RDC

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo), sometimes referred to as DR Congo, DRC, Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Zaire, or RDC, is a country located in the African Great Lakes region of Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 75 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country.
It is bordered by the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Republic of the Congo, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east.
The country has access to the ocean through a 40-kilometre (25 mi) stretch of Atlantic coastline at Muanda and the roughly 9 km wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea. It has the second-highest total Christian population in Africa.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was formerly known as, in chronological order, Congo Free State, Belgian Congo,Republic of the Congo, and Zaïre. Although located in the Central African UN sub region, the nation is also economically and regionally affiliated with Southern Africa as a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The name “Democratic Republic of the Congo” was the official name of the country from 1964–71. In 1992, the Sovereign National Conference voted to change to name from “Zaire”, but it was never put into practice. It was restored by former president Laurent Kabila following the fall of long time dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
The rainforests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo contain great biodiversity, including many rare and endemic species, such as the common chimpanzee and the bonobo, the African forest elephant, mountain gorilla, okapi and white rhino. Five of the country’s national parks are listed as World Heritage Sites: the Garumba, Kahuzi-Biega, Salonga and Virunga National Parks, and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.

DRC NATIONAL PARKS

   VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARKS

GORILLES-RWANDAThe Virunga National Park (French: Parc National des Virunga), formerly named Albert National Park, is a 7,800-square-kilometre (3,000 sq mi) National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
The park was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site since 1979. In recent years poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population. The park is managed by the Congolese National Park Authorities, the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and its partner the Africa Conservation Fund (UK).

The park is known for its exceptional (bio)diversity, containing more bird, mammal and reptile species than any protected area on the African continent. Although mountain gorillas are now extremely rare and listed as one of the most critically endangered species, successful conservation work has helped to secure the remaining populations. Their populations actually increased during the years of political upheaval in the region (1994–2004), and have continued to do so even throughout the difficult period of 2007-2008. The 2010 Mountain Gorilla census has indicated that the conservation efforts of Virunga have been very successful regarding the Gorilla population. Both savannah and forest elephants as well as chimpanzees and low land gorillas can still be found in Virunga, along with Okapi, giraffes,buffaloes and many endemic birds. The neighboring Mount Hoyo area was managed with the park and is home to a population of Bambuti(Pygmy people), caves and waterfalls.
However , over the last four years the park has seen remarkable regeneration, with heavy investment in tourism development, social infrastructure as well as safety. Currently over 3000 tourists a year visit the southern sector of Virunga National Park to admire the gorillas as well as the lava lake of the Nyiragongo Volcano.

KAHUZI BIEGA NATIONAL PARK

gor kahuziThe Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a protected area near Bukavu town in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It is situated near the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. Established in 1970, the park is named after two dormant volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega, which are within its limits.

With an area of 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi), Kahuzi-Biega is one of the biggest national parks in the country.

Set in both mountainous and lowland terrain, it is one of the last refuges of the rare species of Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), an endangered category under the IUCN Red List.

The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1980 for its unique biodiversity of rainforest habitat and its eastern lowland gorillas.

The park lies west of the Bakavu town in South Kivu Province, covering an area of 6000 km2. A small part of the park is inMitumba Mountain range of the Albertine Rift in the Great Rift Valley, and the larger part is in lowland terrain.

 A corridor of 7.4 kilometres (4.6 mi) width joins the mountainous and lowland terrain. The eastern part of the park is the smaller mountainous region measuring 600 square kilometres (230 sq mi); the larger part measures 5,400 square kilometres (2,100 sq mi) and consists mainly of lowland stretching from Bukavu to Kisangani, drained by the Luka and Lugulu rivers which flow into theLualaba River.

