •  Water (3 litres p.p. minimum) and any other drinks required
  • Change of dry clothes and Rain gear
  • Good walking shoes
  • Warm Clothes (sweater, jacket) is very cold up there.
  • Sun cream, Hat
  • Torch/head torch
  • Camera

Source: Official, www.nyiragongovolcano.org to find more detailed information about Mount Nyiragongo Hike in Congo once combined with gorilla trekking to Virunga  for mountain Gorillas or Kahuzi Biega National Park for Eastern Lowland Gorillas


Comparing single gorilla trekking Vs Double gorilla trekking in Africa

After a great year of travel in gorilla parks for both the mountain gorillas, Eastern lowland gorilla in Kahuzi Biega, this has inspired me to write the adventure guide for double gorilla trekking adventure in Africa.

As well known that gorilla trekking is only done in Africa, there lies the best destinations for Mountain gorillas and Eastern lowland gorillas in Democratic republic of Congo, western lowland gorillas in Congo, Cameroon and many more.

Mountain gorilla trekking in Africa is mostly popular in the greater Virunga national park which was subdivided to create the prominent Volcanoes National park in Rwanda, Mgahinga National park in Uganda and Bwindi impenetrable National park. These lie along the western arm of the Great East African rift valley.

Gorillas live in their natural habitat at an altitude of 2,400km to 4,507km with Karisimbi being the highest point. These also inhabit the beautiful green bamboo zone in the Virunga. Bwindi Impenetrable National park makes it quite challenging to track these due to the fact that the fact that the forest is very thick and hard to penetrate through making photography very challenging and difficult. Therefore,

While making a comparative analysis on going for a single gorilla trek would mean one can only secure one gorilla pass varied for a single day, this is a bit cheaper (US $750) as one would get their expectations to the fullest for gorillas would be gorillas. There would be no bottom line as to why one would need a second trek but on the other hand, I would give a thumb to the one who would go see the gorillas twice as this would give you an opportunity to have a comparative advantage.  For the first trek, you may find some gorillas lazy and resting or feeding in the dense vegetation/ un accessible bushes that make taking photos very challenging/ difficult hence making you miss out on the best encounters. However, when you proceed the next day for another Gorilla trekking experience, you can be compensated by going on the second gorilla trek through its expensive but at least one would have more opportunities and more memories to share as you only visit once.

Reasons why a photographer should go for double gorilla trekking.

From my observation as a  tourist driver guide, most client who go on s ingle gorilla trekking stand high risks of missing flights or a summing one falls sick or ill, there would be on chance to retrieve your gorillas pass in case you don’t show up at kinigi park office at the time of gorilla briefing  in this case your gorilla permit would be regarded as No show or wasted gorilla permit .a lovely example is when we had a client who booked a one day gorilla trekking in volcanoes park with the flight that arrives from Arusha and had to land in kigali on time unfortunately he missed the flight in Arusha this resulted him in missing his gorilla permit thus a double trekking is worthwhile, on  1 day gorilla  trek you may see a huge group, 2 silver backs, black backs, moms, small babies and juveniles, one gorilla hugged me, everyone said I was lucky while on the second trek, you may see less gorillas.

Not all guerrilla groups have the same members in number s in family size , some gorilla families are bigger than others  in size therefore ,you may be unlucky to find yourself going on gorilla family that has few females, or black backs or babies, this may limit your chances of having more fun in the jungle compared to  Someone who did 2 gorilla treks , such person would stand a high chances of much fun and good photographs of the jungle and the mountain gorillas.

Much as everyone would wish to go on double gorilla trek but it’s more expensive compared to a single trekking, in this case it would require one to have $750 x2 which would be $1500 minus adding the extra  costs for accommodation and ground transport.

Someone who goes on second gorilla trekking, offers one the first choice to choose the group to be trekked after going on the first trek for example some groups like Sabinyo is very competitive to get it as everyone would be fighting for it, but in this case if one did the first trek then on the second trek, it can be given to you thus going on double gorilla trek is worthwhile.

