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Visit the delights of Congo:

  • Virunga National Park for Nyiragongo Volcano;
  • Kahuzi Biega National Park for ‘Lowland Gorillas’
  • The Lake Kivu and Lake Tshopo
  • Domaine de Chasse Rubi-tele for the prized ‘Okapis’ and other animals in the hunting space of Rubi-tele
  • Yangambi Biosphere of exclusive plants and forests that host about 32,000 tree species
  • Colonial era palace of Belgium King
  • Kisangani with its traditional fish hunting fishermen

Congo is the 2ndbiggest and one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, and Virunga is its jewel, the oldest national park on the continent. Established in 1925 by King Albert I of Belgium, it has the greatest biological diversity of any national park in the world – its 3,000 square miles contain all manner of landscapes and wildlife, including savannah, lakes, mountains, rain­forest, 703 recorded bird species and two seriously active volcanoes.

Mount Nyiragongo is a beautiful active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 m in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. The hiking starts from around 1,900 m elevation. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the DRC, about 20 km north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. The main crater is about 2 km wide and contains a lava lake. The volcano’s forested lower slopes are home to a variety of animals, including chimpanzees, monkeys, and bushbuck. Nyiragongo’s summit rim is largely devoid of vegetation and is frequently dusted with snow.

Not much is known about how long the volcano has been erupting, but since 1882, it has erupted at least 34 times. Nyiragongo's lava flows may race downhill at up to 100 km/h.
It is advisable to bring good hiking shoes and warm clothes.

 

Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival in Kigali - Gisenyi (Rwanda)

Arrival and receiving at Kigali International Airport (mostly in the afternoon or evening). Rwanda visa on arrival at the airport for $30 (The Immigration usually accepts only USD - paid by the visitor). Our vehicle will drive through the swinging thousand hills of Rwanda to Gisenyi border town, adjacent to Goma, DRC border about 150 kms in 3.5 hours. Drive to your ‘Paradis Malahide Resort’, 7 kms from the border to enjoy the peaceful, neat, clean and rejuvenating Rwanda lake beach, along the beautiful Lake Kivu. Dinner and night stay at the Resort. Activities: Boating @ $60 per hour available. (D: Dinner)

Day 2

Gisenyi – Nyiragongo Volcano, Virunga Park

Wake up early in the morning and witness the rising African Sun. Listen to the chirping and singing birds in the distance. Activities like motor boat are available at additional cost of $60 per hour. 07:00 a.m. After breakfast, drive to the border Immigration post of Rwanda for exit. Then walk to the border post of Goma, Congo DRC for affixing DRC visa on your passport. Then, ‘check-in’ at ‘Virunga Park’ office at the Congo Immigration post (by 08:00 a.m. latest). You will receive your Park permits for Nyiragongo trekking and/or Gorilla trekking. These permits must be presented at the time of each trekking. Leave your passport with JT team to obtain Visa extension from the Immigration authorities. (The DRC Tourist visa is valid to visit only Goma and Bukavu. For other parts of the country, a visa extension of minimum $225 is required). Drive to Kibati, the base camp of Nyiragongo volcano. On way, enjoy the beautiful scenery and the view of lava that swept through the town of Goma during the last eruption of 2002. Arrive at Base Camp in around 30 minutes time. On arrival at Kibati, guests will receive a briefing and will have the opportunity to hire porters ($25 each for max 15 kgs - cost included for 1 porter each). The climb up the volcano will take around four to six hours and trekkers will overnight on the summit in wooden cabins. Refreshments will be served en route during the stops. The climbers are advised to bring waterproof bags to keep their stuff safe from rainwater. There is a climbing stick available for $10 at the base camp that is helpful in climbing up and descending, as it is very slippery at some places. Snacks and fruits on way. At the top, live dinner prepared by your cook. (You may leave your undesired baggage in our vehicle to be collected on return.) Nyiragongo trekking Park Permit $300 each. Visa extension $225 each.

Day 3

Nyiragongo volcano, Virunga Park – Bukavu

06:00 a.m. Fresh breakfast prepared by your cook. Then, guests will leave the crater rim and start the descent back to Kibati. Average descent time is four hours. Once at the bottom, after writing your comments, guests will be transported back to Goma. Drive to Goma Volcano Observatory (OVG) to talk to scientists about climate change etc. Then go to Au Bon Pain for your lunch (the best lunch eatery in Goma, where you can meet many foreigners from different NGOs and UN). After lunch, drive to the beautiful Lac Vert (Green Lake) in the mountain crater (about 15 kms from the town). Collect your passports with the visa extension stamp. The Immigration office is open from Monday to Friday). 04:30 p.m. After the visit, drive to Emmanuel Port to take your shared cruise ship to Bukavu (about 100 kms). Dinner on board. Lodging in private VIP room (if available in the particular boat).