Two dormant volcanoes are set within the park’s limits and lend their names to it: Kahuzi (3,308 metres (10,853 ft)) and Biéga (2,790 metres (9,150 ft)

OKAPI WILDLIFE RESERVE

okapi rdcThe Okapi Wildlife Reserve is a World Heritage Site in the Ituri Forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the borders with Sudan and Uganda. At approximately 14,000 km², it covers approximately one fifth of the area of the forest.
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve was created with the help of the Okapi Conservation Project in 1992. The project continues to support the reserve by training and equipping wildlife guards and by providing assistance to improve the lives of neighboring communities. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve was added to the list of world heritage sites in danger in 1997. The main threats to the reserve are deforestation, primarily caused by slash and burn agriculture, and commercial hunting for the sale of bush meat.Gold mining has also been problematic to the Reserve. As of 2005, the fighting in the eastern part of the country moved within the boundaries of the Reserve, causing its staff to flee or be evacuated. While the native Mbuti and Bantu peoples traditionally respect the forest and its wildlife, immigrants into the area do not feel the same connection to the land. Lack of funding due to the poor political and economic conditions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has also been problematic. It is hoped that eco-tourism to the area can be developed, leading to both increased funding and improved public awareness.
The Nepoko, Ituri and Epulu rivers flow through the reserve. The imposing Mbiya Mountain overlooks the Epulu village. The reserve is home to about 5,000 okapi, 4,000 elephants, 2,000 leopards, chimpanzees and crocodiles. Other Ituri rain forest animals include forest buffalo, water chevrotain, and forest elephants. The reserve has over 300 species of bird, and is one of the most important sites for bird conservation in mainland Africa. Nomadic Mbuti pygmies and indigenous Bantu farmers also live within the reserve.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has several national park, the listed above are the most visited and easily accessed by tourists.

LOLA YA BONOBO

Lola ya Bonobo means ‘paradise for bonobos’ in Lingala, the main language of Kinshasa. In 2012, Lola ya Bonobo was home to 60 bonobos who live in 30 hectares of primary forest.
Typically, bonobos arrive as young infants. The bushmeat trade in Congo sees hundreds of bonobos killed each year for meat and the infants are sold as pets. When confiscated, these infant bonobos are taken to Lola ya Bonobo. They begin life at the sanctuary with close care from a substitute human mother, but are usually quickly ready to be integrated into a peer group, and shortly afterwards into one of the large mixed-age social groups.
Although the bonobos are captive, they live in an environment similar to the wild. They can forage among dozens of edible plants and fruiting trees, compete for mating opportunities, and learn to avoid dangers such as stepping on venomous snakes just as they would in the wild. As a result, the bonobos at Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary, living in their forested microcosm, show all the naturally occurring behaviors observed in wild bonobos (in fact, they actually display some behaviors such as tool use that have not been observed in the wild).

Because of the living conditions provided, the sanctuary can play a critical role by demonstrating the level of humane treatment that captive apes deserve. The sanctuary also protects wild bonobos because it allows for the enforcement of domestic and international conservation laws aimed at preventing the trade in live bonobos. The sanctuary also acts as a mouthpiece for conservation efforts in DRC by educating thousands of Congolese visitors each year about the value of Congo’s natural history, in particular the bonobo – their unique Congolese inheritance

3 days Gorilla Hiking

Day 1

meet in town at your hotel or border, transfer to your hotel if you are not in town, afternoon, city tour.
Overnight: IHUSI HOTEL (BD) or CENTRE D’ACCUEIL CARITAS (BD) or Equivalent

Day 2

– early we make our way into the Virunga National Park. Tracking the mountain gorillas through the unique vegetation can take several hours of challenging walking in wet and muddy conditions. To see a gorilla, the trek will have been worth the hardship.

3 days volcano hiking plus Mountain Gorilla


Day 1-

Meet in the morning on arrival at the airport, coming  on a regular flight. After breakfast in a hotel in town, we follow the road as it climbs to the base of the majestic volcanoes, with spectacular views across the five peaks. Stop at some market places during your drive toward Goma.
Overnight: IHUSI HOTEL (BD) or CENTRE D’ACCUEIL CARITAS (BD)

Day 2 –

early in the morning after your breakfast, we follow the road to the volcanoe hiking as you will enjoy through your way the beauty of the city.

Day 3 –

early in the morning, we make our way into the Virunga National Park. Tracking the mountain gorillas through the unique vegetation can take several hours of challenging walking in wet and muddy conditions. To see a gorilla, the trek will have been worth the hardship.


