Luxury Gorilla Safari Lodges in DR Congo

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A trip to Virunga affords the traveler the opportunity to see some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife, in a stunning landscape, seen by relatively few people.

With some wonderful accommodations available, providing luxurious bases and organized excursions, the time to visit this gem of a national park is now.

Visit Virunga National Park for gorilla trekking tours. It offers stays at Mikeno Lodge, Bukima Tented Camp, Tchegera Island Camp, Lulimbi Tented Camp.

Mikeno Lodge

Mikeno Lodge is a luxurious lodge set into a forested hillside at Virunga National Park Headquarters and the perfect base for visiting mountain gorilla safaris in Congo or climbing a volcano.

The Mikeno Lodge is a 90 minute drive from Goma and offers large bungalows and a good restaurant. The lodge and restaurant are located within a forest and offer beautiful views of the rift valley and Nyiragongo and Mikeno volcanoes.

Nature walks and visits to local places of interest can be arranged. There is an abundance of bird life, as well as resident blue monkeys, Colobus monkeys, and baboons. Chimpanzees are also frequent visitors to the area.

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 exceptional experience among the wildlife and beauty of Virunga National Park.

Accommodation and facilities

Mikeno Lodge offers twelve unique bungalows; each have stunning views into the surrounding forest. Fashioned with lava stone, mahogany and thatch the bungalows are nestled amidst the thick forest greenery and reaching trees.

Comprised of a comfortable lounging area and fireplace to ward off the crisp evening air, the spacious bungalows enjoy en-suite bathrooms with stone carved baths and curved stone showers.

The decor merges Congolese ethnicity and classic simplicity with patterned rugs, soft tones and sleek wooden furniture; whilst the private deck allows guests to enjoy the performance of the Blue and Colobus monkeys in the forest. Enjoyed beneath the thatched Boma at the main lodge, dining is delicious and flavour some.

Mikeno lodge costs per day include accommodation prices for breakfast,
lunch, dinner, and 16% Gov’t VAT but the price excludes transportation costs.

Single person USD 316

Double occupancy USD 450

Bukima Tented Camp

Just outside the boundaries of Virunga National Park lays the Bukima Tented Camp, one of the main starting points in Virunga mountain gorilla treks. The camp was originally built for researchers, but is now used primarily by trekkers.

As the name suggests, overnight guests at Bukima sleep in platform tents, but by camping standards they are quite plush. Each tent features an adjoining bathroom with running water and a nicely appointed bed and dresser for clothes.

The views from the tent sites or anywhere in camp for that matter – are spectacular. To the south, the view is dominated by Mt. Mikeno, whose summit towers over the gorilla sector. Across the valley is Nyiragongo volcano, whose lava lake colours the night sky with a red glow.

Prices for the camp include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Alcoholic beverages are available for an additional charge. Of the six tents, four feature double beds and two are outfitted with twin beds.

Bukima Tented Camp cost per day and accommodation prices include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 16% Gov’t VAT but the excludes transportation costs

Single: $316

Double occupancy: $450

Tchegera Island Camp

Tchegera Island Camp is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of Goma or to relax after climbing Nyiragongo volcano.

Situated off the northern shore of Lake Kivu, Tchegera camp offers spectacular views of the lake and four volcanoes. On clear nights, Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes add to the drama by turning the night sky red with their glowing lava.

There is also an abundance of bird life on the island, including African eagles, cormorants, herons and gulls.

Whether one chooses to relax on the beach or explore other parts of the island in a sea kayak or by paddle board, Tchegera is the perfect place for rest and relaxation.

Tchegera Island Tented Camp

Permit, round trip ground/boat transport from Goma: $100 per person

Single with all meals: $160 per night, per person

Double with all meals: $216 per night, per person

Double w/ twin beds with all meals: $216 per night, per person

Accommodation prices include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 16% Gov’t VAT

Lulimbi Tented Camp

Lulimbi is located in the heart of Virunga and is home to a large percentage of the park’s elephants and hippos. Buffalo, warthogs, giant forest hogs, Topi, Ugandan Kob, crocodiles, and a wide variety of bird life also abound.

Lulimbi lies in the Ishasha Valley, on the eastern edge of the park’s Central Sector. In striking contrast with the volcanoes and gorillas of the south, this beautiful area is dominated by savannah plains, through which the Ishasha River cuts its way.

The Lulimbi Tented Camp is nestled into the shoreline of the Ishasha River, which winds through Virunga’s vast savannah plains.

Lulimbi is the first such camp in this area of the park and was created for two main reasons: to showcase Virunga’s spectacular savannah wildlife and to give visitors the chance to actively participate in conservation.

The nature experience in Lulimbi starts at the steps of one’s tent. Hippos wallow away their days in the Ishasha River, which is just meters away.

Nearby, elephants can be seen wandering slowly through the bush. This gorgeous nature scene is closely watched by Virunga’s rangers, who welcome the participation of guests on their monitoring patrols.

