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 it’s 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!”
– Visitor Review

© LuAnne Cadd

The Mikeno Lodge is a one and a half hour 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.

Photos © LuAnne Cadd

To celebrate the re-opening of Virunga National Park, accommodation is being offered at a discounted rate for a limited time:

Single person: $244 (including breakfast)
Double occupancy: $325 (including breakfast)
Accommodation prices include 16% Gov’t VAT

Meals: lunch and dinner are available for an extra charge

Bukima Tented Camp  

© LuAnne Cadd

Just outside the Virunga National Park boundary lays the Bukima tented camp, which is one of the main starting points 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 is equipped with 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, Nymulagira 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 up by park staff, it never ceases to impress the guests.VNP-Bukima-5Prices for the camp are based on double occupancy and include breakfast. Lunch, dinner, and drinks are available for an additional charge. Of the six tents, four feature double beds and two are outfitted with twin beds.

Bukima Tented Camp cost per day:
Single (entire tent): $244 (including breakfast)
Single (shared tent): $162.50 (including breakfast)
Double: $325 (including breakfast)
Tented camp prices include 16% Gov’t VAT

Meals: lunch and dinner are available for an extra charge

Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelters
(opening date to be announced)

© LuAnne Cadd

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. Visitors prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) should take preventative measures. 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. 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.

Guests staying at the Mikeno lodge can arrange packed meals for the trip, while those coming with tour groups must supply their own. There is no food service on Nyiragongo. Porters can be hired to carry gear for $12/day ($24 for the overnight trip). The maximum weight that porters are authorized to carry is 15kg.

Aerial view of Nyiragongo summit shelters Aerial view of Nyiragongo summit shelters

Summit Shelters

Each of the twelve summit shelters contains two single beds on which visitors can put their sleeping bags. Although these shelters aren’t plush, they offer a welcome escape from the elements. The cost of staying in a summit shelter is included in the permit fee.

Nyiragongo volcano trekking permit: (all prices include 16% Gov’t VAT)
Adult [international]: $232
Adult [Congolese]: $29
Child <15 years [international]: $87
Child <15 years [Congolese]: $6.80