Gorilla trekking is really un comparable to any trekking , being it the incar trail in macho pinchu or trekking mountain Everest or  trekking in Naples, but gorilla trekking is a unique experience that one would wish to take part , to the extent that one would go for the second time , irrespective of  the exercise being a hard adventure .  two days of gorillas that one would go on  the primarily reason to have  a second day of trekking is , mainly in case one day was a bust due to rain or a bad sighting. I’m glad could enjoy on the second day. my self being part of the second gorilla trek I  saw completely different terrain thick scrub vs. bamboo forest which was really awesome and good spot for taking photographs  also entirely different interactions with the gorillas. The challenges we had on the first trek were all washed away when we went on the kwitonda  group was amazing ,thee funny part of it is that which was complicated  our main issue of trekking was to be entertained by the juveniles  seeing a very lazy and hardly active group would be an awesome story to talk all over . Trekking an active gorilla family is the most adorable thing to see the gorillas in their natural habitat.

As most who chose to have 2 treks say  that the first day is for taking pictures and the second is for really just watching the gorillas and that is probably very true and myself I would be on their side  but to a few individuals with limited time and those that move on tight budget  I must say that one day is fine and I feel like I really got a sense of these magical animals and their family units in their natural habitat. This makes fee the magical creatures as babies touches you, playfully and the large adults walks right by side by side this would be a story to talk about in your life.

Gorilla trekking adventure in the volcanoes park is really something to talk about in a real life time among the few who have had a chance to go gorilla trekking with the most trustable travel agency (active African vacations has owned a great reputation in offering reliable services on lucky day while gorilla trekking, you would enjoy seeing gorillas all around you playing and mating! I’m glad I took the chance to go double gorilla trekking on both experiences for both memories and photographic reasons in the African jungle doing both trekking in arrow.

Mountain Gorilla In virunga

Guide to Virunga National Park -Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Guide to Virunga National Park – Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Congo

Virunga National Park is a 7800 square kilometer World Heritage Site that lies on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is just over the border from Rwanda and Uganda. Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and is considered one of the most beautiful and diverse in the World, containing Savannah, lava plains, swamps, erosion valleys, forests, active volcanoes and the ice fields of the Ruwenzori Mountains. The park provides a home to numerous species of wildlife, including 200 of the worlds critically endangered mountain gorillas.

For years the political situation in Congo prevented tourists from visiting Virunga but Now that the Democratic Republic of Congo is ruled by an elected government and is at peace with her neighbors, the park has been re-opened to tourists and the world is re-discovering one of its most treasured places. With so much diversity in one park, Virunga offers visitors opportunities that can be found in few other places. Our most popular attractions include visiting the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, climbing a volcano to spend the night next to the world’s biggest lava lake and trekking through the spectacular snow capped Ruwenzori Mountains.

History of the Virunga National Park
The history of the park is deeply affected by the country of which it is part. For much of its long history, Virunga National Park has struggled to survive through many of Congo’s troubled times. Thanks to the dedication of certain politicians, conservationists, park rangers and wardens, the park not only has survived, but is currently experiencing a resurgence. The park was founded in 1925 by King Albert I of Belgium and originally named Albert National Park, the first national park on the continent of Africa. It was founded primarily to protect the gorillas living in the forests of the Virunga Mountains controlled by the Belgian Congo, but later expanded north to include the Rwindi Plains, Lake Edward and the Ruwenzori Mountains in the far north. In the first 35 years, the boundary of the park took  shape, poaching was kept to a minimum and sustainable tourism thrived due to the work of a large body of hand-picked Congolese rangers and dedicated wardens. Land remuneration and the use of park resources such as fishing and hunting by the Congolese citizen population became an on-going problem and attempts were made to solve these issues.

In the process it was renamed Virunga National Park, and the first Congolese Wildlife Authority was established (today known as ICCN).  In 1979 UNESCO designated the park as a World Heritage Site.   The Congolese Wildlife Authority slowly lost control of Virunga and UNESCO changed the World Heritage Site status to “endangered.” Over the twenty-five years that followed, the park staff endured an almost uninterrupted series of trials that included a refugee crisis from the Rwandan Genocide that contributed to the severe destruction of park forests,  The park is back in the hands of the ICCN and enjoying the greatest resurgence of tourism and development in its history. International donors are investing in the development of the park’s infrastructure at unprecedented levels. Virunga’s management is efficient and transparent, and morale among the rangers is at an all-time high.

