DR. Congo Gorilla Trek & Mountain Nyiragongo Hike

Congo gorilla trekking & Nyiragongo hike

The frequently asked question in travel today is “when is the best time to visit Virunga National Park for gorilla trekking/Mount Nyiragongo hiking experiences?” It is one of unavoidable questions but it is better to note that we all have our preferred time or seasons to travel to a given destination. That said, what might be the perfect or ideal time to you, may not be the best time for other people!

Visiting DRC for gorilla trekking and hiking adventures is equally the most thrilling experience that comes once in a life time. The Gorilla trekking in Congo is done in any of the 8 habituated gorilla groups in Virunga National Park, Eastern part of the country. The permits cost $400 per traveler. For hiking experiences in Mount Nyiragongo, visitors pay $300 per visitor. Globally, there are less than 880 mountain gorillas and out of this, 200 of them are protected in the dense jungles of DRC. Gorilla trekking in this country may not be as popular as the rest of the countries like Rwanda and Uganda due to civil war effects which the country is just recovering from.

Whereas catching a glimpse with these tremendous creatures is every ones dream today, it is important for interested travelers to first understand when to travel and enjoy spectacular experiences in DRC wilderness. Although a trip to Virunga National Park for gorilla trekking and Mount Nyiragongo hiking is an all year round experience, travelers should take note of difference between the dry season and wet season if they are to get the most fantastic experiences in life.

There is no exact time or season to visit DRC due to variations in seasons. Around equatorial North side of the Equator, the dry season starts in the months of December up to February. While in the Southern side, the dry season is experienced from June to August and as you get farther to the south still, the area receives some rain showers with warm temperatures especially in the months of May, September and October. For travelers who you get into Equatorial area should note that this region mostly receives rainfall for nearly the entire year and they reduce from January to February and June to July.

Best time to visit?

Understanding the variation in seasons is very important for travelers who wish to travel to Virunga National Park for either gorilla trekking or hiking experiences. Virunga National Park has 2 rainy seasons. The short wet season starts from October to November while the longest wet season commences from March to May. The wet season comes with low season for gorilla trekking or hiking experiences and this translates to low numbers of visitors. When it comes to a low season, it shouldn’t be taken that gorilla trekking or hiking experiences in Virunga National Park is absolutely not there; trekkers and hikers still travel during this season. For gorilla trekking, visitors who come during the low season get chance to benefit from discounted gorilla permits that are sold at $350. The only challenge with this season is that, the gorilla habitat can be wet and muddy making hiking on steep slopes a bit difficult. For mountain gorillas, this is a season when there is much food and forage for them and they can easily be tracked around the bamboo forest of Virunga National Park. Similarly, wet season should not be associated to completely no sun heat. Well, rains are experienced and shortly, the sun can come out in the course of the day and trekkers can still go for gorilla trekking.

However, the largest number of travelers has been sighted traveling to the park from June to September to February. During this season, gorilla habitat receives least amount of rainfall and the steep slopes can be dry for gorilla trekking. In December for instance, Virunga National Park experiences its highest season and it is characterized as the busiest month of the year. At the end of day, we get to know that Virunga National Park, DRC also has 2 dry seasons that are all vital for hikers and trekkers. These two seasons are experienced between January and February, June to September. It is during these months Virunga National Park remains clear and tourists have higher chances of clear views and opportunity to take wonderful photos of mountain gorillas.

It is from this note that tourists are required to carry items best suited for trekking and hiking experiences. Some of the vital items to carry for those who will get into Equatorial regions include, light clothes that match with the environment, sweaters, long sleeved shirts or T-shirts, rain jackets, hiking shoes, walking stick, hat, gardening gloves and others.

In conclusion, there is no exact or best time for Congo gorillas safaris or hiking adventures in Virunga National Park. However, this country can be visited at any time of year but most importantly, the dry season is preferably the best time for you to come and track mountain gorillas or hike through Mount Nyiragongo. This means that you can visit the park from June to September to February. Enjoy your adventure safaris in DRC!

Gorilla Safaris in Uganda & Congo

Uganda is among the best countries that have seen advantage in wildlife conservation. This has been done by getting demarcations from the different regions and turning them as wild reserves and national parks. I planned a safari where I was to spend five days in Uganda. In this wonderful journey, I contacted Nature Adventure Africa Safaris Limited. They sent me an itinerary after a successful engagement and the dialogue.

