Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is the home to two of some of the most active volcanoes in the world Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira and it home to the endangered mountain gorilla species. The park is by far the richest national park in Africa in terms of biodiversity with over 200 different types of primates, 700 bird species, savannah grasslands, swamps, marshes, lakes rivers and so many more making it a visitor paradise while in Africa which has caught the eyes of many tourists interested in visiting relatively undisturbed eco areas making it famous to a number of people worldwide.
Virunga national park history goes way back in 1925 when the then King Albert 1 established the park with the major aim of protecting the mountain gorillas that were at a danger of being poached when he gazetted over 7800km² of land to protect the wildlife species that were subjected to depletion due to an increase of poaching in the area. If you are looking for the best park to visit where all your nature’s desired can be met, virunga national park s the park to be. The park will give you a little bit of everything wildlife which will make your Congo safaris memorable.
HOW TO ACCESS VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK
Accessing virunga national park has been made easy with a number of options which was not the case in the previous years. Located in the eastern part of the democratic republic of Congo, You will have a chance to visit the park by using either road or air transport to reach the world’s magnificent old gem.
By using Air transport, Ethiopian Airlines has made it easy for clients who want to visit Virunga national park in the easiest way possible with their daily operations to Goma town from which is the easiest and closest town next to virunga national park.
From Goma town, the park personnel/ security personnel will pick you from the town and transfer you to Virunga national park where you will start your wildlife adventure while in the park. The essence of the security personnel to pick you from Goma is to make you feel safe and thus guaranteeing your security and throughout your entire trip to the beautiful park making the park a secure place for you to visit.
You can also access the park by using road transport which is another option that although takes a lot of time, it will save you money and enable you to see a number of attractions along the way. From Rwanda, you can pass through Gisenyi town which will take you to Goma district where the park personnel picks you from the town to the park
From Uganda, you will pass through Kisoro district the home of gorillas and proceed to Bunagana border post from which you will transfer to ‘‘Bukima’’ the gorilla trekking starting point in the park. At Bukima you will also be met by a park guide and the park guards/ security personnel to take you to the main headquarters of the park/ reception area.
Attractions in Virunga National Park
Virunga national park is all that matters when it comes to biodiversity. The park is home to a number of attractions that will make your Congo safari tour worth the try. Ranging from its wildlife, climate to its drainage features the communities around the park among other attractions as listed below;
Climate: Before you mention the gorillas and other mammal species in the park, one should point out the climate of Virunga national park that makes the park visited, conducive for the different activities that are carried out.
The climate of virunga is characterised with warm temperatures due to the equator and also some areas within the high altitudes of the park experience chilly weather which is also another attraction to the park the variability of the weather within the park makes it even more attractive to visit thus ensuring a number of visitors to flock the park.
The climate in the park has favoured plant growth which gives off lush green vegetation throughout the park making it one of the richest and beautiful parks n the country. The different water bodies present within the virunga national park that are also helpful in the modification of the climate within the park include Lake Kivu, Lake Edward, Lake Albert, River Semliki, River Congo that offer drinking water to the different mammal species in the park and also a habitat to 78 amphibian species among others.
Wildlife: What more can you ask for when you visit virunga national park, the park is not only home to 218 mammal species but also home to 706 bird species, 65 amphibian species and so on that can be seen at any time of the park. The park also boasts of the abundance of plant life of around 2077species including the grasslands, different tree types, shrubs and so on.
The different mammal species that can be seen within the park include the Uganda kob, the African buffaloes, the elephants, the lions, hippopotamus, leopard, the endangered okapi, bongo, warthog, and yellow-backed duiker among other mammal species.
If you are interested in knowing more about the park you can also read the facts about Virunga national park where you will have a chance to know more about the purpose of the establishment of the park, the different facts about the different attractions and so many more that will ensure you have the best memorable time of your life while in the park. With the number of wildlife species in the park, a number of them have gained world recognition as compared to other species, for instance, the mountain gorillas, the chimpanzees and other primates that can be trekked within the park.
Virunga Mountains: When you talk about virunga national park, the 8 virunga mountains come straight to your mind. The mountains are shared among three countries Uganda, Rwanda and the democratic republic of Congo. These mountains include Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Gahinga, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Muhabura, Mount Bisoke, Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Nyamuragira and Mount Mikeno that are found in Volcanoes national park, Mgahinga national park, and Virunga national park offer out of the world experiences and attractions that can be seen.
