Rwanda-Congo Safaris

CONGO TOURS WITH PINNACLE ASSOCIATES – Gorilla Tracking, Nyiragongo volcano, visit to Communities, Tour Idwji Island and fishing villages

Travel to Eastern Congo for gorilla tracking has continued normally since March 2009.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire is located at Latitude/Longitude 4º 31′ S, 15º 32′ E. It is well watered by the Congo River system and its many tributaries. The River Congo itself is 7,078 km long (2,733 miles), and is navigable for almost 1440km. Its basin contains the planet’s largest rain forest, the Congo Rain Forest. This same River basin occupies the central and northwestern parts of the country, while further south, savanna grasslands extend to the border with Angola. In the east, the land rises into a plateau with heights over 5,000 ft., and then into the higher volcanic mountains of the Great Rift Valley. Southeast, the land rises into the peaks of the Shaba Plateau. A number of lakes can be found in the country’s eastern borders, including Lakes Albert, Edward (shared with Uganda), Kivu (shared with Rwanda), Mweru and Tanganyika (shared with Tanzania and Burundi)

Congo is a land of wonder and amazement. At 2,267,600 sq. km Congo DRC is the second largest country on the African continent after Sudan. Divided into 10 provinces and one city (ville i.e.  Kinshasa), the Land Divisions include; Bandundu, Bas-Congo, Equateur, Kasai-Occidental, Kasai-Oriental, Katanga, Maniema, Nord-Kivu, Orientale and Sud-Kivu. With a population of 67 million (Kinshasa the Capital 9.3 million), Congo is among the most populated countries in Africa only overtaken by Nigeria, but compared to its land size, it is, probably well populated. The country is still the ancestral homeland for over 200 ethnic groups, most descended from individual kingdoms established long before the European colonialists arrived around 1870. Since independence from Belgium in 1960, the country has experienced ethnic strife, political instability, and poor management of infrastructure – many of which the results of deprived training of local management capacities by the long gone colonialists. Because of this, to date, we only take travelers to do only two tourist activities in the relatively peaceful regions: track the mountain gorillas at Djomba (via Uganda or Rwanda); or visit the Nyiragongo live volcano (via Rwanda).

At Pinnacle Associates, we offer several Congo tours. Filled with several adventures our tours in Congo include the following:
Gorilla Trekking Tours : one or two days tours
Nyiragongo Live volcano visit (via Gisenyi in Rwanda)
– Visiting Idjwi Island to see the fishing villages
Communities Tours in Eastern Congo

Plans are under way to introduce Kausi-Biega National Park to our visitors, and other parks.

As there are no suitable facilities and accommodations for visitors in these areas at the moment, our guests do not stay overnight in Congo. They stay the night before and after their visit there, either in Uganda or Rwanda.

Click for the general Booking information for groups visiting Congo

SAFARIS TO CONGO

ALL SAFARIS FROM KAMPALA, UGANDA OR FROM KIGALI, RWANDA 2009-11

DEPARTURE DATES: DAILY. These are private tours that can depart any day.

Departures for itineraries that include a visit to the gorillas are subject to availability of permits at time of booking. Gorilla permits are in high demand and need to be booked and paid in advance! Book your gorilla safari accordingly and avoid disappointment!

Our Congo Tours include;

Gorillas in Congo – 4 Days Gorilla Tracking in Congo – DRC1. Tour begins and ends in Kigali, Rwanda

Gorillas in Rwanda and Congo – 6 Days Gorilla Tracking in Congo – DRC2. Tour begins and ends in Kigali, Rwanda

Gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo – 7 Days Gorilla Tracking in Congo – DRC3. Tour begins and ends in Kigali, Rwanda. It can also be done starting and ending in Kampala, Uganda

Nyiragongo Volcano and Lake Kivu 6 Days – DRC4. Tour begins and ends in Kigali, Rwanda

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LEVEL OF SERVICE FOR THE SAFARIS: Standard accommodations. Generally our tour prices are based on mid-range accommodations. Where a client wishes to stay in low-budget places or top of the range facilities, please inform us at time of booking so that we book the accommodations of your preference and amend tour prices for you accordingly.

Key to Itineraries:

O/N: Overnight
FB Accommodation on Full Board basis. All meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) are included in the safari cost.
HB Accommodation on Half Board basis. One meal (either lunch or dinner) as well as breakfast are included in the safari cost.
BB Accommodation on Bed & Breakfast basis. Only breakfast is included in the safari cost at the stated property.
B Accommodation on Bed Only basis. All meals at the stated property are not included in the safari cost. To be paid for directly by the client.

