How often do you get to tick off two bucket list items in one safari? Well, if seeing Endangered mountain gorillas AND sleeping on the ridge of an active volcano floats your boat, then we have just the safari for you – and it’s one of our most popular safaris at the moment.
Our guests, Fatima and Dane Harvey, answered some questions about their awesome safari climbing Mount Nyiragongo, mountain gorilla trekking and visiting Lake Kivu.
What was your favourite moment?
That first moment we saw the gorillas, AND watching the volcano at night.
How were the guides?
The park rangers were wonderful, it was interesting to learn the background about the town, forest and the gorillas.
What was your accommodation like?
The hospitality was incredible, food and service were great. We really enjoyed the lakeside location and furnishings in the common area. The rooms were basic but comfortable. We enjoyed the live show and music in the evenings. Accommodation on the volcano was basic (as expected) but staff were wonderful – the porters were a godsend and we adored our cook, Amani.
Was it value for money / would you travel with Africa Geographic again / would you recommend Africa Geographic to others?
Yes, yes, yes!
3 tips from the Harveys
1. Invest in a good pair of hiking boots.
2. Layers of clothing are essential – you’ll experience sunshine, rain and cold in one day!
3. Make sure you bring enough local currency to tip porters, cooks and drivers – they work hard!
Brief overview of their safari
Their five-day safari started off in the modern and thriving capital city of Kigali in Rwanda where highlights included the Gisozi Genocide Memorial, which is a vivid testimony to the Rwandan people’s reconciliation achievements, and the Kimironko City Market where all sorts of colourful and tasty food is on display.
The next leg of the safari was a short drive away – Volcanoes National Park – for the main event. Gorilla trekking was enjoyed in stunning forest scenery, which makes up for the fact that the one to six hour walk can be physically demanding.
Once the gorillas were located, all fatigue was forgotten as they enjoyed time with our enigmatic and dignified close relatives. This is one of the most poignant and profound natural history experiences in the world.
The final leg of this unique safari was across the border in Congo – a four to six hour hike to the lava cauldron of Mount Nyiragongo. After several hours of lush forest walking, their party emerged onto a plateau that feels as if it’s at the top of the world. Here they felt like the great explorers Burton, Speke and Livingstone as commanding view stretched across Lake Kivu, Rwanda and Burundi.
From there the vegetation becomes low and flat as they summited Nyiragongo’s crater and gazed into the boiling cauldron below. That night, spent perched on the lip of the crater, is likely to be etched onto their memories forever. The dark of night emphasises the drama and spectacle of this active lava cauldron as it spits, flares and fountains in one of the greatest shows on Earth.
Their transfer back to Kigali was likely in silence, as they contemplated what is one of Africa’s most iconic safaris.