Journey through Uganda down to the Democratic Republic of Congo to summit the most active volcano on the African continent and visit the world’s largest lava lake! This unbelievable experience demonstrates the raw power of our planet and can’t fail to impress. After your hike you’ll be heading to relax at Lake Mutanda in the Ugandan highlands with a volcano panorama.
Day 1 – Virunga National Park
You will be collected from your accommodation in Kigali and drive along the winding roads through the ‘land of a thousand hills’ stopping off on the shores of Lake Kivu for lunch. You will then drive the short distant to reach the border crossing into the Democratic Republic of Congo. On completing the border crossing you will be guided through Virunga NP. The park is amazingly diverse with over half of the biodiversity found in sub Saharan African recorded here. Your intimate lodge is nestled in the forest with resident colobus and blue monkeys scampering though the trees. As the sunsets unwind with a superb view of Mount Mikeno and the red glow of the lava lake of Mount Nyiragongo. Then after dinner retire to your private cottage for the night to find a roaring fire awaiting you and prepare to commence the hike to summit Mount Nyiragongo tomorrow.
Day 2 – The Worlds Largest Lava Lake
This morning you’ll be driven to the Kibati border post at the base of Mount Nyiragongo to receive your safety briefing from the rangers. The hike covers a steep ascent starting at 1989m above sea level, to the crater rim at 3470m. The path winds up the volcano for a distance of 8km taking between 4 and 6 hours to summit with 4 break points along the way to allow you to adjust to the altitude (ask your guides if you need any additional breaks). On summiting the volcano the billowing smoke and roaring of the lava filled crater is a phenomenal sight. But the real spectacle will be when the sun has set and the glow and full scale of the lava lake comes into view. Watch the mosaic cooling lava plates migrate across the scorching surface, until they are dragged down, sending up splashes of molten rock. You’ll have several hours to watch the spectacle before retiring to your huts containing thermal tents for the night.
Day 3 – Volcano Descent
This morning descend down the side of Mount Nyiragongo. This part of the trek can be as challenging as your ascent, as you clamber down the loose volcanic rock. The hike will take about the same amount of time as you took to reach the summit, with breaks along the way. The hike will be completed in the early afternoon when you reach the Kibati border post where your vehicle will be waiting to drive you back south, passing Goma to reach the border. Once you have cleared the border crossing back in Rwanda you will drive a short distance to your accommodation for the night on the shores of Lake Kivu where you can relax for the evening.
Day 4 – Heading Home
Take a slower start to the day after volcano hiking the previous days, your lodge on the lakeshore is the perfect place to relax. This morning you, drive back to Kigali for a city tour, or opt to stay a Lake Kivu hire boats to explore the lake (*for an additional cost) or unwind with views over the lake, relax and read a good book. After lunch your driver will take back through ‘land of a thousand hills’ to Kigali International Airport in time for your flight home.