Tourism has increased from zero in 2008, to approximately 2000 in 2010 with numbers continuing to grow steadily. New tourist activities are being developed in the park, including the habituation of chimpanzees in the Tongo forest and a high-end lodge conveniently located near the centre of the three main tourist attractions in the southern sector, north of Goma.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Congo
Virunga National Park is home to approximately 200 of the world’s remaining 790 Mountain Gorillas. The park’s gorillas live in the Mikeno Sector, an area of forest situated on the flanks of a range of mostly dormant volcanoes. Virunga National Park has 6 habituated gorilla families which can be visited by a maximum of 30 visitors per day. Visitors will have the opportunity to observe the gorillas for up to an hour. Gorillas may surround you while playing and eating in the trees, or the family may be at rest in an open grassy area. As you walk through the family you must keep a distance of at least seven meters. If a gorilla family consists of more than ten individuals, we allow a group of eight tourists to visit one gorilla family .

The treks leave from one of three patrol posts Bukima, with several rangers and trackers to accompany you. Bukima post, the most popular with tourists and the closest to Goma, has a basic tented camp or overnight stays. Treks can take from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours to reach a gorilla family, often moving through dense forest and across steep hills, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Weather conditions can range from sunny and warm to cold and rainy, so visitors should come prepared for both.

Where to Stay in Virunga National park-Safari lodges in Congo

Mikeno Lodge, Mikeno Lodge is Virunga National Park’s first lodge opening for tourists in August of 2011. Centred between three main tourist attractions, it is a perfect location to begin treks to see the gorillas, chimpanzees, and  Nyiragongo volcano. Nestled among the trees of a virgin forest, the weather is cool, the views spectacular,
and the lodging luxurious. Location: Mikeno Lodge is roughly one and half hours north of the city of Goma
(border Rwanda) and the same distance west of Bunagana (border Uganda) and can be found tucked into a
forested hillside at Virunga National Park headquarters of Rumangabo.

To the east is the Mikeno Gorilla Sector, and to the southwest is Nyiragongo Volcano. To the west, the chimpanzee treks begin in the forests of Tongo and chimpanzee Tracking permits in congo are paid upon seeing the Chimpanzee, so no need to book in advance.

Visiting the Orphan gorillas At Mikeno Lodge.

The close proximity of the lodge to the Senkwekwe Centre means guests have the opportunity to visit the four orphan gorillas living in a spacious natural enclosure with viewing platforms around the periphery. A 30- minute nature  walk along a forest trail that encircles the hilltop is available for those who enjoy stretching their legs.

Whether your stay is the starting point for gorilla, volcano, and chimp adventures, or purely for a relaxing
time-out in a peaceful location, Mikeno Lodge provides an indulgent experience among the wildlife and beauty
of Virunga National Park.

Bukima Tented Camp, Bukima is one of the sites where we start our gorilla treks. Just outside the perimeter of the park a tented camp has been established catering for up to 16 people at a time. What used to be a base for Gorilla
researchers  is now a basic but comfortable tented camp, Tents with 2 beds with warm blankets. Shared shower block with cold water shower. A sparsely furnished dining banda, with surprisingly good food, and a cash bar. It provides all essentials for a comfortable night out in the wilderness, with a magnificent view of the Mikeno volcano draped in tropical forest and the Nyiragongo volcano, of which the glow from the lava lake can be clearly seen at night. Spending the night at Bukima Tented Camp ensures that you can leave for gorilla trekking at a leisurely time in the morning due to the fact that gorilla trekking base is at bukima and will ensure that you will be back at your destination of choice with time to spare after your encounter with the Mountain Gorillas of Virunga.

