Mikeno Mist - 5 Days
Virunga Adventure with Nyuchi Safaris
Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights
When: Year Round
4 adults sharing 2 double/twin rooms, price per person $2,041.00
Upon arrival in Kigali, Rwanda, your dream adventure awaits! From the bustling cities to the deeps of the African jungle, you will be on an adventure learning about the history and culture of Rwanda and the DRC. You will then explore the mountains of the DRC, where you will get to see gorillas and have a peek at the summit of Mount Nyiragongo, an active volcano in the region.
Day 1: Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, Kigali
Rwanda’s capital and biggest city stretches across undulating lush hills surrounded by towering mountains, the largest of which is Mount Kigali, rising 1,850 metres above sea level. Kigali is the country’s financial, commercial, and cultural hub, served by an international airport and featuring a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants and points of interest, including the Kigali Genocide Centre, an atmospheric market and numerous craft shops. With its interesting architecture, busy streets, meandering boulevards, and green hillsides, Kigali is said to be one of the most attractive cities in Africa and is definitely worth a visit.
On arrival in Kigali, you will be met by one of our Inspired Journeys representatives, who will transfer you to Heaven Retreat / or Heaven Chalet Boutique Hotel.
Please have the following ready:
With 6 months validity from return to home country and 2 pages available for each country you are visiting - including your return
Yellow Fever Certificate
This must have your full name and a validity date
$30 for your Single Entry Rwandan Visa
Overnight: Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel
Heaven Restaurant & Boutique Hotel is a 15-room American-owned, private, serene property, located in Kigali's most beautiful neighborhood, Kiyovu. Heaven Hotel is a short walk to the city centre, shopping, banks and entertainment. In addition to Kigali's top-rated restaurant, Heaven hosts the onsite INEMA Arts' Gallery and AZIZI Life fair-trade crafts boutique. Enjoy the gourmet international cuisine, top notch service, and ambiance. Enjoy expansive views of Kigali from our terrace.
Meet and Greet
Kigali Airport meet & greet
You will be met by an Inspired Journeys representative to welcome you with an Inspired Journeys sign with your name(s) on it. He/she will introduce you to your driver for the Rwandan section of your trip.
Day 2: Kibumba Tented Camp, Virunga National Park
After breakfast, pick up by an Inspired Journeys driver/guide, drive 3.5 hours through the hillsides of Rwanda. On arrival in Gisenyi (Rwanda Border crossing), an Inspired Journeys representative will be there to assist you into Goma (D.R.C Border crossing). The border crossing usually takes 0.5hrs to 1.5hrs
You will arrive at Grande Barriere border crossing at 10:30am and check - in with Virunga tourism office by 11:15am. The tourism office is conveniently located in the Grande Barriere border post building, opposite passport control.
You will receive your gorilla and volcano trek permits at check - in which must be presented at the start of each trek. Once check - in is complete, you will transfer with Virunga shared transport to Kibumba Tented Camp.
You have the afternoon free to relax at camp, taking in the fantastic views of the Virunga Mountain Range. The views of the Virunga mountains from camp are spectacular, particularly on a clear night when you can see the park’s active volcano(es) glowing against the night sky, so have your camera ready.
Your Passport, Yellow Fever Vaccination Card (with name and validity date), Visa application confirmation and Virunga Reservation Summary will be required for this border crossing.
Here you will receive your tourist visa, gorilla & Nyiragongo permits.
Overnight: Kibumba Tented Camp
Kibumba Camp is an excellent choice for those seeking a more affordable way to experience the mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park. The camp is conveniently located near the trailhead for Nyiragongo volcano, which makes it the perfect place to stay for those wanting to experience both gorillas and the world’s largest lava lake. Guests can also enjoy nature hikes just outside camp or walk down to the local Kibumba marketplace for a vibrant cultural experience.
Kibumba Tented Camp features all the necessities of a classic tented camp: great food, full bar, well-appointed tents with comfortable beds, and ensuite bathrooms with hot showers.