Among the 3 national parks that house the virunga mountains, one can decide to choose to participate in a number of activities like gorilla trekking in Congo, Rwanda gorilla tours, are mainly done on the different Virunga mountains that are the homes to a number of gorillas, golden monkey trekking in Rwanda which is carried out in volcanoes national park that you can carry out gorilla trekking in Uganda that is in mgahinga national park and also in Bwindi impenetrable national park,
The different virunga mountains in Congo that is mountain Nyamuragira mount Nyiragongo and mount Mikeno are all found in virunga national park which increases and brings out the beauty of the park. Interesting about the mountains is the fact that two of the three are active volcanoes that is mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira. Mountain Nyiragongo being the most active volcano in Africa followed by Nyamuragira have attracted a number of tourists to come and be part of the amazing experience of hiking mountain Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira.
Water Bodies: It is clear to assert that virunga national parks is Africa’s paradise when it comes to central African national parks, national parks in East Africa and Africa at large because of a number of attractions including the water bodies that will be seen while carrying out a Congo safari.
Among the different water bodies that can be seen within the park include swamps, lakes and rivers like Lake Kivu, Lake Edward, Lake Albert, River Semliki, river Congo that improve on the general appearance of the park’s landscape.
Activities in Virunga National Park
Gorilla trekking: The park is home to a number of habituated gorilla families in Congo that can be visited at any given time of the year. Gorilla trekking in Congo can be done in the park and it is the most popular tourism activities that can be carried out.
With gorilla trekking in the park, is one of the famous a number of Congo gorilla families for example kabirizi group with 19 members, Bageni group with 26 members being one of the biggest gorilla groups in the park. The gorilla trekking experience in Congo is cheaper compared to that of Uganda and Rwanda which should make you want to visit Congo in order to take part in the gorilla trekking experience at only 400USD which is relatively cheaper than that of Uganda at 600USD and Rwanda at 1500USD.
The experience will enable you to spend one hour with the gorillas understanding their behaviour while in the park which is quite rewarding because you will be able to understand the different ways of living of the gorillas; their feeding patterns, playtime, grooming and a number of activities that they carry out.
With gorilla trekking experience in the park, you will have the chance to visit the Senkwenkwe gorilla orphanage where you will have a chance to feed, play with a baby gorilla which is an amazing experience.
Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking in the park can also be carried out making their experience in the park worthy all of the pennies you are to spend in order to take a trip to the famous virunga national park. Chimpanzee trekking in Congo just like gorilla trekking where you visit habituated gorilla groups, the same applies for chimpanzee trekking where you will have a chance to spend time with habituated chimpanzee groups getting to know their character while in the wild. The playful primates will give you the best experience while in the park.
Chimpanzee habituation: Chimpanzee habituation can also be carried out where you will have a chance to participate in, the chimpanzee habituation process is cheap compared to chimpanzee trekking in the park and this involves accompanying the chimpanzee habituation team of virunga national park that focuses on training by researching the playful primates, understanding their behaviour and then training them by accustoming them to human presence and making them ready for the chimpanzee trekking process and visiting them. Here you will take part in the process of habituation in order to have an amazing experience.
Nature walks: These are another relaxing and rewarding activity that can be carried out in the park to ensure that you have a relaxing time. In the park you will find the nature walks rewarding from a number of attractions that can be seen including the water bodies where you will see a number of animals taking dips in the water like the hippopotami, the woodlands of the park are perfect vegetation types and destinations in the park for photography picnics among other activities.
Mount Nyiragongo hike: Mount Nyiragongo hike will give you utmost experience while in the park. Mount Nyiragongo hike is an active volcano that will give you out of the world experience when you hike up to its top where you will have a chance to see a number features like the active Nyiragongo crater where lava will be seen bubbling from the earth’s crust golden red in colour which is one of the most beautiful things that can be seen while on your expedition. With participating in the Nyiragongo mountain hike, you will understand the different facts of mount Nyiragongo and before you embark on a mount Nyiragongo mountain hike you find out the 11 things to know before hiking mountain Nyiragongo in order to have an amazing experience while in the park.
Birding: The park is home to over 700 bird species making it a birders paradise. Virunga national park is the best birding destination in Africa because of the numerous bird species both endemic to the Albertine rift and the migratory species. Therefore book your trip with our trusted tour company to ensure you have a fun filled birding experience. Among the bird species that can be seen while on your birding safaris include the Ruwenzori turaco, grey throated barbet, narrow tailed sterling and the African fish Eagle among other bird species that can make your birding experience in the park memorable.