Day 4

Kahuzi Biega National Park, Bukavu DRC

In 1970, the Kahuzi Biega National Park (KBNP) was gazette to conserve the Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla Beringei Graueri), the world’s largest gorilla species. It remains the only place in the world where visitors can see these gorillas in the wild. The park covers an area of 6000 sqkm and protects a mountain forest in Eastern Congo, which is the most densely populated region of the country. The park is named after the two spectacular extinct volcanoes which dominate its high altitude sector, Mont Kahuzi (3,308 m) and Mont Biega (2,790 m). The KBNP is divided into two zones that are connected by a narrow corridor: on one side there is mountain forest covering 600 km from an altitude of 1,800 m to 3,300 m and on the other side is a tropical forest between 600 m and 1,200 m. The KBNP is therefore, one of the biggest reserves serving to conserve flora and fauna in Central Africa’s high mountain regions. Also, the Park was designated as a centre of diversity for plants by IUCN and WWF in 1994, with at least 1,178 inventoried species in the highland zone, although the lowland yet remains to be recorded. The Park is one of the rare sites of sub-Saharan Africa where the floral and fauna transition from low to highlands is observable. In effect, it includes all the stages of forest vegetation from 600 m to more than 2,600 m, dense low and middle altitude rainforests to sub-mountain to mountain and bamboo forests. Above 2,600 m at the summit of Mounts Kahuzi and Biega, a sub-alpine vegetation has developed, with heather, and home to the endemic plant Senecio kahuzicus. The Park also contains plant formations, rare worldwide, such as the swamp and bog altitudes and the marshland and riparian forests on hydromorphic ground at all altitudes. (Source UNESCO) List of birds found in Kahuzi Biega Park: http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/kahuzi-biega-national-park-iba-congo-the-democratic-republic-of-the/details 06:00 a.m. Arrival at Emmanuel Port, Bukavu. Drive to Kahuzi Biega National Park. Receiving at the base camp, briefing and a cup of coffee. Then proceed with the park rangers for chutes (waterfalls) and bird watching. We will have plenty of opportunity to talk to tourists and park rangers about climate change etc. 13h30 – Return from trekking and lunch at a nearby restaurant / in packets, as no decent restaurant near around. After lunch, drive to your Orchids Safari Club Hotel. Time to relax. If time permits, visit to Panzi Hospital to meet the Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege, gynecologist (prior appointment is required). Dinner at Lodge Coco restaurant. Return back to Orchids Hotel for night stay. Kahuzi Biega Trekking Permit $35 each (included). Note: For Low price "Lodge Coco", reduce $40 each.

Day 5

Bukavu to Goma, DRC

06:30 a.m. After early breakfast, drive to Ihusi Port to take your shared speedboat for Goma in about 3.5 hours. Arrive in Goma and drive to ‘Lac Kivu Lodge’. Lunch at the Lodge. After lunch, visit the Lac Noir (Black Lake) nearby. Also visit the campsite of Pygmies. Visit the local Virunga Market to feel the real Congo. Then drive back to ‘Nyumbani Lounge’ / ‘Le Chalet’ to have dinner. After dinner return back to Lac Kivu Lodge. Note: In case there is domestic flight available from Goma to Kisangani, drive straight to airport to take the flight.

Day 6

Goma to Kisangani, DRC

Schedule of Flights in January 2020: Goma to Kisangani: a) CAA has flight on 15-Jan 11h45-13h20; and 18-Jan 09h00-11h30 - $180 + $15 b) Congo Airways has 13, 14, 16 & 18 Jan: 08h00-11h05 (via Bunia), 11h20-14h10 (via Isiro), 08h00-12h10 $180 + $15. After breakfast, drive to Goma International Airport to take your flight, as per above schedule to Kisangani. The city of Kisangani (Stanleyville of older times) is the capital of Province of Tshopo (pronounced Chopo). In Kisangani, lodging into ‘Ruwenzori Hotel’. After lunch, drive to River Congo at the Wagenia Falls (Chutes Wagenia / Boyoma). Witness the old traditional way of fishing from the flowing river water. The tourist may also get involved and do the fishing alongside. The fish will then be fried and served fresh and hot to the tourists. Afterward visit the Kisangani Zoo and see the beautiful plage de la Tshopo (River bank with wooden benches to relax and swim – though not in ideal condition). Also have a nice view of the Barrage de la Tshopo where turbines create electricity from hydro-power for the town of Kisangani. A visit to the National Park office in Kisangani will also be arranged.

Day 7

Kisangani to Domaine de Chasse Rubi-tele, DRC

06h00 a.m. - After breakfast, leave for Domaine de Chasse, Rubi tele, before Buta in the Province of Bas-Huele. We will reach there about 15h00. On way, we will have to cross a river at Banalia with a Bac, carrying the vehicles and passengers across the river. If lucky, we will not counter any big ditches that can only be crossed with the help of locals by paying around $15 to $20 per vehicle. The route is magnificent. Road is not at all asphalted, but manageable (Pictures attached). After showing their presence to the ICCN staff at the Domaine de Chasse in Sukisa, they can proceed to the town of Buta and spend the night there at a hotel.