Meet and Greet
Border assistance in/out of Goma
On arrival in Gisenyi and Goma there will be an Inspired Journey representative to assist you with the border crossing.
Pick up from Goma border with a clearly marked official park vehicle accompanied by a driver and an armed ranger. Transfer to your accommodation in Virunga National Park.
Day 3: Kibumba Tented Camp, Virunga National Park
After an early breakfast at Kibumba Tented Camp, head down the hill to meet your Ranger guides for a briefing before your gorilla trek. Treks usually require 1 - 2.5 hrs of hiking each way, depending on location of the gorilla group being trekked and the difficulty of the terrain. After spending 1 hour with the gorilla family group, you will make your way back to camp, enjoy a late lunch and have the rest of the day at leisure, including time for nature walks and bird watching.
Dress accordingly as recommended in the Rwanda/D.R.C Info Pack for the gorilla trek, as you may encounter rain and stinging nettles.
Have your cameras ready, and make sure they are fully charged with an extra memory card on hand, as you will be surprised as to how many pictures you will take.
Please pay attention to Tracker / Ranger instructions on ‘Gorilla Etiquette’ and pay attention to the Ranger at all times.
Please note that if you are not feeling well at the time of your scheduled gorilla trek (i.e. you have a cold, fever, diarrhea, or persistent sore throat) – please cancel as Gorillas are extremely susceptible to human illnesses.
This is the night before your VOLCANO TREK
Please make sure you have the following ready:
Thermal sleeping bag with fleece liner
Long sleeved shirt
Mountain gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking
A visit to a mountain gorilla family is a life changing experience. Mountain gorillas are highly intelligent, good natured, and fascinating to observe. The silverback’s powerful presence is awe-inspiring, yet his calm demeanor clearly earns him the title, 'gentle giant'. People are equally struck by the tenderness and care that mothers show their young. And then, of course, there are the juveniles who spend most of every waking hour at play and never cease to make visitors smile. We believe your time with Virunga’s mountain gorillas will leave you feeling changed for the better. All treks are led by park rangers and usually depart from Bukima patrol post. Treks usually require 1 to 3 hours of hiking in each direction, depending on where the mountain gorillas spent the previous night and the difficulty of the terrain.
There are only just over 1,000 individuals left in the entire world, with about a quarter of these living in Virunga National Park. To safeguard the health of Virunga’s gorillas, visitors will be required to wear surgical masks (provided) when in their presence. If you don’t feel well, have a fever, diarrhea, or persistent sore throat – you will not be permitted to go on the trek. Mountain gorillas are extremely susceptible to human illnesses, so it is imperative their exposure to human respiratory viruses and other common ailments is strictly avoided.
Day 4: Nyiragongo Summit Shelters, Virunga National Park
After breakfast in Kibumba, transfer to the Kibati Ranger Post at 8:15am, which is the departure point for the Nyiragongo volcano trek. On arrival at Kibati, you will receive a briefing, where you will have the opportunity to hire porters.
There will be a cook that accompanies you, who will prepare all your meals and snacks on the trip. It’s about a 4-7 hour hike to the summit, where you will spend the night in the rustic shelters looking at the biggest lava lake on the planet, one of the most spectacular sights in the world. A true once in a lifetime experience!
You may decide to leave some luggage that you do not need on your hike up Nyiragongo at the base offices and pick this up tomorrow. Please make sure your bag is locked and clearly labeled. Do carry your money, passport and other valuables with you.
It is obligatory for every guest to hire a porter. You will need to pay US$24 directly, before you start climbing. Make sure the dollar notes you have are from 2013 or later and are in good condition. Older notes and notes with tears are not accepted. Also try to have the exact money as it can be difficult for the porters to find correct change.
Walking sticks can be bought for a fee of US$5 each and are recommended to help you, particularly by the end of the hike when you are getting tired.
Overnight: Nyiragongo Summit Shelters
There are twelve simple, rustic shelters at the summit of the Nyiragongo. Each of the shelters contain two single mattresses on which visitors can put their sleeping bags on. 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.
