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Best Safari Lodges & Camps in Virunga

Visit Virunga National Park, for your Congo gorilla tours and Nyiragongo trek tours and lodges to stay include Mikeno Lodge, Bukima Tented Camp, Tchegera Island Camp, Lulimbi Tented Camp, Nyiragongo summit shelters and Kibumba 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 gorillas 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 tours in Congo. 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 colors 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 Nyamulagira 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

Nyiragongo summit shelters

Nyiragongo summit shelters are found on top of Nyiragongo a beautiful strato volcano that features the world’s largest lava lake. Nyiragongo’s summit rim is largely devoid of vegetation and is frequently dusted with snow. From the rim, visitors can peer down into a churning lava lake and see and hear hot gases exploding up though a mosaic of molten lava. Although predictable and therefore safe for tourists, Nyiragongo is greatly feared during eruptions. Because of the high silica content of its lava, Nyiragongo’s lava flows are extremely fluid. During the 2002 eruption, some of Nyiragongo’s lava flows were clocked at 100 km/hr. (62 mph) and reached all the way to Lake Kivu.

Treks to the summit of Nyiragongo volcano begin at the Kibati patrol post, which is approximately 30 minutes by car from Goma. The patrol post is less than a one hour drive from the Mikeno Lodge in Rumangabo. Park rangers lead all treks and porters are available for hire. The time required to reach the summit depends on the average fitness of each group, but typically takes 6 – 7 hours.

Proper hydration is the best way to adapt to the change in altitude. People prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) should speak to their physicians about taking preventative measures before making the climb. It is possible for fitter people to climb up and descend in one day, but most groups choose to overnight in basic accommodation available at the top (included in the permit fee). Trekkers are advised to bring raincoats and cold weather gear. Rain showers are a common occurrence on the climb up during the rainy season and temperatures at the summit can dip below 0°C/32°F.

Guests staying at the Mikeno lodge can arrange packed meal service for the trip, while those coming with tour groups must supply their own. There is no food service on Nyiragongo. Porters can be hired at the base of the climb to carry loads for $12/day ($24 for the overnight trip). The maximum weight that porters are authorized to carry is 15kg.

Each of the twelve summit shelters contains two single beds on which visitors can put their sleeping bags. Although these shelters aren’t plush, they offer a welcome escape from the elements. The cost of staying in a summit shelter is included in the permit fee.

Adult international: $300

Adult Congolese: $90

Child international: $125

Child Congolese: $25

All prices include permit, accommodation in the summit huts, and 16% Gov’t VAT.

Kibumba Tented Camp

Experience Virunga’s newest offering Kibumba Tented Camp an excellent choice for those seeking a more affordable way to experience the mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park. The camp is conveniently located near the trail head for Nyiragongo volcano, which makes it the perfect place to stay for those wanting to experience both gorillas and the world’s largest lava lake. Guests can also enjoy nature hikes just outside camp or walk down to the local Kibumba marketplace for a vibrant cultural experience.

Kibumba Tented Camp features all the necessities of a classic tented camp: great food, full bar, well-appointed tents with comfortable beds, and en-suite bathrooms with hot showers.

Kibumba Tented Camp cost per day

Single person: $140

Double occupancy: $200

Triple occupancy: $280

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

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