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Where to stay at Virunga National Park

Where to stay at Virunga National Park?

The Mikeno Lodge

“Mikeno Lodge is a hidden gem within Virunga National Park that will not take long to be discovered. The bungalow accommodation is spacious, luxurious & very private, each with fabulous tree or valley views. Each bungalow has its own fireplace, which the staff light every evening while you are out enjoying the scrumptious dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Mikeno Lodge. It was hard to leave & we will be back next time we’re in Africa!”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.

Bukima Tented Camp

Just outside the Virunga National Park boundary lays the Bukima tented camp, is the main starting point of Virunga mountain gorilla treks. 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 4437m (14,560’) summit towers over the gorilla sector. Across the valley is Nyiragongo volcano, whose lava lake colors the night sky with a red glow. Every few years, Nyamulagira volcano erupts and steals the nighttime show by spewing hot lava hundreds of feet into the air. Occasionally, the mountain gorillas themselves wander into the Bukima tented camp. Although this is highly frowned upon by park staff, it never ceases to impress the guests.

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.

Nyiragongo Volcano

Nyiragongo is a beautiful stratovolcano that features the world’s largest 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. 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 (unaffiliated with the park) are available for hire. The time required to reach the summit depends on the average fitness of each group, but typically takes 4 – 6 hours. Altitude sickness can be an issue for some because the climb begins at 1989m (6,525 ft) and ascends to 3470m (11,382ft) in a short time. 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.

Tchegera Island Tented 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 birdlife 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.

 

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 birdlife also abound.

The Lulimbi Tented Camp is nestled into the shoreline of the Ishasha River, which winds through Virunga’s vast savanna 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 savanna 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 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.

Kibumba Tented Camp

Kibumba Camp is 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 trailhead 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