Virunga National Park was the first created park in Africa to protect the most visited endangered mountain gorillas and other wildlife species plus the two active volcanoes namely Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira and became a world heritage site in 1994. The park is located in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo in Albertine Rift valley, at an altitude ranging from 680meter in the River valley to the highest peak of Mount Stanley 5109meter in the snow Rwenzori mountain above sea level. However, from north to south it adjusts about 300-kilometre-long to Uganda’s border and Rwanda in east and park’s land covers about 8090 square kilometres which were established in 1925 as a nature reserve with aim of preserving wildlife from the so-called primitives.

Virunga National Park

The park is located in the Nile waterbody of which the northern sector encloses part of the Semiliki River basin, montane rain forest of the Albertine Rift valley, the central sector encloses with Queen Elizabeth national park about two-thirds of Lake Edward and continues to the international border with Uganda in East up to the restricted corridor which raises from 3-5 kilometers width and lies along the lake’s western bank that connects both northern and southern sector of the national park. To note the southern sector stretches towards the shores of lake kivu and encloses Mount Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo, Mount Mikeno with montane rain forest on their slopes and the park’s average temperatures is at lower altitudes that vary from 23 to 28 degrees Celsius and higher altitudes varying from 16 up to 24 degrees Celsius. The rare dropping temperatures is below 14 degree Celsius above the sea level.

Virunga national park is sanctuary for game reserve and forest reserve a home of 2077 plant species of over 264tree species and 230plants are endemic to the Albertine Rift. The park is dominated with wetland, grassland, a montane forest that ranges between 1,800 and 2,800meter long in the southern sector of the park which stands over with up to 25meter high of the tree species. The park’s Virunga conservation area borders with mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.

Activities in Virunga National Park

Virunga national park offers the most amazing and fantastic activities such as mountain gorilla trekking, Mount Nyiragongo hiking, nature walk, bird watching, chimpanzee habituation, landscape viewing, visiting the local people and many.

Mountain gorilla trekking: This is best-done activity in the world and the most done experience in Virunga national park and is the 4th park where mountain gorillas can be habituated from in East African countries. And the other surviving national park with mountain gorillas include Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park found in the south western part of Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. Virunga national park is so close to mgahinga gorilla national park and the very park is stipulated in different habituated gorilla families. In Virunga there five gorilla families where gorilla trekking takes place and trek begins early enough in morning hours after visitors breakfast, they take you through short briefing about the lifestyle of mountain gorillas and after our guide will take you through their natural inhabits ,as you trek you will have high chances of viewing or spotting other species like small primates like chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys , tree species and once you have located these great apes you’re given one hour to observe them ,the way they behave, play, display their nests high  and many more. Congo gorilla trekking permits cost USD400 per person.

Mount Nyiragongo hike: Travellers may think that only encountering in trekking mountain gorilla is the only amazing experience here but also there is remarkable hiking of the Nyiragongo volcanoes which is the most active largest lave lake in the world. Congo’s economy is blessed to have this active lave lake which has impacted a lot on Congo tourism hub and the number of tourists is increasing because of these two active volcanoes and gorillas. Historically it was recorded that this volcano has erupted over 34 times and the last one occurred in 2002 when the lava lake drained and flowed to the closest communities ending up destroying people’s houses and many went armless but this has been ended. Hiking up to the summit of the volcano there is the possible gaining of clear view of the dazzling lake with lots of fumes ‘’ melilite nephelinites’ ’, rolling hills, tree species, mammals and many more.

Virunga National Park
Gorilla in Virunga National Park

Landscape viewing: Virunga national park rewards with clear viewing of spectacular montane landscape in the neighbouring countries like Rwanda’s mountains and Uganda’s snow Rwenzori mountains, viewing of Virunga conservation area together with the afro-alpine vegetation of tree ferns and much more.

Chimpanzee habituation: Virunga national park is an open place for chimpanzee habituation which starts in the morning hours. This is one of the best activity done in East Africa and it is quite an exciting experience which takes a full day in the forest while observing the lifestyle of these great apes, the way they behave, grooming themselves, playing as you learn how they live in their natural habitats. The best time to visit Virunga national park is throughout the year.

Accommodation in Virunga national Park

Virunga national park offers beautiful accommodation facilities comprised of luxury, mid-range and budget such lodges include; Lulimbi Tented Camp, Nyiragongo Volcano Summit shelter, Bukima Tented Camp, Tchegera Island Tented Camp, Mikeno Lodge and many more.

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Virunga National Park

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