Under the guidance of the rangers, guest will participate in wildlife counts, visual health checks of the various species, and learn about the history of the park and the challenges the future presents.

The camp is made up of eight canvas tents, each with running water, flush toilets and solar showers. Although relatively simple, these are comfortable and well equipped.

The tents all face the Ishasha River, with private verandas perfectly positioned to watch a nearby pod of hippos.

The Lulimbi Tented Camp consists of 10 private tents: 4 with two twin beds, 4 with double beds, and 2 set up with three twin beds. Each tent features an en suite bathroom with hot showers and other standard amenities.

The dining tent features a full restaurant and bar service. After meals, guest can retire to the well-appointed lounge tent. The lounge tent features a full bar and is the perfect place to relax and take in the natural world just outside the netting.

While at Lulimbi Tented Camp, visitors can take part in the following activities: elephant monitoring with rangers, chimpanzee habituation walks, birding, game drives, Lake Edward boat excursions, tilapia fishing, visits to the Nyakakoma fishing village.

Prices for the camp include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Alcoholic beverages are available for an additional charge. Of the six tents, four feature double beds and two are outfitted with twin beds.

Lulimbi Tented Camp cost per day

Single occupancy: $340

Double occupancy: $450

Triple occupancy: $760

A $40 permit must also be purchased upon arrival

Accommodation prices include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 16% Gov’t VAT

Passion Gorilla Photo Safaris in Africa

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Are you passionate about wildlife in Africa? If you enjoy travel, wildlife and photography, this might be the career for you.

As the name implies, wildlife photographers capture photographs and videos of wild animals. Mountain gorilla trekking safaris has become sought after among adventurers and passionate wildlife travelers.

Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC offer not only safe and secure gorilla trekking, but also play host to a variety of other indigenous wildlife encounters and attractions, such as chimpanzee and golden monkey tracking, birding, and unique fauna and flora viewing.  Hike Nyiragongo, DRC’s active volcano or scale the Mountains of the Moon.

Passion gorilla photo safari includes a thrilling visit with the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda; Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park, multiple game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park with its wide array of wildlife, including the famous tree climbing lions, and a visit to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on beautiful Lake Victoria.

This gorilla photo safari to Uganda, staying in three different locations and visiting its most beautiful and wildlife-rich parks experiencing the country’s wonderful wildlife, lush scenery and thronging bird life, with the highlight being the chance to track chimpanzees and the country’s famous mountain gorillas.

The first destination on this gorilla photo safari trip is the beautiful Kibale Forest. The drive here is fabulous, passing through tea plantations and the lush green countryside which characterizes much of Uganda.

Once here, you’ll have the chance to track chimps, accompanied by an experienced ranger, as well as spotting the 12 other primate species that live here, incredible bird life and possibly even a herd of forest dwelling elephants. You can have your dinner and overnight stay at Kibale Forest Camp.

Chimpanzee Tracking and swamp walk in Bigodi Forest boasts the highest number of primate species in the world, including our delightful cousins, the chimpanzees.

Today, in Uganda, there are approximately 5,000 chimpanzees left in the wild, which makes it a perfect place to spot them.

The experienced ranger takes you chimp tracking in the morning or afternoon; in the meantime, showing you the many monkey species that live in this tropical forest.

A wonderful jungle trip is the result, finishing in an hour of eye to eye contact with the chimps. Your swamp walk between 2-3 hours will take you through grassland, small communities and some beautiful scenery, where the locals are likely to greet you with enthusiastic waves.

It is usual to spot 3 or 4 different primate species during this walk, though the highlight is catching a glimpse of the Great Blue Turaco.

We transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park a wildlife biodiversity and the most astonishing with 95 types of mammals and 612 different birds.

The Kazinga Channel alone is said to contain the world’s largest concentration of hippos. Other wildlife includes lion, warthogs, buffalo, rare aquatic sitatunga antelope, giant forest hog, Uganda Kob, Topi, water buck, elephant and leopard.

You should request a wake up at 5.30-6.00 am for the early morning game drive which is usually the most rewarding. Tea and coffee in the Lodge’s reception area is served to refresh you before you depart. The dinner and overnight can be spent at Mweya Safari Lodge.

Wildlife on the North Kazinga plains closest to the Lodge includes elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, water buck, bush buck and warthog.

Another common-but unexpected-sighting in this area is the Giant Forest Hog, Africa’s largest pig, which is usually associated with dense forests rather than semi-open thickets. The 36km Kazinga Channel connects two Rift Valley lakes: Edward and George.

These are named after Queen Victoria’s son and heir, Edward VII and his own successor, George. The Sunbird seats ten passengers in comfort or for the ultimate in luxury enjoy refreshments and canopies aboard the Kingfisher, which seats twelve. Both launches have experienced guides and crew, with all the necessary safety equipment.