Where to hang out with Uganda’s mountain gorillas

When you go deeper into the country’s southwestern corner, you will find a different type of creature. Here, in the depths of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, half of the world’s remaining wild mountain gorillas roam free, and you can trek through their disappearing habitat to see them at work, rest and play. Only 80 trekking permits are issued each day by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, and each must be applied for through a registered safari operator. The permit cost 600 USD per person per trek.
The Ugandan forest is lush, humid and damp and there are no trekking paths as we have come to know them. It is also full of hills and steep slopes where you will be required to pull yourself up steep jungle grades by grasping onto branches, plant roots, bushes and more.
Having similar DNA to humans, gorillas are highly susceptible to illness, and even catching a common cold could wipe out an entire group. Park visitors must keep a minimum distance of seven metres from the animals at all times, and visits are limited to one hour in the company of one of three habituated families.
Because of these restrictions, the future of this critically-endangered creature looks bright. Following decades of illegal deforestation and poaching, the number of gorillas at Bwindi has steadied at around 340, and for the first time in years, it is very slowly on the rise.
Gorilla trekking is no stroll in the park. It can take anywhere up to 10 hours to find the elusive creatures in the dense undergrowth. Guides lead trekkers up precipitous verges and across rivers and rusty machetes are used to hack paths through the thick, thorny rainforest. It is the perfect place to live out a childhood fantasy, with vast swathes of trees, vines, branches and bushes surrounding trekkers as they penetrate deep into the rainforest.
Obtaining a Gorilla Trekking Permit
The first thing to overcome is obtaining a gorilla trekking permit ($600, except in the season months of April and May when permits are $450). A gorilla trekking permit is included. If you travel independently, you should apply to the park or through a local operator several months in advance, especially if you expect to go during the high season (June-August).
You Gorilla trekking Experience Begins
You’ll need your passport with you when you arrive at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park since officials will need to verify your trekking permit. After a quick briefing on the activities of the park, safety measures and how to prepare yourself for the day, you will be assigned to a group of a maximum of eight people for your gorilla family search and visit.
Treks begin with an early morning safety briefing. Depending on gorilla movements, you can spend a morning anywhere within the park’s 331sqkm forest with the Mubare gorilla family, the Habinyanja or the Rushegura group. The biggest is the Rushegura, a 12-strong group of habituated gorillas, including what is believed to be the world’s largest silverback, named Mwirima and weighing nearly 200kg.
Each group will be led by a guide and two scouts who carry AK-47 guns and walk before and after the group. The reason for armed scouts is to protect the group in the forest in case it comes across wild elephants and buffaloes or angry, unhabituated gorillas. In case of such encounters, scouts are trained to fire shots into the air first in order to scare away the animals.
Each gorilla family also has assigned to it a pair of trackers who have been sent out in the early morning to find the location of your specific gorilla family and to assess where they may be headed. Trackers communicate the gorillas’ movements to the guide so he can decide on the best approach to meet the gorilla family.
Once your group finds the gorilla family this is when the clock starts: you have approximately one hour to spend with them. Stay quiet and avoid sudden movements. It’s not a problem to look a gorilla in the eye, but if he begins charging you, hold your ground but lower your eyes to indicate that you do not have any problem with it.
Photos and videos are fine, but without a flash. This provides you the most visibility and you can just sit on the ground and observe. In other situations the gorillas are up in the trees, behind bushes, or walking around through dense brush. Follow the lead of the trackers and guides and stay close behind them as they move around to find other gorillas. If the gorilla is behind a series of trees or bushes, the trackers will often clear the brush with their machete so you can get a clearer and closer look. It is incredible how large, graceful and peaceful these animals are. You’ll be especially amazed when you see the silverbacks.
Stare into the eyes of mountain gorilla and you’ll likely feel a connection, one unlike you’ve never experienced before. It’s the connection of peering into the mind of an exotic creature that looks and acts quite a bit like we humans do. It’s a difficult feeling to articulate. Hopefully, you’ll be able to experience it for yourself.

Essential Self drive Packing list for travelers to Bukavu in Congo

Democratic republic of congo is commonly known as the unsafe destination for Self drive adventures in Africa, But Car rental congo has been able to explore the various parts of congo on Self drive Adventures to visit Kahuzi Biega national Park & Virunga National Park.

Car rental Congo is among the leading car rental company in Congo to offer self drive & Car hire services in Africa as we have ever been in places that we recommend you to visit . Dont miss to visit Kahuzi Biega National Park & Virunga National Park for Gorilla trekking Safari comparison between the mountain Gorillas and Eastern Lowland gorillas in Africa.