The activities I was meant to do include, game drives from the largest national park of Murchison Falls and gorilla trekking safaris from the two parks of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks. Gorilla tracking permits costs $600 for us who are foreign non-residents and game driving costs $20 per vehicle during day. My arrival time to Uganda couldn’t allow me to go to the field that day but I was taken to Grand Imperial Hotel where I slept, very early in the morning I was taken to Bwindi impenetrable in the south western Uganda and this took us 8hours on the way.

We staged at Ruhija Gorilla Lodge at Ruhija, and very early in the morning on my next day I was taken to the park at 7am for instructions and at 8am we started our journey in the bamboo trails from where I tracked the Oruzogo gorilla family. This took us 4hours in the forest and good enough we had our packed food and water, the way the young gorillas fall their mothers and also seat down and peep visitors in a manner of welcoming them amazed me and at the same time I became amused. In the evening I was taken to Mgahinga national park which is located on Uganda – Rwanda – Democratic Republic Congo borders and I slept at Kisoro tourist hotel

On the next day I tracked the endangered mountain gorillas again; this is the park where silver back gorillas shine all over the park and the calmness they possess leaves visitors questioning themselves on how these wise gorillas behave like human beings. I took photos which offered to me a wide experience regarding how they spend their time in the forest, I was taken back to Kisoro tourist hotel to rest. My next day I was taken to Murchison Falls National Park and this took us 11hours on the way.

Since we reached while tired, I slept in Kaniyo Pabidi forest at Budongo Eco Lodge a Uganda wildlife convention and on the early in the morning, I did game driving from the different parts within the forest. In the process, I observed and photographed wild games such as African Elephant, Antelopes, Cape Buffaloes, Hippos and crocodiles along the river lines of the Nile, Leopards and lions, Rothschild giraffe just mentioned but a few

This left me satisfied from what I observed from Uganda’s different parks I toured and on the seventh day, Moses took me back to Entebbe to catch up my return to Egypt, what I can only comment about what I experienced in Uganda is that when you travel with a trustable company, nothing can hinder you from enjoying your trip as I enjoyed.

Gorilla Trekking: What Happens on the D-Day in Uganda?

Many travelers wonder about what really happens on the D-day for gorilla tracking. Whether you are in Uganda or Rwanda, the series of events that happen are almost the same.

Gorilla tracking requires early preparation including relaxing and becoming acclimatised to the conditions within the region where you are to take a gorilla safari. The day starts with an early morning breakfast. You are reminded not to over sleep, wake up early to begin preparing for the activity. After bathing, get dressed and have breakfast, this is done very first so that you arrive at the park headquarters in time a meeting point for all gorilla trackers before 7:30am. On most organized gorilla safaris, you will be driven to the park headquarters or the tourism information center where you are to start your trek. Some gorilla families are not easy to find, the trek may go up 6 hours so you are advised to carry packed lunch and bottled water.  At the park headquarters, you will get briefed by the park warden/ senior ranger guide about the all process of gorilla tracking. In Uganda (Bwindi impenetrable national park), you can either track in the Buhoma, Rushaga, Ruhija or in Nkuringa sector of the park.

You will track in one of the above sectors of the park depending on the gorilla family you booked with. Each sector of the gorilla group is interesting to track in; the trek is sometimes challenging one group compared to others. So, before setting to the forest, the guide will give you an introduction regarding the tracking and what to expect during the search of these endangered mountain gorillas.

Only 8 members are allowed to visit the gorillas per gorilla family and each group is accompanied by a well-armed ranger guide from Uganda wildlife authority (UWA). You are allowed to hire a porter in case you need one; they are readily available at the park headquarters at a fee of between $5-10. Hiring a porter is not exploitative; however, it’s just a way how locals benefit from the tourists and the money they get help to pay school fees to their children and also to look after their families, so it’s worth paying for one or more. You can take as many as you want.