Today you can spend the day enjoying game drives in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park spreads over 1,978 sq. km in the western arm of the Great Rift Valley and is home to a wide variety of wildlife including elephants, leopard, lions, hippos, buffalo, Uganda Kob, baboon, and many species of birds.

With both a Riverine and savannah habitat, the park includes the southern Ishasha area with the massive Maramagambo, one of the largest surviving natural forests in Uganda. Overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Camp

The morning leads us out of Queen Elizabeth (Ishasha) heading to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park contains almost one half of the world’s population of the endangered Mountain Gorilla, making it an extremely valuable conservation site.

Bwindi is also home to several endangered bird species with very limited ranges, and acts as an important catchment area for many rivers, supplying water for agriculture in the surrounding region. Dinner and overnight can be spent at Buhoma Lodge.

Following breakfast at the lodge, you travel to park Headquarters to meet your guides for the day’s activity and begin your gorilla tracking experience in the Bwindi forest.

Experienced guides and trackers will accompany your party on an early morning trek into the dense rain forest on the mountain slopes.

The journey, through dense foliage and up steep climbs, is abundantly rewarded with the lifetime experience of viewing mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

You will have an opportunity to be within meters of these magnificent apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day to-day activities.

Mountain gorillas are extremely rare with only an estimated 850 remaining in the wild. This is an experience you won’t soon forget! Following the trek, return to your accommodation and, if time allows, take a guided afternoon forest or community walk.

Please note: tracking may be fairly strenuous with treks up to 8hours, at high altitudes, not uncommon. Also, mountain gorillas are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, viewing success rates are over 90%.

In the evening, have a cultural walk and interact with the local people. Participate in captivating traditional performances presented by Women’s groups or orphan children groups.

Note that the fees you pay for these performances go directly to improve the welfare of families around the park. Overnight: Buhoma Lodge for your dinner and overnight.

After breakfast, you will drive back to Entebbe with a lunch stop at the Equator crossing. Proceed to Entebbe at Karibu Guest House.

A visit to the Island of the chimpanzees, in the morning you will depart from Entebbe for a close encounter with our relatives.

After a pleasant boat ride you will reach Ngamba Island, where you will be directed to the visitors centre to learn more about the chimps and their lifestyle.

You will be able to view and photograph these fascinating apes in their natural environment from only a few metres away. In the afternoon you will take a boat ride back to Entebbe Airport for your flight back home.

How Best Can I Plan Congo Gorilla Safari?

Categories Congo SafarisPosted on

Within the Democratic Republic of Congo, the mountain gorillas are found in Virunga National Park which is also a UNESCO Heritage site.

This park is located in the eastern side of democratic Republic of Congo and boarders both Uganda and Rwanda. The park covers an area of 7800 km2 and is home to over 200 gorilla individuals mostly situated in the southern part of the park.

Those planning for mountain gorilla trekking tours in Virunga National Park, you are advised to book with one of the best local tour operators and the Congo gorilla permits costs ($400) per person.

The mountain gorillas in Virunga national park can be visited anytime during the year, however some paths are hard to navigate during the wet seasons of (May/April and November & October), in this season, Congo gorilla trekking permits are reduced to ($200) per person.

Other months are okay for gorilla trekking since it’s a dry season. Mountain gorillas can also be found in Uganda where a gorilla permit is $600 in high season and $600 in low season. For Rwanda, the gorilla permit is sold at $ 1500 for both high season and Low season.

A yellow fever vaccination is a requirement because you won’t be allowed into the country minus proof of the inoculation. Hepatitis A, typhoid, meningitis and rabies injections not forgetting the anti-malarial are also recommended.

An application for a visa required to enter the D.R.C should have been submitted in advance. This costs US$100.

The exact gear needed while in the jungle needs to be prepared. The trek can be strenuous and equipment like the strong trekking shoes, woolly and or the moisture-impermeable socks, comfy mountaineering clothes, rainwater gear, a primary support kit and a light weight backpack with plenty of room for food and drink.

A waterproof camera is also very much suggested as nothing wrecks a high-quality camera like the tropical forest’s heavy shower.

Guests to Virunga National Park more often than not soar to Kigali International landing field and catch the four hour long drive to the border crossing at Goma/Gisenyi.

Intercontinental flights regularly arrive late in the afternoons and or evenings. For these arrivals, we propose you spend the night in Kigali as the border does not work 24/7.

You can then head off to Goma the next morning. The majority of the guests that travel to the park are either coming from Rwanda or Uganda.

The park can be entered through different routes basing on the visitor’s interest though the most frequently used means is this road means of transport that will require a 4WD fleet to make possible for you take pleasure in the gorilla tracking adventure.

Also plan for the kind of accommodation you would wish to take on. These are categorized into luxury, moderate and budget so the choice is yours.

We are ready to share with you all these lodges and camps and you choose your preferred one. Plan with us and you get guided on the best safari to Congo gorillas.