A combined Congo gorilla and Rwenzori trek is a great opportunity to encounter the majestic mountain gorillas and climb the glaciated Rwenzori mountain – the highest in Uganda and Congo and the third highest on the African continent. The safari starts from Virunga mountains national park which is in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo, in the Albertine Rift Valley and later drive to Mutsora station, the starting point of Rwenzori mountains in Congo.
Places to visit for the experience
Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is located in the Eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo and is renowned for its diverse ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, savannas, and two active volcanoes – Mount Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira. The park is home to a significant population of mountain gorillas, one of the last remaining places on Earth where you can observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
What to do while in the park
With a total area of 7,768.93 square kilometers, Virunga national park is among the best destinations on the African continent with amazing and adventurous attractions. It is one of the only four places In Africa where one can watch the magical and endangered mountain gorillas in their nature habitats. These species can be watched after during the gorilla trekking experience which involves hiking through the park rainforests by the lead of the experienced park ranger. You will start off with a briefing at the park headquarters where you will be told the dos and don’ts during the activity and then set out on a trek through lush forests to find and observe gorilla families. Spending time in close proximity to these gentle giants is a truly awe-inspiring experience that offers insight into their behavior and social dynamics. After, you will walk back to the starting point for your certificates of recognition.
Other Wildlife: While gorillas are the main attraction, Virunga National Park is also home to a wide variety of other wildlife, including chimpanzees, forest elephants, and a rich assortment of bird species.
Often referred to as the “Mountains of the Moon,” Rwenzori mountains straddle the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the eastern equatorial Africa. These mountains are known for their stunning landscapes, glacial peaks, and unique alpine vegetation. They are a home to the highest summit of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo– Margherita on Mount Stanly, one of the massifs of the ranges. They offer the amazing hiking trips in Africa with different hiking trails in Uganda and Congo that take you through diverse ecosystems, from lush rainforests to high alpine zones, offering breathtaking vistas and encounters with unique plant and animal life.
Hiking experience in Rwenzori mountains
Straddling between the borders of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwenzori mountains can be hiked from the two countries to the summit.
Since the two destinations – Virunga national park and Rwenzori mountains are located in the Eastern part of Congo, this makes the hiking experience much easier using the Congo’s routes. While coming from Kinshasa, the country’s capital, you will drive or fly to Goma city and then another transfer to Mavivi airport where our company representative will pick you to Mutsora station, the starting point of the Congo Rwenzori mountains. The hike starts with a briefing from the park rangers where you will be told the routes and trails to use during the experience.
A sample itinerary of Rwenzori hiking from Congo’s side
In this trek up the mountains, trekkers reach Pic Maria (Pleasure of the eyes) for panoramic views. During your trek, you will enjoy the forests and valleys as the flora is diverse with trees and valleys of ferns. The trees are alive with many species of birds and primates. As you walk up the trail you will see chimp nests high up in the tall trees, and on your lucky days, you may even spot a glimpse of the resident chimpanzee as they scamper away. From Pic Maria you will see Pic Marguerite (5109m alt) Pic Alexandra (5083m alt) on Mount Stanly, Pic Albert (5088m alt), Pic Mobeus and also glacier Stanley. From there, you can spot a gallery of rivers ranging from Semuliki River to Lac Eduard. If the atmosphere is not cloudy, during your Congo’s Rwenzori Mountain you could see the world’s largest lava lake on Nyiragongo volcano and other nearby cities.
Summary of the hike
Day 1: Pick up from Kasindi Border to Mutsora station
Day 2: Hike to Kalonge (2138m)
Day 3: Hike to Mahangu camp (3310m)
Day 4: Hike to Kionde camp (4200m)
Day 5: Climb to Moraine camp (4350m)
Day 6: Trek to Pic Margherita (5109m)
Day 7: Descend to Mahangu camp (3310m)
Day 8: Descend to the starting point or Mutsora station
Day 9: Enjoy a cultural experience as you drive to your next destination.
Best time to go for a combined Congo gorilla trekking and Rwenzori hiking experience in Congo.
Democratic Republic of Congo can be visited all year round but the best time is during the dry season which lasts from May to September. However, since Congo experiences an equatorial climate, this means that the humidity levels are high all year round.