A LITTLE ABOUT MY SAFARI REVIEW
I want to thank you so much for working with me to put together my 8 day safari through Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo – it was an amazing experience! This portion of my trip was to be the highlight of my 5 month journey through Africa and it did not disappoint JJ. I know what I wanted to accomplish was a challenge & not the ideal itinerary for only 8 days – I had a limited budget to work with & packed in quite a bit but you were so good in working with me Andrew! No, not everything went according to plan & yes there were some problems but that was as much my fault as anyone’s. In the end it was well worth it!
Emmanuel & Andrew took good care of me in Rwanda. I loved the Top View hotel (the fireplace was the best!) in Nyungwe Forest and got to see chimpanzees in the forest! Kinigi Guest House was much as I expected it to be – a simple, clean place to stay, close to where the mountain gorilla trek began. The ParadisMalahide sits right on Lake Kivu JJ& was very nice – great fire pit – loved the décor, great food & staff.
Both the chimpanzee & mountain gorilla treks were very rewarding & everything I’d hoped for! The guides & trackers we so knowledgeable & really added to the experience. It’s amazing to me what the trackers in particular are able to do & I think I can appreciate my experience even more because of them.
It was really great to have Emmanuel with me in the Congo rather than being handed off completely to another team. Having said that I think getting Martin for the Congo portion was the absolute right choice! Martin was brilliant at dealing with the Congolese because from the minute we crossed the border the bureaucratic red tape started & they continually asked for more. But having said that I did absolutely love my time in the Congo! Martin was a great guide, conversing with me on life in the Congo, the people, etc& a lot of fun too. It was not always an easy journey there between the bad roads, police, military but the 3 days I spent in the Congo may have been some of my fondest memories in Africa JJ
I know just getting into Virunga Nat’l Park & the Mikeno Lodge was not easy but it was SO worth it! Beautiful lodge, great staff, incredible food, loved my cottage & fireplace & the views were stunning. I met the Head Manager Virginia who was really very sweet & was a great help for my treks – she also introduced me to the Head of Virunga NP, Emmanuel &discussed some of the issues facing Virunga. I was also able to meet Christian who heads up the anti-poaching Congo Hound Project as well as Andre from the gorilla orphanage – all three individuals are featured in the Oscar nominated documentary film “Virunga”.
The mountain gorilla trek was the main reason for coming to Virunga in the Congo & it didn’t disappoint! I started the trek near Bukima in Kibumba& it was a far easier hike in to see the gorillas than it was in Rwanda but just as incredible. As it turned out it was the trek to the top of Nyiragongo volcanothat was the highlight of my time in Virunga. Such a rewarding experience – just getting there was an accomplishment I will not soon forget. The views from the top were spectacular & I spent hours at the top just watching the lava lake well into the night. And I am really grateful that of the managers at Mikeno Lodge – “Patience” (spelling?) for helping me with my trek to the Nyiragongo volcano.