Safaris in Virunga National Park
Safaris in Virunga National Park are some of the most interesting tours one can book when traveling to Congo because they are filled with fun and exciting Adventures. Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest National park well known for its 2 active volcanoes Mount Nyamuragira and Mount Nyiragongo which has the world’s largest lava lake and the fact that it is a highly active volcano among the different virunga mountains, the mountain’s activity is still seen with toxic fumes that can be seen rising from the earth’s crust from the different vents on the sides of the mountain. Virunga National park makes it the most richly biodiverse national park from the plants’ species, vegetation zones, water bodies, amphibian and reptile species different mammals and primate species that can be seen during the Virunga National Park.
For tourists interested in participating in safaris in virunga national park, they will surely have an amazing time because of the fact that the Park has a diversity of wildlife species that include 78 amphibian species, 218 mammal species, 706 bird species, 109 reptile species, and 213 plant species among other wildlife species. Participating in the wildlife safaris in Virunga National Park will enable you to have an amazing time by viewing the different wildlife species as you participate in a number of activities that the park has been designed to ensure that the tourists will have the chance to see the different wildlife species.
Primate Species to find on Safaris to Virunga
The park is famous for housing the endangered mountain gorilla species that can be seen in the dense vegetation of the park but it should be noted that park houses a number of other primate species that can be seen some of which include; the chimpanzees, Golden monkeys, Dent’s Mona Monkey, De Brazza’s monkey, Olive baboon, Red colobus monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Hamlyn’s Monkey, Blue Monkey, Mantled Guereza that can be seen in the park during the different activities that are carried out in the park which include;
Gorilla trekking: Gorilla trekking in the park is one of the most rewarding activities that can be carried out in virunga because you will get to visit the different Congo gorilla families with their different interesting features, for example, Munyaga gorilla family which is best known for its bald gorilla known as Kadogo and Bilali an adult female of the group which gave birth to gorillas that lost their lives after being born, the gorilla family can be found around Bukima area of the park, Bageni gorilla group which is known for being the largest gorilla group in the park without any conflicts among other gorilla families in the park.
Unlike gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Gorilla trekking in Uganda where the gorilla trekking permits are 1500USD and 600USD respectively, the price of a gorilla trekking permit in Congo is 400USD which is quite cheaper compared to the two destinations. Still, in Virunga National Park, tourists can visit the Senkwenkwe gorilla orphanage where tourists will get the chance to spend time with the gorillas and become caretakers for the day by offering services like feeding the gorillas for instance by offering them bottled milk for the infants, playing with the gorillas among other activities that will offer an amazing time in the park.
Chimpanzees trekking: In the park, there are over 400 chimpanzee species in total with a number of chimpanzee habituated troops that can be trekked in the park. Chimpanzee trekking is an interesting activity that can be carried out in the park where you will get to spend an hour with the habituated gorilla troop where you will get to know the different facts of the playful primates like their feeding patterns, sleeping patterns, their sleeping patterns, how the young ones are taken care of by the adults among other interesting facts about chimpanzees.
Golden Monkey trekking: Golden monkey trekking can be carried out in the park in order for tourists to have a chance to see the golden monkeys. The golden-brown coated fur will catch the eyes of the tourists while they embark on their journey of tracking the golden monkeys. Some of the interesting facts you will get to know about the golden monkeys include;
- The dominant male in the group has all the rights of mating with the females
- The golden monkeys are quite different from the gorillas that construct new nests every night because they get to sleep in the same nests.
- The golden monkeys prefer eating fruit to bamboo
- The golden monkeys are found within the Albertine rift and are only found within the virunga massive along the different virunga mountains.
Nature walks: For other primate species in the park like the different monkey species like Dent’s Mona Monkey, De Brazza’s monkey, Red colobus monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Hamlyn’s Monkey, and Blue Monkey that can be seen during the nature walks in the park you will be able to see them swinging from one tree branch to another while in the park and you will also get the chance to see a number of other attractions.
There are different mammal species that can be seen within the park and some of the species include the African Bush Elephant, Hippopotamus, African buffalo, Okapi, Uganda Kob, Topi, giant forest hog, common warthog, giant pangolin, marsh mongoose, western hyrax, western tree hyrax, bush squirrel, lions, among other animal species and these can be seen during the different activities like;
Game drives: During the game drives, you will get the chance to see the different animal species like the herbivores grazing in the grasslands of the park like the zebras, elephants, bushbucks, Uganda kobs among other animal species. If you’re lucky enough you will also get the chance to see a number of carnivores like the leopards, hyenas, lions trying to catch prey which are the herbivores.
Amphibian and Reptile species: In the park you will also have a chance to see a number of amphibian and reptile species like the chameleon, African tree toad, xenorhinium, Rain forest frog, Rainbow toad, leptopelis kivuensis, the Nile crocodile and many other species that can be seen during the nature walks and the boat cruises scheduled in the park. During the boat cruise you will get to see the different reptile species that can be seen within the park and also a number of water birds and other bird species like can also be seen during the activity.
Virunga national park is a birder’s paradise and it’s the ideal place for tourists interested in participating in the wildlife safaris in Virunga. There are different bird species that can be seen in the park during the different activities like boat cruises, nature walks, hiking Mount Mikeno, but the park also organizes birding safaris within the park where you have the best opportunity to see the numerous bird species since the activity involves dedicating your time looking for different bird species and these can be seen within the park because it is a habitat to over 400 bird species like the bronze sunbird, northern puff back, common waxbill, thick-billed seed eater, mountain sooty, collared sunbird, bronze mannikin, olive woodpecker among other bird species.