Gorilla tracking begins at 8:30am however, this depends on the gorilla family you are assigned too and where they reside. Gorilla tracking time is unpredictable, since gorillas are wild animals, they move freely in their natural habitat as they look for food, the trek may last from 2-8hours searching them and ounce they are met you are only allowed only one hour with them learning their behaviors as well as taking as many photos as possible. The rest of the hours they are left alone except the ranger guides who monitor their movements and behaviors and habituate the gorilla family so that they can become used to human.

During gorilla tracking some level of physical fitness is needed as well as study pair of walking shoes or boots gorilla tracking may sometimes be tough. Sighting mountain gorilla is not a guarantee, however chances of sighting is about 95% and above. After glimpsing, head back to the starting point, here you have a chance to tip your guide and the porter if you are satisfied with the service offered, and then after gets back to the car and driven to your hotel/lodge. Toyotas and Land cruisers or Toyota RAV4 are recommended vehicles to use to navigate to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, some of the roads might be slippery especially in the rain season hence a 4×4 car is very vital.

Top Tourist Places to Visit in DRC Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the countries in Africa that cannot be missed while on tour. Organizing a trip to DRC Congo is so tactical especially when you do not cooperate with the local tour operators. I was so lucky that I partnered with Nature adventure Africa safaris, Uganda based tour company, they arranged me a 5 Day Congo Gorilla & Nyiragongo Hike where I was meant to start my journey from Uganda.

On arrival in Uganda, I was taken to Speke hotel for preparations and tomorrow morning, we started travelling to DR.Congo at around 6:00am and we used Kampala – Kisoro road and we crossed the Cyanika border to Goma. Then the next day we traveled to Mikeno Lodge where we reft to Bukima point for the gorilla trekking tours in Democratic Republic of Congo.

At this moment, I wanted to climb mount Nyiragongo which is remarkable for its lava lake on its summit, we started this activity at exactly 10:00am at Kibati patrol post where we were provided with two rangers for security reasons. This took us 6hrs to the top of the peak, due to the fact that it is a tedious activity and ascending and descending the mountain is somehow difficult. The permit we bought at $300 since we were adults, this price included all the meals plus the accommodation in the shelters that were built on top of the mountain.

This kind of mountain is a true source of wonders because of the exciting sprawling lava and the way how it turns the sky red at night. The physical features in DRC can make a person to ask him self the reason as to why he should not visit her. The following day we descended down the mountain and we straight away went Tchegera Island camp where we relaxed from to reduce on the fatigue and exhaustion we had after climbing Mount Nyiragongo.

The way how some body can enjoy life while at this island is extra ordinary due to the fascinating birds on the shoreline of this lake such as the African Eagle, Herons and Gulls, at this point I was charged only $160 since I was single. Due to the calmness of the Lake, I also got inspired in enjoying the boat transfer for which I was charged $100 only. It was due to my budget constraint that chopped me off from visiting other places such as the Rwenzori mountain which has glacier on its top, the Virunga National park a home for the giant Silver back gorillas and Chimpanzees.

I felt too sad that I didn’t come with my family to witness these rare active volcanoes and the beautiful island for escaping stress at Tchegera,  the next day we went back to Kampala since my departure from Uganda was the following day. I was taken back to Imperior Resort Hotel where I slept and in the morning, Emma took me to Entebbe airport to find my flight. Therefore every person should visit Congo to make a lonely or a family discover of how it is naturally endowed with physical features.

Visit Goma City, Congo Gorilla and Nyiragongo Volcano Trek

Virunga national park is found in the west direction of Goma which is the capital of North Kivu province. Here transport from the city to the park can be arranged by the management of Virunga National park. Tourists travelling from Rwanda have the best option of reaching Goma since here the road infrastructures are well developed. It takes just 3 hours to drive from Kigali to Goma near the border of the Democratic republic of Congo. Goma can also be accessed from south western Uganda at the border crossing area of Bunagana where you can be able to purchase a local visa for crossing.

In addition to seeing the gorillas in Congo, tourists to Virunga National Park take on Mount Nyiragongo Volcano Hike. Gorilla trekking in Congo – Democratic Republic of Congo is so perfect though the country was affected by some wars, so travelers traveling to the country enjoy the safari. The Virunga has greatly number of gorillas in the habitant Virunga mountains and poaching problem is put on reduction. Most of the travel advisory organizations have considered the area safe for those planning to travel to Democratic Republic of Congo.

