Transfer from Lake Mutanda to Mgahinga Gorilla NP. Estimated journey time: 1 hr.
Venture into the foothills of the Virunga Volcano chain, with the conical volcano peaks towering above you. You will be exploring the Batwa trail on the slopes of Mount Gahinga, which winds its way through former farmland now reclaimed by the park. The Batwa are the indigenous tribe who once called the Virunga Volcanoes their home. Here they lived a nomadic life of hunting and gathering in the rainforest, until they were evicted from the rainforest on the creation of the national park. This 3km trail will lead you to Garma Cave, which is sacred to the Batwa and once their refuge. As you hike, your Batwa guides will teach you about their tribal cultural heritage and demonstrate how they traditionally gathered honey, made bamboo cups, their hunting techniques as well as identify many species of wildlife and traditional medicinal plants. On reaching the cave you will be invited inside where the women from the tribe will treat you to a performance on traditional songs in the cool darkness of the cave before you make the return hike down the mountain side.
Estimated excursion time: 3 - 4 hrs
Transfer from Mgahinga Gorilla NP to Lake Mutanda. Estimated journey time: 1 hr.
Take to the idyllic waters of Lake Mutanda with your local guide in a motorised boat or if you prefer, in a dugout papyrus canoe. As you cross the lake you will be able to enjoy tranquil views with the Virunga Volcanoes conical peaks stretching across the skyline. On reaching Kyangushu Island you will step ashore to explore the island, which is also a local ancestral burial site. You will then continue your journey across the lake to reach the lakeshore, from where you’ll disembark from your boat and hike up the hillside. The going can be steep for a few minutes but there are walking sticks and people to help you along the way as you trek to reach the picturesque village of Mukozi. Here you will receive a warm welcome from the villagers and you will be shown around the nursery school, a mushroom growing project, visit a local craft maker who will show you the tricks of their trade, then meet a traditional healer who will teach you about traditional medicine. You will then return back down the hillside by foot which offers fantastic views over the rural countryside laid out below you.
Estimated excursion time: 2 to 3 hrs