While planning to visit the Dark Continent with so many mysteries (Africa) to encounter as well as beautiful people with open welcoming hands, one should carry important gadgets/ gear to make their exploration and adventure in the various countries of the continent very exciting, exceptional and wonderful. Below is some of the gear you should carry with you to Africa.

Laptop or Tablet Device; If you are planning to visit Africa, carry a tablet piece like a candid laptop/ ipad to enable you post your entire experience for friends, families you left back home to enjoy and be motivated to travel to the beautiful continent too. These can also enable you keep updated about the events going on in the world over social media. Additionally, these can help in cases of emergency i.e when you get into any trouble in any country you are visiting, friends can easily track you down considering instances when they last chatted/ saw you on social media. Don’t forget to carry adapters/ power banks to help you in case battery goes low.


Travel with a high end digital camera when traveling to Africa so as to take clear beautiful shots of every moment in any country so as to keep memories of the continent’s beautiful undiscovered mysteries. Whether in the Masai Mara, navigating the inclines of Mt Kilimanjaro, watching Gorillas, Cruising along the various water bodies and watching the brilliant beautiful birds of the air taking clear nice photos for future records with an advanced digital camera should be considered by every traveler around the world traveling to Africa.

GPS Navigation System

The GPS Navigation system will enable you locate various routes and destinations with ease around the various countries the continent has since it portrays a map. Before you travel, carry an up to date GPS Navigation system with you and this will show you all the main, remote routes in every destination of your choice hence enabling you navigate through easily. Alternatively, you can book a trip through an authorized tour operator in the country you are going to for some of these due to their experience have GPS Navigation systems.

Power Bank Portable Power Supply

If you are traveling to Africa, ensure your devices are fully charged for it is hard to charge anywhere around the countries in Africa so we advise you to carry a portable power bank with USB chargers to help you keep your phone/ tablets on. These are available in different sizes, colours, shapes to suit all travelers’ requirements. These must be compatible with your type of device particularly when it comes to output voltage.

Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot

When traveling to Africa, travelers should carry their own Wi-Fi hotspot to enable them get internet around the remote destinations in Africa. This is because in some parts of Africa accessing the internet is very challenging. Alternatively, one can also register with a local telecom provider who will provide you with less costly internet access for you to use while on vacation in Africa.

Luggage Tracker

When traveling to Africa in any destination of your choice, carry a luggage tracker with you to help you find any lost property in cases of misplacements. These are made with advanced micro- electronics and ground based cellular telephone technologies that make tracking and reporting locations very simple/ easy. Don’t forget to carry this essential gear to enhance easy transfer from one destination to another around Africa.

All Gorilla Tours to Congo can be started from Kigali Rwanda and drive to the neighboring country of Democratic republic of congo.  Congo is ranked as the top Destination for Primate Holidays in Africa to visit the Mountain Gorillas & Eastern Lowland gorillas.

Top primate Attractions in Africa with Primate Safaris Rwanda.

Africa is known as dark continent but worthy the visit cozy of the primates that can be only found in African countries like Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic republic of Congo to visit the mountain Gorillas , Eastern Lowland gorillas , western Lowland gorillas and Chimpanzee in the Wild National Parks .

Africa is a very big and beautiful continent comprising of many countries from the North to the South then East to the West. The continent is very blessed and rich with mysterious destinations that leave every traveler thirsting for more opportunity to transfer to encounter and experience the wonders of the universe.  There are very many attractive destinations in Africa but we are mainly looking at the lovely primates the continent has to offer like the chimpanzees, Mountain Gorillas, Lowland Gorillas, Golden Monkeys, Baboon, Black & White Colobus Monkeys, blue monkeys, Lhoest Monkeys and these are prominent in the tropics inhabiting the thick rain forests where they have stayed and lived as mammals.