On the next day, after the early morning breakfast, take a short drive from Goma to Kabati which is the starting point for Nyiragongo climbing with Virunga National Park. You will have a briefing with the park rangers and after start hiking the Nyiragongo volcano and go through the impressive rain forest and continue on the lava eruption fissure and reach the summit.

Have the whole of the evening enjoying the view from the crate and as you watch the lava inside. Mount Nyiragongo, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo rises majestically to an altitude of 3470m overlooking the Virunga National Park and associated Albertine Rift. The climb up Mount Nyiragongo is not technically difficult and reaching the top should not take longer than 5 hours.

For the first two hours of the walk you will traverse a lush pristine forest, where towering trees offer a welcome shelter from the sun until you emerge from the forest onto a small plateau with commanding views that stretch towards the infinite horizon, with Lake Kivu, Bukavu, Rwanda and Burundi at your feet. You are now standing on the lava flow remnants of Mount Nyiragongo 2002 eruption.

From here on, the climbing trail becomes firmer and the forest gives way to several swathes of recovering heath with vegetation dominated by ferns, sedges, heather and everlastings.  Shortly after noon, you will reach Mount Nyiragongo crater and your overnight cabins.

A city tour of Goma visiting Goma caves, Goma is right on the border with Rwanda – with the Rwandan city of Gisenyi on the other side directly adjacent. It is also through this border crossing that Goma is visitable for tourists at all, though not necessarily at all times.

The political and security situation in the Congo, and especially the North Kivu region, remains tense and fragile. But when it can be deemed calm enough, excursions from Rwanda are possible and you can view what remains of the lava flows and some of the ruins of the houses destroyed by them (though much has been cleared up in the meantime).

What you Should Know Before you Hike Mount Nyiragongo

This active volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that last erupted in 2002 and may explode again any time. Producing the video might take a while; however, useful tips should be served fresh. The feeling of standing on the edge of a gigantic volcanic crater and staring at the red-hot bubbling lava lake cannot be captured with a camera. “Unreal”, “stunning, amazing, humbling”, “coolest thing I’ve ever done” are some of the written assessments where the experience scores maximum points. Everything else on this listicle is of secondary importance. If you can do it, definitely do it. It is likely to be among the highlights of your life.

Trust people on the ground. The DRC seems to be too big to manage (it’s about the size of Western Europe) or at least too rich (its mineral deposits are extraordinary) not to tempt selfish foreign players. This is why it is crucial to check the security situation first. Do not rely on travel advisories put together by bureaucrats in capital cities far away. Their top priority is to protect their backs and they will always err on the side of caution.

In short: they would prefer you never go to Congo. Focus instead on what the authorities of Virunga National Park have to say. Their interest – possibly higher than your own government’s – is to make sure nothing happens to you. Any bad news would hit them too hard to be worth the risk. So when they opened Congo Gorilla & Nyiragongo Hiking Tours, they do it because it is safe.

You do not need to be extra fit. The two days of Nyiragongo hiking are demanding. The most tiresome elements are volcanic rocks that wobble under your feet but there is also the sheer distance and altitude factor. The good news is that you will not be in hurry. The trek is timed in a way that allows even a slow person to make it. You might take 7 hours instead of 4 but you will reach the crater and then have a night of rest before the descent. Your legs may hurt for some days afterwards but you will be fine. Hikers who pay for the complete package directly to the park are often surprised that it isn’t as all-inclusive as they thought it would be. Better keep 100 dollars in small denominations in your pocket because you might need to pay your porter ($24), and will likely want to tip him and the cook at the end. It is going to be freezing up there. Bring twice as many layers of clothes as you think you might need, and then some more. Pack some warm gloves for sure. If you arrive to the Congolese border without the yellow booklet, they will charge you $70 to treat you and kindly advise come when you are ready treated because from research this treatment may harm your life as it is said that some times this medicine reacts badly to humans and you may end up loosing your safari. With vaccination or without it. We are conditioned to lose our reservations high in the mountains, and protecting your money and valuables is one such example. Simple huts at the top of Nyiragongo have no locks. What you have might tempt a desperate porter, or even a fellow hiker with strange hobbies.

Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Rwanda

Unlike a safari experience where you are in a jeep and watching many different animals, visiting the mountain gorillas is an active and very singular experience which went beyond even my high expectations, it is simply an extraordinary experience.

I went through Rwanda Gorilla Safaris and they were very professional, attentive and flexible. While I only had a 3 Day gorilla safari in Rwanda offers dozens mountain gorillas in Rwanda as well as into the Democratic Republic of Congo that allows for a night stay near the top of an active Volcano that I wish I had an extra time for. I organized my trip through Jackie who has been with Rwanda Gorilla Safaris for around nine years and organized a flawless visit. My guide was Emma who has been with this tour company for five years and was very knowledgeable and open as I would ask questions not only about Rwanda’s recent history, but about the type of food, agriculture and local traditions. Emma was also very flexible as I had other requests which he was all too happy to arrange at no extra charge and he was also very accommodating when I would ask to stop frequently to take pictures.

The city tour is very basic and probably couldn’t be avoided, but a visit to the Genocide Museum is a must and free of charge. Visiting the mountain gorillas, there is a USD750 permit fee and a one day visit is probably good enough, but you have come this far and I would recommend another day as you will not only be able to compare the different gorilla families, but guarantee you will take the perfect photo/video that you may have missed the day before.

Unless you can guarantee that it will not rain when hiking, here is a list that you should bring waterproof boots, Gators, Higher quality/thicker hiking pants and gloves. There multiple options to see the various gorilla families and each bring its own experience. The park’s main tourist attraction is limited to only 8 tourists per particular gorilla group per day and it generates much revenue for Rwanda Development Board.  . Personally, I enjoyed the Susa group the most as not only was it the largest family, but with more adult males. There was plenty of aggressive play that really made the experience worthwhile.

Part of fun is that the gorillas are very active and do move frequently, so just when your guide says you are close, the gorillas have moved even further up the mountain. Additionally, the guides carry machetes and will constantly be clearing a new path throughout the hike. Once you find the family, there is a limit of one hour but surprisingly, the one hour can go very fast. The guides are very professional and will guarantee you that you will get close enough for an experience you would not forget.

Although Volcanoes National Park is best known for mountain gorilla trekking, there are also other fun activities and attractions that can be enjoyed during your visit to the park like the Golden Monkey tracking, Dian Fossey Hike, bird watching, Bisoke volcanic and mount Karisimbi hike, visiting the twin lakes, and cultural visit at Iby’wacu community.

Is Gorilla Trekking Safaris Safe in DRC Congo?

You never know in advance how far you will have to hike to encounter these rare great apes, who forage up and down the vertiginous, forested slopes of dormant volcanoes searching for their favourite fruits, roots, and leaves according to season. On my just-finished Eco tours in Congo in the Virunga National Park, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, we slogged two and a half hours before making contact. Starting at 9 a.m. from the Bukima Ranger station, we walked across two miles of muddy cow pasture and potato fields to reach the walled park boundary, and then headed uphill on a path covered with slippery tree roots and jagged, exposed lava, in radio contact with trackers who had set out at dawn. The last 40 minutes of the 90-degree incline was the most difficult, heart-bursting terrain. The footing consisted of a spongy layer of rotting leaves and stinging nettles, and I was glad I brought garden gloves; they protected my hands when I had to grab thorny vines to pull myself upward.

Turning a switchback, we suddenly found the Munyaga family, a group of seven human-habituated gorillas, including three enormous silverbacks; they were snacking on a patch of popcorn-white Minopsis blossoms. Here was the first piece of luck. Normally, park rangers enforce a seven-meter separation between visitors and gorillas to minimize the risk of transmission of human disease. (VNP trekkers must also don surgical face masks as soon as the gorillas are located, and the visit is limited to an hour.) But our encounter was so sudden that when we stopped in our tracks the gorillas were mere arms’ lengths away. The rangers made soft grunts, gorilla speak for “we’re happy, everything’s cool,” and had us step back to give them space. Unaware of the seven-meter rule, a youngster named Birari walked up and reached for a ranger’s hand but he withdrew it.