Click for a short descriptions of all hotels, lodges and camps in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi that we use.

For all categories of accommodation, ALL drinks (except bottled water) are excluded in the safari cost and clients are to pay for them direct to the hotels/Camps / Lodges. Clients could choose to fly out the following day in cases where there are no flights for their departure on the last day of the itinerary. A supplement for the extra night will be required.

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FLIGHTS FOR TOURS TO CONGO

Safaris start and end in Kigali, Rwanda or in Kampala/Uganda.

There are regular flights to Kigali (Rwanda) and Entebbe (Uganda) out of Nairobi with Kenya Airways and Rwandair Express.
Clients can make their own arrangements to arrive in Kigali on the day of, or the day before, their safari starts. SN Brussels flies to Bujumbura, Entebbe and Kigali, from Brussels. Ethiopian Airlines flies from London/Rome/Milan via Addis to Entebbe and Kigali. Rwandair has regular connections between Kigali and Bujumbura, Kigali and Nairobi and Kigali and Kilimanjaro (Near Arusha in Tanzania). From other African countries, countries can fly to Nairobi using Kenya Airways, or Ethiopian Airlines and get a connecting flight to Kigali. Then they drive for three to four hours to Congo via Uganda.
From Europe the easiest way to get to Entebbe (for Kampala in Uganda) directly from London is with British Airways. Kenya Airways and British Airways have daily connections between London and Nairobi from where you can connect to Kigali or Entebbe with Kenya Airways or other airlines.
From the USA, clients need to fly to London, Brussels or Amsterdam and then get connecting flights to Kigali and Entebbe. Alternatively clients can fly from New York, Washington DC or Atlanta to Johannesburg with South African Airways and then take a connecting flight. Contact your travel agent for reservations.

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2009 BOOKING INFORMATION FOR GROUPS VISITING UGANDA, RWANDA AND CONGO

1. Gorilla tracking procedures in Congo:

The cost of a gorilla permit to Congo is US$500. This includes the permit, escort and transport in Congo but does not include the visa fees at $50 per person; and another $50 to return to Uganda (if one did not purchase a multiple entry visa to Uganda from your countries of origin). Once payment is received from you, permits are paid for in advance, and the permit tickets are collected at our Liaison Office in Kisoro a day before tracking

On the tracking day, trackers assemble at a Kisoro hotel (usually Virunga hotel) by 6.00Am and are then transported to Congo for the tracking. Visas should have been obtained a day earlier. A Congolese-specially-licensed vehicle takes the tourists, and brings them back to the boarder also after tracking.

2. The amount of money to pay for the vehicle per person depends on the number of people in the car. The more the number of people in car, the cheaper it is per person. Our cars normally take a maximum of 15+1 people with their luggage.

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3. Daily charges for transport
– EURO 120 per day for the Coach transport in Uganda (it seats 12-18 people with their luggage)
– EUR 130 per day for the coach in Rwanda, Burundi or Congo (for Congo tours).
– EURO 90 per day for the luggage van if required by any group in Uganda.
– EURO 90 per day for a smaller car that takes 7-9 people with limited luggage.
– EURO 100 per day for smaller car that takes 7-9 people with limited luggage in Rwanda, Burundi or Congo.
– EURO 180 for the Coach transport in Congo
– The above costs are per day and include vehicle hire and driver’s allowance only. Costs do not include fuel, vehicle park entrance, vehicle ferry crossings, vehicle boarder crossings, driver/guide’s park/activity fees in Rwanda.

The vehicle and driver are usually used between morning and 6.00pm. Vehicle and driver should not be used beyond 10.00pm of any day.

4. For clients who enter Entebbe and fly out from Kigali, note that there is a charge for an empty leg for car returning to Kampala (Uganda) which is 600km from Kigali. The charge for this empty leg is Euro 260 for vehicle and fuel. From Burundi the charge is Euro 350 or its equivalent in USDfor vehicle and fuel.

5. OLD Dollar bills before the year 2000 are NOT accepted in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo.

6. Gorilla permit fees:
With effect from June 01, 2009 gorilla permits will cost as follows:

Uganda Gorillas USD 500 + USD 50 Administration fees, Community fees, and ranger fees.  Total USD 550

Congo USD 500 includes transport in Congo, permit, Administration fees, Community fees, and ranger fees.  Total USD 500

PNV, Rwanda USD 500+ USD 50 Administration fees, Community fees, and ranger fees. Total USD 550

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