Rutshuru Expedition is a 10-days Congo safari that has travelers exploring Virunga National Park with two awesome gorilla trekking experiences. the Rutshuru expedition has travelers doing chimpanzee tracking too, enjoy safari walks, an amazing sundowner with great views of the Ishasha River animals, explore an island and so much more. The Rutshuru expedition is fit for travelers who enjoy encountering the primates as well as relax and also safari walking in a typical African savannah.
Tour Highlights of the Rutshuru Expedition
- Day 1: Arrival and exploration of Rumangabo
- Day 2: Gorilla trekking and exploring Bukima
- Day 3: Second gorilla trekking and visiting the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage
- Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking
- Day 5: Transfer to Lulimbi, afternoon safari walk, and evening sundowner
- Day 6: Morning safari walk and evening game drive
- Day 7: Bird watching and BBQ
- Day 8: Transfer to Tchegera Island Retreat
- Day 9: Leisure day
- Day 10: Transfer back
Detailed Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival and Exploration of Rumangabo
- Arrival and Exploration of Rumangabo: You will arrive at the Grande Barriere border crossing by 10:30 am and ensure check-in by the Virunga Tourism office located in the Grande Barriere border crossing building which is opposite passport control by 11:15 am. You will receive your gorilla and chimpanzee permits which you must show to take part in each of those activities. You will then proceed to Mikeno Lodge from where a late lunch will be served. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure and you can opt to go on the exploration of Rumangabo nature trails, visit the Virunga Congo hounds or do bird watching. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 2: Gorilla Trekking and exploring Bukima
- Gorilla Trekking: After your breakfast at the lodge, head out to Bukima ranger post for your gorilla trek. You will meet the park officials and rangers who will brief you on what to expect on the trek. You will embark on the search of the gorillas in their natural habitat and once encountered, spend one hour with them and then trek back. The trek can be 1-2.5 hours each way depending on the location of the gorillas.
- Exploring Bukima: Head to Bukima camp from where you will have your lunch. Spend the rest of the day exploring Bukima, take part in bird watching or visit the park’s bamboo project. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.
Day 3: Second Gorilla Trekking and visiting the Senkwekwe Gorilla orphanage
- Second Gorilla Trekking: After breakfast, head out at 8:30 am for your second gorilla trek. After the trek, have a quick lunch at the camp and then be transferred back to Mikeno Lodge. Enjoy your afternoon at leisure with a good book or music by the terrace or visit the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage center. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Day 4: Chimpanzee trekking
- Chimpanzee trekking As early as 6 am, head out for a chimpanzee trek which is a unique opportunity for you to join the team of chimp experts and researchers as they habituate the chimps to make them comfortable for human presence. Return to the lodge from where you will have a late breakfast. Spend the rest of the day exploring the park headquarters or maybe choose to relax as you will. Lunch, dinner and overnight stay at the lodge.
Day 5: Transfer to Lulimbi, Afternoon safari walk and evening sundowner
- Transfer to Lulimbi: After an early breakfast at the lodge, you will be transferred to Lulimbi Tented Camp which is on the southwestern shores of Lake Edward.
- Afternoon safari walks: After check-in and settling in, enjoy your lunch and thereafter go on an afternoon safari walk across the savannah of the Ishasha Plains.
- Evening sundowner: In the evening, enjoy a relaxing sundowner on the banks of the Ishasha River and sight Lulimbi’s resident hippos and a number of other animals.
Day 6: Morning safari walk and evening game drive
- Morning safari walk: After an early breakfast at the camp, head out for a morning safari walk on the Ishasha plains yet again. Sight wildlife and the abundant wildlife of Lulimbi. Before the heat intensifies, return to the camp and enjoy a slow lunch while you view hippos wallowing in the Ishasha river close by. You might even chance to see other animals like elephants as they come for an afternoon drink on the river. In the evening, have a game drive of the Ishasha Plains and have an opportunity to see more wildlife as they return from their kill or head to their resting place for the night approaches. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.
Day 7: Bird watching and BBQ
- Bird watching: After a relaxing and sumptuous breakfast at the camp, head out for a bird watching spree along the shores of Lake Edward. Enjoy a nice Barbeque at the shores and then head back to the camp and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 8: Transfer to Tchegera Island Retreat
- Transfer to Tchegera Island Retreat: When finished with your breakfast at the camp, head to Kituku port in Goma to catch a boat to be transferred to Tchegera Island Retreat, from where you will spend the day relaxing in the beautiful atmosphere of Tchegera Island. Lunch, dinner and overnight stay at the Island.
Day 9: Leisure day
- Leisure day: Today, you will simply leisure around the island. You can choose to go kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling or have nature walks.
Day 10: Transferred back
- Transferred back: After a sumptuous breakfast at Tchegera Island Retreat, you will be transferred back to Goma with drop-off at the Grande Barriere border post.
End of the Rutshuru Expedition
- Gorilla trekking permits
- Chimpanzee tracking permit
- Nyiragongo hiking permit
- Full board accommodation as per the itinerary
- All transportation to, from and within the park
- Bottled drinking water in the tour vehicle
- Air tickets and Visas
- Rental of the Nyiragongo backpack
- Porter fees
- Personal expenses like laundry, telephone
- Souvenirs and Tips