Gorillas are species that are divided into two types that is the Mountain Gorillas & Lowland gorillas which can be visited in Africa. Mountain Gorillas live in the Highlands and the lowland gorillas live in the swamps and the lower areas forests.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking Adventures can only be experienced in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These move on their four limbs i.e hands and legs in search for fruits, vegetables, shoots, roots, vines, small insects due to the fact that they are vegetarians. These live in groups of 6-12 members with an adult male with silver hair at the back referred to as the dominant silverback and the leader of the group. He makes decisions on where to eat, when to sleep, which group to attack etc and his orders are final and have to be followed for he has to defend his family. He is followed by adult females who produce the young ones and later come in the black backs which are both female and males which tend to leave the group when they grow older and these are followed by juveniles/infant Gorillas. They are known to be shy animals though very active during day and when night falls, they build their nests out of leaves and plant material where they sleep and adult mothers sleep with their infants. They are also very vulnerable to human diseases like whooping cough, flu/ colds, diarrhea etc. People who are sick are advised to cancel trekking these primates or don’t get closer for this has led to massive deaths of some due to catching illnesses from humans.

In Uganda, these can be spotted in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park where as in Rwanda these can be spotted in the prominent Volcanoes National park and in the Democratic Republic of Congo they are found in Virunga National Park.

The Eastern lowland gorillas can only be spotted in only Democratic republic of Congo in two national Parks of Kahuzi Biege National Park & Maiko National Park but one National Park is open for Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking which can only be enjoyed once booked with Primate Safaris Rwanda and the shortest Trip to visit the apes is 3 Days Eastern Lowland gorilla Tour starting from Kigali Rwanda and cross to Bukavu via Ruzizi border.

The Mating Cycle for all the primates is the same  and these  include Mountain Gorillas, Eastern Lowland Gorillas, West Lowland Gorillas and the Cross river Gorillas with the gestation period; 8.5 months and only one baby is produced very helpless since they weigh 3-4 Ibs learning to crawl at 2 months under their mothers care for about three years. At 8 and 9 months, they can walk around.

Gorilla Threats

The threats to all Mountain Gorillas, Lowland gorillas are the same as identified by the travelers and gorilla doctors like Poaching, increased human activities and deforestation  and the last one being the climate changes that also affect their habitats.

The Mountain Gorillas

These inhabit the thick tropical rainforests as well as Mountainous areas and are distributed in various areas. In Uganda they are found in the thick tropical rainforests of the magnificent Bwindi Impenetrable National park where you will find 12 Gorilla families allocated in four different sectors which include Buhoma with the Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura Gorilla groups, Ruhija with Nshongi, Mishaya, Busigye, Kahungye and Bweza Gorilla groups, Rushaga with Bitukura, Oruzogo and Kyagurilo Gorilla groups, Nkuringo with the challenging Gorilla group which is difficult totrack due to its constant movement in the hilly areas. There is also the Nyakagezi Gorilla group at Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. At Bwindi two Gorilla groups are being habituated though not yet opened for tracking and these include the Bushasho and Bikingyi Gorilla groups. In Rwanda, 10 Gorilla groups which include the Susa, Karisimbi, Agashya, Umubana, Ugenda, Kwitonda, Sabinyo, Hirwa, Amahoro, Bwenge can be tracked at Volcanoes National Park. In DR Congo these can be tracked at Virunga National Park which include 6 Groups i.e Kabirizi, Humba, Rugendo, Lulengo, Muyanga and Mapuwa.

Get the extra added advantage of visiting Mountain Gorillas in Uganda than in Rwanda of Gorilla Watching experience that comes at an expensive cost of staying with the mountain Gorillas in the wild the entire day since morning to evening.

Please Note that Gorilla Trekking is different from Gorilla Experience: Never be lied by the tour Operator but be ready to stay with the gorillas since morning till evening on Gorilla Watching experience yet on gorilla trekking it’s strictly one hour.

The Eastern Lowland Gorillas

The eastern lowland gorilla also called the Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) is a subspecies of the Eastern gorilla endemic to the mountainous forests of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Big populations of this Gorilla inhabit Kahuzi-Biega and Maiko National Parks as well as their nearby forests like the Usala, Tayna Gorilla Reserve and along the Itombwe Massif. The Eastern Lowland Gorilla is larger than all the four subspecies with jet black coats just like those on Mountain Gorillas despite the fact that their hair is shorter on the head and body. Just like other Gorillas when the silverback grows mature, its back turns into silver. In 2004, about 5,000 Eastern Lowland Gorillas were estimated to have been in the wild.