Day 8

Domaine de Chasse trekking, DRC

06h00 - After breakfast, drive back south to Domaine de Chasse in about 1h30 minutes. The clients should bring temporary tents, charcoal, food, water and good trekking shoes for the visit. After registration, enter the forest on foot with the park rangers/guide. Trekking to search different animals, including the prized Okapi in the reserve (that are only claimed to be present in the Domaine). Okapis never move in groups. They are always in solitary living. Even the mother Okapi will be moving with only 1 baby at a time. The trekking may take about 6 hours inside the forest. In the evening the rangers will light bonfire and put up the tents. There are a number of animals in the Domaine de Chasse including: Bonobo, Elephants, Golden cat; Mouse-deer; Congolese Peafowl, Lesula (Old world monkey in the guenon family), Gray Parrot, Hippopotamus, Black and White Colobus Magistrate; and many more (as shown in the attached picture). Lunch and dinner in the Domaine Park. Night stay in tents inside the Park.

Day 9

Return to Buta town, DRC

After breakfast, trekking back to the Entry post. On way, discovering different more animals. Return back to Buta to spend the night (about 1-and-a-half-hour drive). Dinner and night stay at Buta Hotel.

Day 10

Return Buta to Kisangani town, DRC

06h30 - After breakfast, drive back to Kisangani. Reach there by 15h30. Drive to the Ruwenzori Hotel for lodging. Have lunch and then free time to relax. Dinner at ‘Tulipe Lebanese Restaurant’. Night stay at Ruwenzori Hotel.

Day 11

Visit to Yangambi Reserve

During the colonial era, Yangambi was home to the ‘Institut national pour les études agronomiques du Congo belge (INEAC)’. The INEAC experimental fields and laboratories were built along a road parallel to the north bank of the Congo river, and along a road stretching northward from the river for about 25 kilometres . In the 1930s researchers at INEAC found the relationship between the tenera, dura and pisifera oil palms. Oil palms have relatively low yield around Yangambi compared to coastal regions. This appears to be due to the lower night temperatures in the continental interior, which have a mean minimum at Yangambi of around 20 °C. The center developed a number of varieties of soybeans for use in different parts of the country. Early-maturing varieties yielded over 1,200 kg/ha of soybeans. Field trials showed that inoculation could increase yields by 80% to 300%. In the 1950s INEAC researchers discovered the 'Yangambi km 5' (AAA) dessert banana. This variety yields large numbers of small fruit with an excellent taste, is productive even on poor soils and is resistant to black leaf streak disease. There is some evidence that this cultivar may have originated in southern Thailand, introduced to the Kilo-Moto region in northeastern Congo and then brought to Yangambi before World War II. More recently, the Institut Facultaire des Sciences Agronomiques, Yangambi has undertaken studies with the International Food Policy Research Institute of Washington, D.C. to provide data to the government for use in developing an agricultural policy to improve crops yields in the country. A visitor in 1888 described Yangambi as "very prettily situated on a piece of flat ground, backed by a semi-circle of fine wooded hills about four hundred feet high, across which lies the road to Yambuya . The channel in front of Yangambi has very little water. Later on, in the dry season, one can walk right across this channel to the islands in front. 06h00: After early breakfast, drive towards Yangambi in the North West, about 90 kms in around 3.5 hours. On the way, pass through river Lindi on a Bac (ferry) carrying the vehicle to cross the river. Then, further drive about 75 kms to reach the INERA Research Center of Yangambi, facing the River Congo at about 09h30. After visiting the Research Center, visit on foot the residence of Royal Belgium King Leopold II who ruled the colonized Congo with an iron fist. (Just in April 2018, the Ambassador of Belgium, followed by Ambassador of France visited it and stayed inside alone for more than an hour). 11h:00 - After visiting the residence of Belgium King, visit the IFA University, Yangambi about 5 kms from there. Here the plantation of Palm trees, afromosia or afrormosia (African teak), the precious black trunk trees and a few more varieties takes place. In the Yangambi Reserve forest, you will find some amazing trees, one of them with a huge trunk of about 2 meters. It is here in Yangambi that some new varieties of soya-bean were produced. 13h30 – Arrive at the restaurant/guesthouse for lunch, and have some rest. 14h30 – Start back the journey. At the river crossing, the tourist will have to cross on a motorized boat (pirogue), as the bac (ferry) service ends around 16h00. Take another vehicle on the other side of the river and drive back to the hotel Rwenzori. Dinner and night stay at the hotel.

Day 12

Return back home

After breakfast, drive to Bangoka International Airport, Kisangani to take your Ethiopian Airlines flight back home.

Price: Includes Transport, Hotels, Food, Cook, Porter, shelters, sleeping bags, water, boat tickets, Road taxes/toll, guide.
Plus:
DRC Tourist Visa $105                                    Nyiragongo Permit $300 each
DRC Visa extension $225 each                      Domestic ticket Goma – Kisangani $200 each

Medical services, individual insurance, tips, meals outside Virunga, KBNP, Nyungwe National Park and other drinks and other things not listed in the itinerary.

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  • Pricing Name
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  • Pricing Name Single (Private tour)
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    Available Seats: 1

    Adult ( 1 - 1 Pax ) 6,704.00 $ /Person

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    Adult ( 2 - 2 Pax ) 9,359.00 $ /Group

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