After, your tracking, we cross the border to Rwanda and proceed to Kigali, for your flight in the evening.

NYIRAGONGO 2 DAYS

D1.Pick up at the border or at your hotel in Goma then drive to volcano hiking point in Kibati

Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3470 m (11382 ft) in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, about 20 km (12 mi) north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. The main crater is about two kilometres wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls – one at about 3,175 metres (10,417 ft) and a lower one at about 2,975 m (9,760 ft). Nyiragongo’s lava lake has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. A maximum elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 3,250 m (10,660 ft) prior to the January 1977 eruption – a lake depth of about 600 m (2,000 ft). A recent very low elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 2,700 m (8,900 ft). Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.

Hike will take 5 hours with 4 stops along the path, when at the top, cabins are available for your night, 1 cabin for 2 people.

Overnight at the crater rim

D2. Descend

Morning after your breakfast at the crater rim, you will be overlooking the city of Goma as well as the 2 other older crater lakes.

Not much is known about how long the volcano has been erupting, but since 1882, it has erupted at least 34 times, including many periods where activity was continuous for years at a time, often in the form of a churning lava lake in the crater. The volcano partly overlaps with two older volcanoes, Baratu and Shaheru, and is also surrounded by hundreds of small volcanic cinder cones from flank eruptions.

Drop off at the border or airport, hotel, end of the tour.

D1.Arrival at Kigali Airport. Transfer Kempinski Hotel or Equivalent.

D2.Transfer Kempinski Hotel Kigali-Lac Kivu Lodge Goma

Morning after your breakfast, visit of the genocide memorial centre, after visits, Kigali city tour then proceed to Rwanda-Congo border

D3.Climb to Nyiragongo summit

Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3470 m (11382 ft) in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, about 20 km (12 mi) north of the town of Goma and Lake Kivu and just west of the border with Rwanda. The main crater is about two kilometres wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls – one at about 3,175 metres (10,417 ft) and a lower one at about 2,975 m (9,760 ft). Nyiragongo’s lava lake has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. A maximum elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 3,250 m (10,660 ft) prior to the January 1977 eruption – a lake depth of about 600 m (2,000 ft). A recent very low elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 2,700 m (8,900 ft). Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.

Hike will take 5 hours with 4 stops along the path, when at the top, cabins are available for your night, 1 cabin for 2 people.

D4.Descend from Nyiragongo summit.

Morning after your breakfast at the crater rim, you will be overlooking the city of Goma as well as the 2 other older crater lakes.

Not much is known about how long the volcano has been erupting, but since 1882, it has erupted at least 34 times, including many periods where activity was continuous for years at a time, often in the form of a churning lava lake in the crater. The volcano partly overlaps with two older volcanoes, Baratu and Shaheru, and is also surrounded by hundreds of small volcanic cinder cones from flank eruptions.

D5.Resting day at Mikeno Lodge.

The main area and restaurant feel as though they are set high in the trees with fabulous views over the park and the Nyiragongo and Mikeno volcanoes. Some of the bungalows have similar views while others are set in among the trees. 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.

Mikeno Lodge offers a huge range of activities including chimp trekking, nature walks, easy access to the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage, tours of the park headquarters and visits with the canine anti-poaching unit known as the “Congo Hounds.”

D6.Gorilla Trekking Virunga NP

A visit with a mountain gorilla family is a life changing experience. Mountain gorillas are highly intelligent, good natured, and fascinating to observe. The silverback’s powerful presence is awe-inspiring, yet his calm clearly earns him the title, “gentle giant”. People are equally struck by the tenderness and care that mothers show their young. And then, of course, there are the juveniles who spend most of every waking hour at play and never cease to make visitors smile. We believe your time with Virunga’s mountain gorillas will leave you feeling changed for the better.

Duration of the visits is an hour.

D7.Leave Mikeno Lodge next morning and drive back to Rwanda for encountering with Mountain gorilla in Rwanda

Overnight Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or Equivalent

D8.Gorilla Trekking Rwanda

Overnight Mountain Gorilla View Lodge.

