LODGES AND CAMPS
In order to experience Virunga to its full potential we advise our guests to stay in one of Virunga National Park's camps and lodges in and around the park. Camps include Bukima Patrol Post, a small tented camp and the base of the mountain gorilla treks. On top of the Nyiragongo on the edge of the crater stand the Nyiragongo Crater Cabanes where you can spend a night within the orange glow of the Lava Lake. In the jungle of Rumangabo the brand new Mikeno Lodge is arising which will serve as a comfortable central spot for tourists to start their visit to Virunga National Park, at Mikeno Lodge you can also visit the only four captive (orphaned) mountain gorillas in the world, at the spacious Senkwekwe centre.
A Beautiful Lodge in the forests of the Virunga Mountains.
Mikeno Lodge is Virunga National Park's first lodge opening for tourists in July of 2011. Centered between three main tourist attractions, it is a perfect location to begin treks to see the gorillas, chimpanzees, and Nyiragongo volcano. Nestled among the trees of a virgin forest, the weather is cool, the views spectacular, and the lodging luxurious.
Mikeno Lodge is roughly one and half hours north of the city of Goma and can be found tucked into a forested hillside at Virunga National Park headquarters of Rumangabo. To the east is the Mikeno Gorilla Sector, and to the southwest is Nyiragongo Volcano. To the west, the chimpanzee treks begin in the forests of Tongo.
Dining, Bar, and Lounge:
As you enter the main lodge you will receive a warm welcome before descending steps into a spacious lounge and bar. Adjacent to the lounge, the dining room offers full-course meals included in the price of your stay. Both the bar and dining area open onto a large terrace providing the perfect location for a relaxing drink and sharing of the day's activities.
Your private bungalow is made from lava stone with a natural thatch roof and a mahogany deck. The roomy interior includes cozy lounge seating around a stone fireplace, comfortable bedroom area, and a large bathroom equipped with hot-water shower and bath. On cool nights, the fireplace warms the bungalow, while on warm afternoons your private terrace provides a prime position for spotting the Blue and Colobus monkeys or baboons that use the surrounding trees as their playground.
Each of the 12 bungalows contains either a double or two single beds, giving the lodge a capacity of 24 guests. When combined with the use of a boardroom at the nearby park headquarters, the lodge is a perfect location for small conferences in a peaceful setting.
The close proximity of the lodge to the Senkwekwe Center means guests have the opportunity to visit the four orphan gorillas living in a spacious natural enclosure with viewing platforms around the periphery. A 30-minute nature walk along a forest trail that encircles the hilltop is available for those who enjoy stretching their legs.
Whether your stay is the starting point for gorilla, volcano, and chimp adventures, or purely for a relaxing time-out in a peaceful location, Mikeno Lodge provides an indulgent experience among the wildlife and beauty of Virunga National Park.
CONSTRUCTION OF A LODGE
The most readily available building material in the volcanoes region is, of course, lava. When planning the lodge, it was the obvious choice for constructing a solid bungalow made from natural local materials. And how does one build with lava? Workers hand-carve rectangle bricks from large heavy stones, and carry the stones on their head to the building site. It is labor intensive but works surprisingly well and fast.
The next choice for a natural building material is thatch for the roofs, but not any thatch. Expert thatch-roofers chose the highest quality grass collected from the plains near Rwindi. The tightly packed, expertly crafted thatch roofs are a barrier to rain and cold, and naturally water repellent.
The third material, beautiful mahogany wood, is one of the strongest available, perfect for windows, doors and decks, all produced and crafted locally.
Welcome to Mikeno lodge, built with natural local materials by local hands.
Bukima Patrol Post
Bukima is one of the sites where we start our gorilla treks. Just outside the perimeter of the park a tented camp has been established catering for up to 16 people at a time. What used to be a base for Gorilla researchers (the original paillote still stands) is now a basic but comfortable tented camp. It provides all necessary requirements for a comfortable night out in the wilderness, with a magnificent view of the Mikeno volcano draped in tropical forest and the Nyiragongo volcano, of which the glow from the lava lake can be clearly seen at night.
Prices for the camp are based on two people sharing a tent (twin beds). From the start of June 2011 the price will also include a basic evening meal and breakfast (drinks can be bought on site). There is also the possibility to bring your own camping equipment and food and stay for a reduced price.
Spending the night at Bukima Tented Camp ensures that you can leave for the gorillas at a leisurely time in the morning and will ensure that you will be back at your destination of choice with time to spare after your encounter with the Mountain Gorillas of Virunga.
Nyiragongo Crater Cabanas
On the edge of the Nyiragongo crater within sight of the sweltering lava lake, stand eight simple but firm Cabanas. Colored black the Cabanas blend in perfectly with the lava rock surroundings. Any trip up the volcano should include a night spent in these Cabanas, that is why they have been included in the price of the volcano permit. They allow visitors to spend their night in sufficient comfort whilst also giving rise to the opportunity to view the lava lake from the top of the crater at any point during the night. Each Cabane is fitted with two beds allowing 16 visitors to reside at the crater at the same time.