Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the lucky three countries in Africa and the whole world to protect the lives of the rare endangered Mountain gorillas. Democratic Republic of Congo is found in the central parts of Africa but borders Rwanda and Uganda in the Eastern parts of Africa of which there are the only three countries keeping the world’s rare endangered Mountain gorillas (Congo, Uganda and Rwanda). The gorilla trekking tours in Congo is only done in Virunga national park of which it is the oldest national park in Africa and it was gazzated in 1925, it is also a UNESCO-designated world heritage site since 1979.
Gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo is quite very cheap compared to that in the other two countries (Rwanda and Uganda) because a gorilla permit in Congo costs US$ 400. This makes it a suitable park for gorilla trekking regardless of any one’s financial status because it is very cheap and affordable in that the permit can also be sold at US$ 200 during the low seasons of April to May and mid October to mid November thus making it the cheapest gorilla trekking park.
There are good tour companies like the Nature Adventure Africa Safari Limited which are put in place to offer the best services to the gorilla trekkers who would wish to go trekking in Virunga national park. The tour company will do all your bookings for the tour including the purchase of the gorilla permit on your behalf however advance booking with any tour company is always essential due to the many clients who are always flying to Congo for gorilla trekking and other activities.
Luxury vehicles like V8, VX Land cruisers and many others will be offered to you if you deal with the best African companies like the Nature Adventure Africa Safari Limited such that on your arrival in Congo, you will just need to clear all the prices for your tour at the airport and then rush to Virunga national park though your first day of reaching Virunga national park will be very difficult for you to track the gorillas hence you will have some short detours nearby the Park and then sleep in a luxury lodge which will be booked for you till the next day.
Some of the best luxury lodges and exclusive camps within Virunga national park include; Mikeno lodge, Bukima tented camp, Lulimbi tented camp, Tchegera Island tented camp and Nyiragongo volcano summit shelters which is very ideal for Nyiragongo volcano hikers.
Gorilla trekking in Virunga starts with the pre – gorilla briefings which begin at 07:30am and then after being briefed, you will go for the tracking of Mountain gorillas which begin at 08:30am. During the trekking, you will always be accompanied by the well trained and professional Park rangers/guides who will help you identify the gorillas easily thus having a luxury tracking therefore you don’t need to worry where to start tracking the gorillas in such a huge forest of Virunga because there are well trained Park guides who will help you through this.
While in Virunga national park trekking, be aware of interacting with 6 gorilla families which exist in the Park and whenever you find the gorillas, you are always emphasized to keep a distance of at least 8 meters while viewing them and staying with them for only 1 hour.
Other rules and regulations you have to consider while in Virunga for gorilla trekking are; do not use flashlight cameras, do not smoke or even eating from the Park, be calm and maintain maximum silence while tracking the gorillas, do not litter in the Park, a group of only 8 individuals per day are allowed to go trekking, only individuals above 15 years of age are allowed to go for the trek, you are also emphasized to ensure that you are in the best conditions before you go for the trek because the activity is so challenging.
Though the Park is most famous for being a haven to over 200 Mountain gorilla individuals, never expect to only see those endangered Mountain gorillas because you will have an opportunity of viewing over 175 bird species which exist in the Park and other wildlife such as elephants, chimpanzees, low land gorillas, Okapi, giraffes, buffaloes and many others plus having a chance of interacting with the Bambuti pygmy people and waterfalls and caves which also make your visit to Virunga a memorable one.
After the gorilla trekking in the Park, you can also go on to hike the Nyiragongo volcano and if you had slept in Mikeno lodge, it will require you an hour to reach the volcano while driving. Any tourist who visits Virunga national park without hiking the Nyiragongo volcano, your tour is surely incomplete because you will have left behind something very interesting and impressive like the lake pool which exists at the climax of the volcano with sparkles of fire and smoke.
The hiking of this volcano takes two days of which the first day will be very difficult for you to reach the climax of the volcano but you can later make it within less than 7 hours. On reaching the summit of the volcano, you will never even think of the warm continent we are in because you will get that coldness you have never dreamed of. Nyiragongo volcano summit shelter is the best place for the hikers before they reach the summit of the volcano and from the camp you will enjoy the display of the whole Congo into your eyes.
However you are advised to move with heavy clothes like coats, sweaters, rain coats plus you should also carry enough snacks and enough water for drinking during the hike. Other materials required for the hiking is the hiking wooden stick which is sold at US$ 5 and this stick will help you in balancing your body thus the whole body will get involved in the hiking of the volcano hence not getting too much fatigue as such.
You can also pay for the cook and you hike together with him/her such that you get good meals. Before hiking, you will first be briefed at Nyiragongo Volcano’s headquarters offices and you will be given guides to help and protect you.
You will enjoy many things when you have accessed the summit of Nyiragongo volcano and you will grab a great experience which will be memorable in your life. The little Lake which is found at the summit of the volcano will look as if it is photo shopping but the truth will later be realized by yourself because you will really enjoy the way this Lake burns as if it is petrol yet not.
This is something amazing that it will never leave you the same instead you will remain wondering and looking surprised. Due to the fact that the summit is too photogenic, you will be forced to take many photos of it therefore you are always emphasized to move with good cameras whenever you are going for gorilla trekking in Virunga national park and Nyiragongo hiking.
Hiking of this volcano is quite challenging therefore you have to ensure that you are physically fit before you hike and you have to be calm and relaxed in mind plus believing in yourself that you can make it to the summit instead of pressurizing yourself which at the end you will make it to the climax of the volcano and enjoy lots of things.
After enjoying the amazing and interesting things you will have seen there, you will then descend down and this does not take much time like that required in hiking. Descending down is not so challenging and it will take you between one to two hours when you are down and then proceed with your next destinations depending on your own wishes and desires in Congo.