Make sure you bring warm clothes as it gets very chilly at night! 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.
From the summit shelters the rim is only a few meters away. The Nyiragongo summit has spectacular views. From the rim, you can peer down into a churning lava lake as well as see and hear hot gases exploding up though a mosaic of molten lava.
Mount Nyiragongo volcano trek
Mount Nyiragongo volcano trek
Nyiragongo is a beautiful stratovolcano that features the world’s largest lava lake with a diameter of 200m. The volcano’s forested lower slopes are home to a variety of animals, including chimpanzees, monkeys, and bushbuck. The impressive crater at the top is between 1 to 1.2 km in diameter and about 900m deep. From the rim, you can peer down into the crater and view the active lava lake.
Nyiragongo has only erupted twice. Once in 1977 and again in 2002. The last eruption in January 2002, had an estimated 20 million cubic meters of lava rushing downhill at speeds of over 60km/hr. It destroyed at least 17% of Goma city and displaced more than 120,000 people.
Treks to the summit of Nyiragongo volcano begin at the Kibati patrol post, which is approximately 25 minutes by car from Goma. The patrol post is approximately a 1-hour drive from the Mikeno Lodge in Rumangabo. Park rangers lead all treks and it is obligatory to hire a porter (unaffiliated with the park). The time required to reach the summit depends on the average fitness of each group, but typically takes between 4 to 7 hours.
Altitude sickness can be an issue for some because the climb starts at 1,989m (6,525 ft.) and ascends to 3,470m (11,382ft). Which means you will hike almost 2,500m (6,000ft.) in a short period of time. Taking your time and proper hydration are the best ways to adapt to the change in altitude. People prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) should speak to their physicians about taking preventative measures before making the climb. It is possible for fitter people to climb up and descend in one day, though we do not recommend this. The vast majority choose to overnight in the basic accommodations available at the top (included in the permit fee) because the best time to view the lava lake is at night.
There are 4 scheduled breaks during the hike, but more can be taken if necessary. It is possible to decide to return back to the base if the hike gets too tough. You can also decide to hike slowly and still reach the summit within 7 or 8 hours, which will aide your acclimatisation.
The hike is divided into the following sections:
Section 1- Roughly 1 hour
A warm-up hike through the forest floor. Here you are mainly covering distance and not gaining much altitude. Beware that it can be a bit slippery when wet.
Section 2: Roughly 1.5 hours
This is where the climbing part starts as the gradient gradually increases. You are mostly walking on an old lava flow, so this is a hard uneven surface and has parts with some loose scree. You need to be careful here as the loose scree can make you slip and one can quite easily sprain their ankle.
Section 3: Roughly 1 hour
The terrain changes as you enter another section of forest. The gradient increases even more, making it a tougher climb, however, there is less scree and more stretches of smooth lava rock to walk on. The rock is not as slippery as it looks!
Section 4: Roughly 30 mins
This is the toughest part and the gradient is about 40 degrees, with mostly hard rocky surfaces and some loose scree. By now you can see the summit of the volcano which helps give you some final motivation to finish the hike.
Day 5: End of Itinerary
Wake up and watch the sunrise; a fantastic experience and photographic opportunity, followed by a simple breakfast on the summit and a last look at the lava lake, start your descend down the mountain around 6:00am.
This will take between 2-4 hrs depending on your group’s level of fitness.
A Virunga National Park car will meet you at the bottom of the volcano, transfer you back to Goma on a 0.5hr drive, where an Inspired Journeys representative will assist you with your border crossing back into Rwanda.
After the border crossing (0.5hr – 1.5hrs), you may choose to stop in Gisenyi for lunch at Calafia Restaurant or in Ruhengeri at the Bamboo Restaurant, where you can visit the Karaoke Museum (Dian Fossey Museum), and then transfer for 3.5hrs back to Kigali International Airport to connect with your international flight back home.
International check-on is 3hrs prior to flight, there is a small cafe in the International Departure lounge with WIFI and a duty free shop.