The Western Lowland Gorillas

Unlike the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, the western lowland gorilla is the smallest subspecies among the Gorillas and has extraordinary strength as well as size. They display distinct sexual dimorphism with no tails and jet black skin with rough black hair that covers their whole body except for the ears, face, hands and feet. The hair along the back and rump of males is grey in color and this usually disappears as they mature. These are referred to as silverbacks hence the leaders of the group. They have relatively large hands & thumbs with nails on all digits just like those of humans. They have short muzzles, a major brow ridge, big nostrils and candid eyes and ears, wide strong teeth and large muscles in the jaw area. Western gorillas normally stand upright walking in a bent quadrupedal way with their hands twisted and knuckles touching the ground a movement style that requires long arms which applies to the western gorillas because of the fact that their arms are larger than the standing height. These are very many as compared to the Eastern Lowland Gorillas i.e estimated number is 100,000.

Plan for the gorilla Safari holiday to visit the primate in Africa to enjoy the primate watching experience in Africa . Primate Safaris Rwanda is among the leading tour operator in the region offering Apes Safaris to Rwanda, Uganda and Congo.

Facts and General Information About Eastern Lowland Gorillas

The eastern lowland gorilla is the largest of the two lowland gorilla subspecies. It is distinguished from other gorillas by its stocky body, large hands and short muzzle. Despite its size, eastern lowland gorillas feed mainly on fruit and other herbaceous materials, just like other gorilla subspecies. its among the popular destinations to be visited to watch the primates on short time like 3 Days lowland gorilla tour  with congo gorilla safaris the leading safari company offering gorilla tours to congo including mountain gorillas & lowland gorilla tours.

Years of civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have taken their toll on both the eastern lowland gorilla and the mountain gorilla. The eastern lowland gorilla makes its home in lowland tropical rainforests in the eastern DRC. This subspecies may now occupy only 13% of its historical range. There were nearly 17,000 eastern lowland gorillas in the mid-1990s but scientists estimate that the population has declined by more than 50% since then. An accurate accounting of the animals has been impossible for many years because of violence in the region.

Throughout the unrest, the gorillas have been vulnerable to poaching, even in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, home to the largest population of protected eastern lowland gorillas. Rebels and poachers invaded the park and people set up illegal mines.

Gorillas are mainly herbivorous. Their staple foods are pith, shoots and leaves. Fruits are also an important component of western lowland gorillas’ diet and are consumed according to their seasonal availability. Over 100 fruit species have been recorded in their diet. In drier months, when fruits are scarce, gorillas supplement their diet with leaves, pith, shoots and bark. They have also been known to eat termites and weaver ants.

The western lowland gorilla is the most widespread and numerous of the four gorilla subspecies. No accurate estimates of their numbers are possible as these elusive apes inhabit some of Africa’s densest and most remote rainforests. However, the total population is thought to number up to 100,000 individuals. In some areas they occur in surprisingly high densities – like in remote swamps or areas with dense leafy growth where they’ve been recorded at exceptionally high densities of almost 10 individuals per square kilometer.

The forests of Congo (Brazzaville) are currently considered to harbour the major population of western lowland gorillas, which are protected by the remoteness of the large, swampy forest areas. Hunting is the main threat to western lowland gorillas. Gorillas are sought after as food (bush meat) and pets, and their body parts are used in medicine and as magical charms.

The impact of hunting on gorilla population has proven to be dramatic. In North East Congo, it has been estimated that approximately 5% of gorillas are killed by hunters each year. Despite national and international laws prohibit the hunting and capture of gorillas throughout their range, rampant corruption in the wildlife legal system weakens the enforcement of existing legislation.

Timber is a major export in Central Africa. Vast areas of rainforest in the western lowland gorilla’s habitat in the Congo Basin have been destroyed or leased out to European and Asian logging companies. The increase in timber extraction and the opening of once remote forest areas together with the easy transport provided by logging vehicles to distant markets, have also facilitated the bush meat trade. The expansion of agriculture also poses a threat, particularly the growth in oil palm plantations.

