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Mark Nolting in Rwanda and Virunga

October 2, 2017 According to AAC's Consultants

Day 01-03: From Rwanda enroute to Virunga, I highly recommend trekking the golden monkeys first before the gorillas, as it is much easier and a great acclimatization hike.  The properties visited on my site-inspections included Sabyinyo, Bisate, Amakoro Songa, 5 Volcanoes, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, and the Bishops House.

Volcanoes – Golden Monkey trek was a soft trek before the big hikes ahead!

Meeting Chief Warden Emmanuel de Merode at Virunga NP. The subject of last year’s Oscar nominated documentary, Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park.

View of the Volcanoes from Sabyinyo Lodge

Day 04+05:  Mikeno Lodge is our base for the gorilla trekking and volcano hike. We passed through the new immigration building at Goma, funded by Howard Buffett Foundation and drove then drove 2 hours to Mikeno Lodge, located near the park. This is one of the most beautiful parts of Africa with amazing scenery. The following morning we went to Virunga National Parks headquarters for a trekking  talk in French, translated by our guide. Five of us went to the Humba Group, made up of two silverbacks, 3 adult females, 2 juneniles and  3 babies. It was an easy 1 and a half hour trek with a gradual upgrade to reach them. The sun was shining and they were out in the open for a lot of the time. This was the best gorilla trek I have ever had! We were back at park headquarters by 1:30pm and had lunch at their Bukima Tented Camp.

Humba silverback

Day 06+07: We drove 45 minutes to Kibati to check in for the volcano climb at 9:15am, departing promptly at 10:00am. The trek takes between 4-6 hours starting at 6,525ft (1989m) to ascend to 11,382ft (3470m). We arrived at the rim and spent the night at the Nyiragongo Huts. What an amazing sight, Nyiragongo is a beautiful stratovolcano that features the world’s largest lava lake. From the rim, you peer down into a churning lava lake and see and hear hot gases exploding up though a mosaic of molten lava. The following morning we descended at 7:00 am to be back at Kibati station by 11:30 am. I arranged a packed meal service and rental gear for the trip which includes a sleeping bag, jacket, fleece top, hat and rain poncho. Porters can be hired at the base of the climb to carry loads. #savevirunga and

Nyiragongo – Bush TV on steroids!