An immense silverback named Mawazo knuckled directly past us, seemingly undistracted by either the rapid-fire click of camera shutters or muffled human gasps at the bulk of his shoulders, glossy fur, and huge sagittal crest. Mawazo means “the Thinker” in the local language. And here was the best luck of all: 18-year-old Mawazo abruptly sat down, scratched his armpit, and looked directly at me, as if he felt self-conscious at all the attention. “What’s the big deal, you never scratch your armpit?” he seemed to be saying in a glance that struck me, in its combination of intimate embarrassment and self-deprecation, as the same slightly exasperated glare of annoyance one might catch…from a spouse! The trick of photographing any animal isn’t necessarily in the resolution of your megapixels or telephoto power of your lens (I used a Canon S95 point and shoot for these shots), but in making eye contact with your subject. In the combination of light, proximity, and serendipity—as well as the serenity of this family and the watchful monitoring of the VNP rangers, who knew how to judge both human and gorilla behaviour.

Virunga Gorilla Trekking Safaris in DRC Congo

Are you planning to enjoy a combined safari to visit the mountain gorillas and hike Nyiragongo Volcano in Congo? Rwanda Gorilla Safaris is offering a chance to enjoy gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park and Hiking Mount Nyiragongo in Virunga National Park Congo. To ensure unforgettable experience, this tour includes a mountain gorilla trekking tours experience in the neighboring Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Coming face to face with mountain gorillas is a hugely primal and humbling experience, if not life-changing.

My safari started from Kigali international Airport and ended at Kigali international Airport. It comprises of safari activities like Gorilla trekking, Goma city Tour and Mountain Nyiragongo Hike in Congo but you can chose to trek mountain gorillas in either Virunga National Park or in Volcanoes National Park.

Upon our arrival at Kigali International Airport, we were picked up by a company representative and whisked off to enjoy some of Kigali’s main attractions. Depending on our arrival time the following sites were incorporated into our visit: The Caplaki Handicrafts Market (the perfect place to browse for Rwandan souvenirs), the Kimironko City Market where all types of colourful and tasty food is sold, or the Gisozi Genocide Memorial & Education Centre, the site that houses over 250 000 victims of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide and stands as a vivid testimony to the courage and reconciliatory efforts of the Rwandan people.

After a light lunch at Kigali restaurant we drove north towards Ruhengeri and on arrival at Volcanoes National Park we settled at mountain gorilla view lodge. Here we had a chance to freshen up, explore your surroundings and later in a delicious home-cooked dinner at the lodge’s restaurant before your gorilla trekking experience the following day.

After breakfast we took a short drive to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters and met with the local rangers led us to mountain gorilla trekking experience. An informative talk on etiquette required for gorilla trekking will precede the actual walk.

Once the gorilla trekking groups are formed you will started our climb towards the different territories and areas in the mountains where our allocated mountain gorilla family resided. Gorilla trekking can take between 2 and 6 hours and you could climb to altitudes in excess of 2 300m.

Although the climb can be physically demanding the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery always makes the trekking a worthwhile experience, once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten. Looking deep into the expressive brown eyes of mountain gorillas is surely the most exciting and poignant wildlife encounter that Africa has to offer and arguably one of the most profound natural history experiences in the world.

When our group returned from the hills, we transferred to the lakeside town of Gisenyi where we checked into the Paradise Malahide Hotel for a delicious lunch, well-earned shower and rest. No activities had been planned for the afternoon, in order to rest before tomorrow’s assault on Mount Nyiragongo, or enjoy a leisurely swim in Lake Kivu.

After an early wake-up call, breakfast and a swift transfer to the Rwanda/Congo border post, we crossed into the Democratic Republic of Congo and drive on towards the Kibati patrol post at the base of Mount Nyiragongo, a mere 50km outside Goma.

Mount Nyiragongo is one of the world’s greatest wonders, an active strato volcano situated in Eastern Congo with elegant views of bubbling lava observed at a safe distance. Our trek to the summit of Nyiragongo volcano began at the Kibati patrol post. The Kibati ranger station, which is the trailhead for Nyiragongo is approximately 30 minutes from Goma by car. Kibati is approximately 45 minutes from Bukima Tented Camp and Mikeno Lodge by car. We were led by park rangers and the time required to reach the summit depends on the average fitness of each group, but typically takes 4 to 6 hours.