Central Africa, the home of western lowland gorillas, has been dramatically affected by Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Some scientists estimate that Ebola has killed about one-third of the wild gorilla population here, mainly western lowland gorillas. Evidence suggests that the virus may still be moving through the Congo Basin, placing a large gorilla population at risk.

Silverback Gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Apart from kahuzi Biega National park being the ideal destination for eastern lowland Gorilla trekking adventures in Congo ? The Second primates to be visited in Africa are the mountain gorillas that are found in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Various Tour operators are offering gorilla trekking safaris to Rwanda including Rwanda car rental the destination experts for transportation of private Independent Travelers that select to undertake gorilla trekking on their own through the purchasing of the gorilla permits directly with the Rwanda Development Board.

There are two populations of mountain gorillas. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. The other is found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. As of September 2015, the estimated number of gorillas remaining is fewer than 900.

Lowland gorillas live in dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level, with western lowland gorillas living in Central West African countries and eastern lowland gorillas living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo near its border with Rwanda.

Kahuzi Biega National Parks recommends adding gorilla trekking of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda which is possible on self drive safari in Rwanda.

Mountain gorilla livelihood

The mountain gorilla is diurnal, most active between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Many of these hours are spent eating, as large quantities of food are needed to sustain its massive bulk. It forages in early morning, rests during the late morning and around midday, and in the afternoon it forages again before resting at night. Each gorilla builds a nest from surrounding vegetation to sleep in, constructing a new one every evening. Only infants sleep in the same nest as their mothers. They leave their sleeping sites when the sun rises at around 6 am, except when it is cold and overcast; then they often stay longer in their nests. The mountain gorilla is highly social, and lives in relatively stable, cohesive groups held together by long-term bonds between adult males and females. Relationships among females are relatively weak. These groups are non territorial; the silverback generally defends his group rather than his territory. In the Virunga mountain gorillas, the average length of tenure for a dominant silverback is 4.7 years.

The dominant silverback generally determines the movements of the group, leading it to appropriate feeding sites throughout the year. He also mediates conflicts within the group and protects it from external threats. When the group is attacked by humans, leopards, or other gorillas, the silverback will protect them even at the cost of his own life. He is the center of attention during rest sessions, and young animals frequently stay close to him and include him in their games. If a mother dies or leaves the group, the silverback is usually the one who looks after her abandoned offspring, even allowing them to sleep in his nest. Experienced silver backs are capable of removing poachers’ snares from the hands or feet of their group members.

Experience the trek

The trek up the Virunga Mountain is a wonderful and unique experience. The trek takes three to eight hours depending on where the family has been located. The anticipation of seeing the silver back makes the trek very easy. It’s recommended to wear gumboots, full sleeve Tee shirt & a good pair of leather gloves to protect you from a possible brush with stinging nettles along the way. A rain coat will be useful to carry. An hour in the midst of the gorilla family (usually 11 to 15) is an absolutely brilliant & a bucket list experience. The trek back will take about the same time. People with health problems should trust that the beauty of the mountain the purity of the nature and the hospitality of the gorillas will miraculously cure you of any ache of pain. Rwanda is a beautiful country also called a Land of a thousand mountains, Having short time in Rwanda for Vacation? book 1 day gorilla tour Rwanda with Rwanda Car rental to enjoy the primates visit in Rwanda and the double gorilla tour in Rwanda .

The Park manages the gorilla tracking in a very professional, ethical, and educational manner. From the moment you arrive at the Park Headquarters everything unfolds smoothly as visitors with permits are put into hiking groups of no more than eight and assigned to guides. The gorilla families on the mountain are classified into tourist families, research families, and wild families so only a very few habituated families are visited by tourists. After a short drive to the trail head, and a hike up the steep slopes of the park which can be for a few or many hours, the assigned family is reached. The families have been located each morning by Park Rangers/Trackers who then communicate with the guides so that one is nearly always guaranteed a sighting. Once located one magical hour is spend observing the family under the close supervision of the guides. It is absolutely one of the most amazing wildlife encounters one could have.

Find the complete reason to design your own trail while going on Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National park while on Self drive safari in Rwanda in Either Safari Jeep Land cruiser or Toyota rav4( Recreational Active Vehicle) which are all full time 4×4 Drive at the best rate. .