This is a pristine habitat rich in biodiversity and unique in that it has both lowland and montane forest, with diverse species of trees, ferns, butterflies and birds. Protected groups of Lowland and Mountain gorilla inhabit this region.
Enjoy this thrilling experience of a lifetime over 4 days by Helicopter
Your adventure begins in the east of Congo in the forested mountains of Virunga National Park. A perfect base to make the most of the regions highlights - the fascinating and highly endangered Mountain Gorilla, and the active Nyiragongo Volcano and lava-lake.
Your helicopter and pilot will meet you at Goma International Airport and fly you to your lodge, a journey which takes less than an hour, with chances to see the volcano in action. After lunch you will have the privilege of visiting the orphaned baby gorillas at the nearby Senkwekwe Centre and the day will end with a flight around volcanoes.
Mountain Gorilla & Lava Lake
At dawn, your helicopter takes you to the starting point of your trek in search of the Mountain Gorilla. The trek can take anything up to 5 hours and you will have a 1-hour private viewing with a group.
After lunch back at your lodge, you fly to Nyiragongo volcano and hike a short distance to your accommodation on the rim, overlooking the lava lake. The rooms at Nyiragongo consist of simple but perfectly adequate cabins, where you can spend hours watching the changing shapes and colours of the fluorescent lava lake.
At dawn you return to your lodge for showers and breakfast. You embark on an early morning flight to Mount Tsiabeimu - a remote part of Virunga National Park, where a group of Lowland Gorilla are protected through an inspiring community-based project.
Lowland Gorillas, also known as Grauer’s Gorilla, are found in the forests of Eastern DRC and in Odzala National Park in the Republic of Congo. In appearance they are larger and more robust than all other sub-species of gorilla and known for their peaceful nature. Time permitting, there is an option to visit GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education) initiated by The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, for orphan gorillas.
You will return to your lodge for the night.
A short flight takes you to the village of Tongo where you begin your trek to see the chimpanzees – a resident group of 30 + individuals.
En route back to your lodge, you will fly over the stunning crystal clear springs and palm trees that cover this corner of Virunga National Park, where you visited the Lowland Gorilla the previous day. The spring waters are so pure because they are filtered by the layers of lava rock and the area has a healthy hippo population.
Helicopter safari ends
Before leaving this morning, you will enjoy a guided tour of the park headquarters. The Virunga National Park, recognised as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, is dedicated to the conservation of the Mountain Gorilla, along with chimpanzees, forest elephants, giraffe and okapi.
Video and pictures by courtesy of Tropic Air and Richard Roberts