After a safety debrief and final check of everyone’s packs and equipment we began the climb towards mount Nyiragongo’s summit. The party was led and escorted by a set of rangers/guides and a small contingent of porters.

For the first two hours of the walk we passed through traverse lush pristine forest, where towering trees offer a welcome shelter from the sun until you emerge from the forest onto a small plateau with commanding views that stretch towards the infinite horizon, with Lake Kivu, Bukavu, Rwanda and Burundi at your feet. You are now standing on the lava flow remnants of Mount Nyiragongo’s 2002 eruption. Shortly after noon, we reached Mount Nyiragongo’s crater and our overnight cabins.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent exploring the craters edge and soaking in the surrounding views and Mount Nyiragongo’s’ bewitching lava cauldron. Fortunately your guides know exactly how to reach the best observation and photogenic spots safely. When everyone had enough, we returned to the camp to settle into our cabins, to rest and enjoy an early supper.

At 6:00pm we returned to a designated spot at the craters edge to gaze and appreciate again Mount Nyiragongo’s molten lava lake. In the dark of night one is able to appreciate better the dark crusty surface of lava, spliced and splitting into ever changing plates. As the plates separate, bright orange lava fill the cracks and a fantastic spider-web pattern emerges. Sometimes, fountains appear throughout the crust like a collection of campfires, creating yet another fascinating show.

As we returned to our cabins on Mount Nyiragongo, the lights of Goma glow below, a reminder of what’s in store for the following day.

After a rather early cup of tea/coffee, we summoned back to the crater’s rim at dawn for one last peek. Wrapped in warm clothing we greet the new day as the intense red and yellow glow of the lava below mixes with a backdrop of blue and indigo skies.

After breakfast, the party will commence its descent from to Kibati. The descent generally takes 2-3 hours. Back at Kibati, our transport will be waiting to take us back to Goma for lunch and a short tour of the town before crossing back into Rwanda to check into a Gisenyi hotel, for a well-deserved shower, rest and scrumptious farewell dinner.

Book Your Photography Tours Visiting Primates in Africa

With 4×4 Car Hire Uganda, cars fitted for that purpose are availed to you to solve and manage all jungles in the field as you enjoy the unlimited primate photography. We provide you with very reliable 4Wheel dive, Rav4 cars with sliding roof for game viewing and photographing and Toyota Land cruiser with pop-up roof.

The human-like behaviours, social interactions and playful antics of primates capture the hearts of people around the world. The appeal of these sapiens cousins is one of the reasons why like-minded travelers choose an unscripted nature-centric tour.  Photo Primate Safaris offered by Self Drive Uganda celebrates these prized and threatened creatures. Our photo primate safaris are led by experienced guides with an intimate knowledge of ape habitats and behaviours.

We can coordinate your schedule to highlight primates, or enhance your existing plans if desired! With less than 1000 remaining in the wild, mountain gorillas are one of the world’s greatest heart breaking wildlife stories. The animals are cherished for their peaceful demean or, gentle appearance and deep brown eyes. Looking directly at a mountain gorilla is ill-advised, though; viewing them at a very close proximity gives us a chance to almost peer into their souls.

Uganda is one of three places in Africa where you can see these majestic animals and take all possible shoots of your choice. A powerful silver back male typically protects his family so to avoid clashing with him, you have to respect while shooting. Approximately half of the mountain gorilla population now lives in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trekking in the park is not for the faint hearted; it is strenuous, very wild, authentic and unspoiled, so you truly feel a connection to the primate host living in an unspoiled jungle wilderness.

Another incredible African primate destination for mountain gorillas is in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans), research home of the late Dian Fossey. Here, a ranger guide skillfully tracks the gorillas, taking you through idyllic bamboo stands and dense forest in a less demanding trek. You find yourself smiling quietly, keeping a respectful distance, as the infant gorillas taunt the silver back and try to engage their mothers.

Virunga National Park in Congo, Africa’s oldest national park, is another distinct wilderness to see its endangered mountain gorillas and also chimps at Tongo Forest Hills; though, tourist facilities, infrastructure and security are ironically still in its infancy. Many more primates attract shoots in Africa such as golden monkeys, chimpanzees, to mention but a few giving a variety for the safari. You book your own drive photo primate safari, great chances to have it your own way making it unforgettable and memorable.