Mikeno Eco Lodge Vs Bukima Tented Camp, Congo
Mikeno Lodge is a hub of activity set inside the Virunga Park headquarters at Rumanbago. The main area and restaurant feel as though they are set high in the trees with fabulous views over the park and the Nyiragongo and Mikeno volcanoes. Some of the bungalows have similar views while others are set in among the trees. There is an abundance of bird life as well as resident blue monkeys, colobus monkeys, and baboons. Chimpanzees are also frequent visitors to the area.
Mikeno Lodge’s 12 en-suite bungalows are spacious, including a fireplace and terrace. Each bungalow has 24 hour electricity and hot and cold running water. The lodge’s main area has a good restaurant, wireless and a dramatic fire place to gather around in the evening.
Mikeno Lodge offers a huge range of activities including chimp trekking, nature walks, easy access to the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage, tours of the park headquarters and visits with the canine anti-poaching unit known as the “Congo Hounds.” Guests can also opt to stay at Mikeno Lodge instead of Bukima Tented Camp the night before their gorilla trek; you will just have an early morning and a 1.5 hour long drive before and after the trek.
Given all of these options we think it is easy to spend 2-3 nights at Mikeno. Mikeno is a 90 minute drive from Goma on a (mostly) paved road.
Bukima Tented Camp is all about mountain gorillas – set immediately adjacent to the Virunga Park boundary this tented camp was originally built as a research station, now it is the main starting point for Virunga mountain gorilla treks. As the name suggests, guests at Bukima sleep in platform tents, but by camping standards they are pretty plush with good sized beds and en-suite facilities (hot-bucket showers in command). The views from the tents – or anywhere in camp for that matter – are spectacular. To the south, the view is dominated by Mt. Mikeno, whose 4437m summit looms over the gorilla sector.
Across the valley is Nyiragongo volcano, whose lava lake colours the night sky with a red glow. Occasionally, the gorillas wander into the camp and while this is highly frowned up by park staff, it never ceases to impress the guests. An interesting feature near the camp is a lava tunnel which has created a good sized cave, a must for anyone with an urge to do a spot of spelunking in the Congo.