Tailor-Made Holiday

Virunga Volcano Climb in the D.R.C

Ascend to the World's Largest Lava Lake

5 days

from £1,695pp

Spend a few days in the far eastern reaches of the Democratic Republic of Congo; climb the active Nyiragongo volcano, spending a night on its peak. Ascend to the rim of the crater and look down at the world’s largest lava lake – found within a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Look down at the world’s largest lava lake from the crater rim
  • Climb the almost perfectly conical Nyiragongo volcano – often topped with cloud
  • Watch the sunrise over the magnificent volcanic landscape of Virunga National Park
  • Experience an area of Africa that is rarely explored

TCHEGERA ISLAND

Begin with a night at Tchegera Island, which sits in the vast Lake Kivu. This idyllic camp is spread along the ridge of a collapsed volcanic caldera – the perfect starting point for the trip. Isolated and tranquil, this camp looks out over the calm waters of the lake. As night sets, the sky begins to glow with an orange hue from the nearby volcanoes.

NYIRAGONGO CLIMB

Leave the watery landscape of Tchegera Island behind for the forested slopes of Nyiragongo. Begin in the morning, climbing slowly upwards towards the summit camp. Pass the through the lush vegetation that coats the lower levels, before continuing on to the sparser, higher slopes. These – devoid of trees and bushes – offer a beautifully harsh landscape that culminates with the magnificent volcanic peak.

LAVA LAKE

The views over the Virunga National Park are stunning and the forested savannah below spreads far into the distance. However, the greatest views are down into the volcano itself. As night sets, head to the crater rim and look down at the vast lava lake – alive with swirling molten rock. Watch as smoke pours forth from the heart of the volcano and as the lava glows, splutters and hisses. In the dark, the views are particularly spectacular – thoroughly justifying the tiring climb.

WHY WE LIKE IT

This journey offers the chance to get close to a phenomenal natural wonder – the vast lava lake atop Nyiragongo. Accommodation on the volcano is basic and the climb challenging, but the views are incomparable. Every step up to the 3,470-metre-high peak is justified by the sight that greets you at the top.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • International flights
  • Internal flights
  • All accommodation and meals as stated in the itinerary
  • All transfers

what is excluded

  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Fly London to Amsterdam

Fly Amsterdam to Nairobi overnight

Day 2

Fly Nairobi to Kigali

Drive from Kigali to Gisenyi (Road Journey)


Cross the border into the D.R.C. Meet new driver and vehicle on the other side.

Drive from Gisenyi to Tchegera Island (Road Journey)


You will be staying at Tchegera Island Lodge

Day 3

Drive from Tchegera Island to Virunga National Park (Road Journey)


Virunga National Park is Africa's oldest national park and one of the most exciting. The park's 7800 square kilometres (3000 square miles) includes forests, savannahs, lava plains, swamps, erosion valleys, active volcanoes and the glacial peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains. It is also the only park in the world to have populations of three great ape species - the chimpanzee, the lowland gorilla and the mountain gorilla, but wandering through the shadowy forests can be found the Okapi, both forest and savannah elephants, large colonies of hippo's, numerous rare birds and even lion. Added to this, half of all the biodiversity in sub-Saharan Africa can be found in Virunga. It is perhaps no wonder that this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most exciting places to explore in the Democratic Republic of Congo, perhaps in all of Africa.


Climb Nyirangongo
Set off to climb Nyiragongo, an almost perfectly conical active volcano that rises to 3,470 metres and named after a local woman whose spirit is said to haunt the region. After a briefing from the head ranger, you start the ascent midway through the morning, at around 2,000 metres slowly climbing towards the rim, where the summit camp is positioned. The trek should not be undertaken lightly, with climbing time heavily dependent on fitness, but it typically takes between four and six hours, including plenty of stops.

The first part of the climb passes through the volcano's forested lower slopes, which are home to a variety of animals, including chimpanzees and numerous birds - all of which are slowly returning after previous eruptions. Then continue up to the higher reaches, devoid of vegetation, which offer a stark, beautiful landscape, before finally, ascend to the rim itself, to peer down into the world's largest lava lake. On a clear day, the views from the summit are spectacular, with the verdant plains below extending into the distance. A night spent at the top allows for views of a very different kind. From the crater rim, look down into the heart of the volcano; watch as the fiery lava glows and boils in the darkness, a full moon adding drama to the vast plains below, reflected in Lake Kivu. This is not for the faint hearted, but the spectacular night-time show and stunning summit views justifies every step of the climb.


You will be staying at Nyiragongo Summit Shelter

Day 4

Nyiragongo Descent
In the morning, after a surprisingly hearty breakfast of omelettes, sausages and bread washed down with tea and coffee, you pack up and make your way carefully back down, leaving the lava lake behind, with the sun rising over the vast expanse of rainforest below.

Drive from Virunga National Park to Gisenyi (Road Journey)


Cross the border into the Rwanda. Meet new driver and vehicle on the other side.

Drive from Gisenyi to Kigali (Road Journey)

Fly Kigali to Amsterdam overnight

Day 5

Fly Amsterdam to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Tchegera Island Lodge

Tchegera Island Lodge

Definitely one of a kind, this excellent tented camp sits on the exposed ridge of a collapsed volcanic caldera in the middle of Lake Kivu....

View Accommodation

Nyiragongo Summit Shelter

Nyiragongo Summit Shelter

They are very much a shelter and not much else! Very Spartan, squat, 5ft high, rigid A-frame structures, with a tiled roof and wooden slats inside, on which rests a small foam mattress....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Democratic Republic of Congo

Bridget Cohen, Travel Expert

"Bridget had a great knowledge of the areas being looked at and given I have spent time in both countries, it required someone who completely understood the type of camps preferred."

"Bridget's service was very personal and friendly whilst maintaining a professional manner. All my questions were dealt with promptly and efficiently."

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Chris Johnston, Travel Expert

"Chris was always there for any questions and we felt he was genuinely interested in making this next trip as memorable as possible - which it most certainly was!"

"Excellent advice and information on our very first Steppes holiday. Chris was exceptionally helpful and patient and he treated us as individuals instead of tourists, by taking time find out what we wanted from our trip."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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