Today you will track the Virunga Massif’s iconic, critically endangered mountain gorillas from a less touristy destination that has for long slipped under the radar due to the perpetual civil wars in eastern DRC.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park, having been created in 1925. It’s also arguably the continent’s most beautiful and ecologically diverse, playing host to the legendary Rwenzori Mountains, erosion valleys, active volcanoes, forests a savanna, and a variety of flora and fauna.
Your trek will start at the park headquarters in Rumangabo, a captivating journey through forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes, and bamboo.
It can take between two to seven hours to locate the gorillas, depending on how lucky you are. But once they are found, you will only be allowed to be with them for a maximum of one hour to avoid stressing them. Still, coming face-to-face with mankind’s closest relatives is a spellbinding, humbling, and memorable experience – especially if it’s in an off-the-beaten-track destination like the Democratic Republic of Congo.
After gorilla trekking, you’ll go for an encore at the Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage, home to four mountain gorillas that lost their family members to poachers or animal traffickers and were most likely traumatized by the sight of their family members being killed. Here you’ll not be allowed to interact with them – you just watch them from a distance as they play in their forested enclosure.
You’ll later return to your hotel for relaxation, dinner, and overnight ahead of tomorrow’s captivating Mount Nyiragongo hike.
Distance from Goma Virunga National Park: 30minutes
Hotel options: Goma Serena Hotel