D9.Rest day at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Visit of twin lakes in the afternoon

There are also known as the twin lakes of Rwanda, Burera and Ruhondo are situated on the borders of Rwanda and Uganda with their own special attractions. It should be noted that, Lake kivu is the largest Rwanda but Burera and Ruhondo are the most beautiful and the canoe sailing on these lakes (Burera and Buhondo) is memorable.

Musanze town is superbly located at the foot of the volcanoes. In the city suburb, you can see the natural bridge of Musanze – solidified lava flow – which signals the volcanoes’ activity that shaped the landscape, visiting also the market is a truly memorable things to do while in Musanze.

D10.Transfer to the airport , end of the tour.

Special lowland Gorilla

D1.Arrival in Kigali, overnight in Kigali.

Midrange hotel chez Lando or equivalent

Luxury Kempiski or equivalent.

D2.Visit of Genocide memorial and city tour of Kigali.

Peacefully nestled along picturesque hilltops, Kigali is a thriving African city immediately notable for its cleanliness, orderliness, and hospitality.

Kigali is a great place to begin or end any Rwanda journey as it’s conveniently located in the geographic center of the country. The city is clean and safe, with extremely welcoming people. Travelers will enjoy exploring the great cultural activities – including several award-winning museums, burgeoning music scene, and some of East Africa’s most memorable dining experiences.

After visiting these, we drive straight to Congo border, and we make our entrance in the city of Goma, the tourism capital of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Goma is the provincial capital of North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, located in the extreme east near the Rwanda.

Overnight Ihusi hotel

D3.Early in the morning, we drive to Goma harbour (Port) and take the boat(speed boat) to the city off Bukavu southern Kivu.

Bukavu is a beautiful city with five fingers stretching into Lake Kivu, separated from Rwanda by the Ruzizi River.

You can reach Bukavu from Rwanda via the borders of Cyangugu (Rwanda), from Burundi via the border of Uvira, and from Goma via Lake Kivu or by road. Do not approach expecting to be able to buy a visa at the border, you only have to book a visa with us, at least 1 week before your arrival date.

The reason why we recommend our clients to pass through lake is to see the main inland island in Africa, Idjwi or Ijwi is an island in Lake Kivu, belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At 70 km (43 mi) in length and with an area of 340 km2 (131 sq mi), it is the second largest inland island in Africa, and the tenth largest in the world. Idjwi is roughly equidistant between the DRC and Rwanda, with 10 to 15 kilometres (6 to 9 mi) separating its western shore from the DRC mainland and a similar distance between its eastern shore and the coastline of Rwanda. The island’s southern tip, however, lies only 1 kilometre from a promontory of the Rwandan coast.

Overnight Hotel Orchid or Elila hotel

D4. Early in the morning after your breakfast, we make our way into, Kahuzi Biega National Park, the only park in D.R.Congo, where we can visit Lowland gorilla and nowhere in East Africa.

The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a protected area near Bukavu town in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is situated near the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. Established in 1970 by the Belgian photographer and conservationist Adrien Deschryver, the park is named after two dormant volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega, which are within its limits. With an area of 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi), Kahuzi-Biega is one of the biggest national parks in the country. Set in both mountainous and lowland terrain, it is one of the last refuges of the rare species of Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), an endangered category under the IUCN Red List. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1980 for its unique biodiversity of rainforest habitat and its eastern lowland gorillas.

After Gorilla tracking, cross straight to Rwanda, and proceed to Nyungwe.

Day 5. Chimps tracking in Nyungwe forest

Nyungwe Forest National Park sits in a mountainous region covering 970km square, to the south west of Rwanda. It is the largest single area of montane forest in East or Central Africa. There are 50km of walking trails ranging from 1 to 7 hours in duration.

Nungwe Forest is home to many chimpanzees. These intelligent animals differ from humans by just over 1% of DNA and, not surprisingly, have behaviour patterns very similar to us, forming close social groups, using tools, working as a team and waging war against each other. They also show human-like non-verbal forms of communication, holding hands, kissing, tickling…

Overnight in the city of Butare

Day6: Transfer to the airport, end of tour.