Virunga NP camps - Mikeno Lodge
Mikeno Lodge is the most permanent and comfortable of all the accommodation on offer in Virunga. Spacious stone thatched cottages, each with their own private forest clearing in front are generously spaced - while inside there is a fireplace that is lit each evening, a cosy sitting area, large bed, shower and loo and even a bath to luxuriate it. While all the other camps are perfectly functional there is something of a nod to the utilitarian.
Mikeno is at Rumangabo which is the Park HQ and nerve-centre of the Virunga and offers ample opportunity to witness the conservation effort and speak to some of the people directly involved in it.
The Congohounds are quartered here - a collection of sniffer dogs imported from Canada and trained (with the promise of a tube of liver pâté as reward, yum, yum) to track down ivory, ammunition, weapons and people. Their handlers are generally very willing to show off their charge's incredible skills. Also a short stroll away is the Senkwekwe Cente - the only facility in the world that caters for orphaned Mountain Gorillas and Mikeno guests are free to wander down unaccompanied to the observation towers and see what the young Gorillas are up to - which appears to be largely a combination of testing their human carers strength and attempting to hug them to death.
Chimpanzees are resident in the area and with a bit of luck will be near enough to justify an early morning sortie to find them rising from their nests before heading out in to the unfeasibly thick vegetation where they will spend the day foraging. Blue and Colobus Monkeys are also around while birders will delight in the presence of the likes of Vanga Flycatcher, White-headed Woodhoopoe and Double-toothed Barbet moving through the canopy.
Photo Credit Mikeno Lodge Brent Stirton
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