Virunga National Park : Tourist Activities And Attractions : The popular Virunga National Park is situated in the Eastern Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the Albertine Rift Valley. The park was established in 1925, making it the oldest national park in Africa, ahead of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla Park. Mountain gorillas, two active volcanoes (Mount Nyamuragira and Mount Nyiragongo), a variety of bird and monkey species, and the Virunga National Park all support a range of novel tourist activities.
The park was included in Uganda’s list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of its wide variety. Civil wars have had a significant negative impact on Virunga National Park’s tourism industry for more than 20 years, which caused the park to be added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger. But the ICCN, the Rwandan government, and the tourism police have been working nonstop to restore order in the National park. The park is reportedly open to visitors, but all gorilla treks and hiking tours are led by armed park rangers. Ensure security and safety in Congo. Swamps, rain forests, and savannahs are all types of vegetation found in Virunga National Park.
TOP ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES IN VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK
A long list of sights to see and things to do awaits visitors on Congo safaris to the Virunga National Park, rewarding them with once-in-a-lifetime experiences. These consist of:
Mountain gorilla trekking
Trekking with mountain gorillas is the top travel experience that draws tourists to Virunga National Park. Trek through the dense, tall forests of the Virunga to encounter the rare, closely related primates that share over 90% of our genes. These primates are on the verge of extinction. According to estimates, Virunga Park is home to more than 300 mountain gorillas. To make trekking easier, the gorillas in Virunga Park are habituated into eight groups. The following gorilla families can be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:
- Munyaga, and
Each day, 60 gorilla permits are made available to tourists who want to see the gorillas. Only eight people are permitted to visit a gorilla family per day, as is the case in other gorilla destinations, and gorilla trekking is limited to an hour. Furthermore, in order to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you need a gorilla permit. It’s interesting that Congo gorilla permits are considerably less expensive at $450, making Congo the best gorilla safari destination for travelers on a budget.
To ensure the safety of these endangered primates, trekkers are informed of the guidelines before beginning their journey. These gorilla trekking rules include keeping a seven-meter distance from the gorillas, avoiding eye contact, not using flash photography, not littering in the park, not petting gorillas, staying with your group, not trekking gorillas when you’re sick, and not smoking, eating, or drinking in front of gorillas.
On foot, explore the splendor of this park, which is the oldest in Africa. In the Virunga National Park, nature walks offer you the chance to find a hidden treasure and give you a sense of how untouched the surrounding landscape is. There are various hiking trails in the forest that take you to various national park attractions. The caves, waterfalls, and streams can all be reached via trails. Look closely while taking a nature walk to find some medicinal plants that the locals use to treat various illnesses. Forest walks also give you the chance to see a variety of wild animals in Virunga Park, including golden monkeys, forest elephants, buffalo, and mountain gorillas. In order to protect yourself from deadly bites from ground insects, we advise you to wear closed shoes and long pants tucked into your stockings. A walking stick can also make it easier for you to move through the jungle, particularly during the rainy season when the ground is slick and muddy.
Mount Nyiragongo hiking
Take a hike to the top of the active Nyiragongo Volcano to see the largest lava lake, which is located at a height of 3,470 meters. One of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Conservation Area, Nyiragongo, is also one of the most visited. Mt. Karisimbi, Mt. Nyamuragira, Mt. Bisoke, Mt. Mikeno, Mt. Gahinga, Mt. Sabyinyo, and Mt. Muhabura are additional volcanoes. The best package to experience this active volcano, which last erupted in 2021, is the 3-Day Mount Nyiragongo Volcano. Strangely, visitors spend the night on the volcano’s slopes, giving them the chance to see the volcano glow at night. All hikers should arrive at the Kibatsi patrol village by 10:00 a.m., where the hike begins.
Another interesting activity in Virunga National Park is bird watching. The Virunga National Park is an Important Birding Area and is home to over 700 different bird species, some of which are uncommon to find elsewhere in the world. Olive Sunbird, Grey-throated Barbet, Rwenzori Batis, Yellow-billed Barbet, African Goshawk, Double-toothed Barbet, Great Blue Turaco, Madagascar Bee Eater, Narrow-tailed Starling, Skimmers, Bitterns, Ducks, Herons, Narrow-tailed Starling, and Strip-breasted Tit are just a few of the birds to see in this rain forest park. The best time to go birding safari in Virunga National Park is early in the day when the birds are rising. For birdwatchers visiting Virunga National Park, binoculars are strongly advised.
ACCOMMODATIONS: WHERE TO STAY
For your overnight stay, pick one of the renowned lodges or camps in Virunga National Park. Mien Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Ingagi Park View Lodge, Bukima Tented Camp, Lulimbi Tented Camp, and Kibumba Camp are a few of the best places to stay in Virunga National Park. On the volcano’s slopes, hikers to Nyiragongo Mountain lodge in Bandas and tents. NOTE: There are no five-star hotels or lodges on the slopes of the Nyiragongo Volcano.
In general, a trip to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is worthwhile. Focus East Africa Tours offers inexpensive adventure experiences such as hiking the Nyiragongo Volcano and gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park. For more information and reservations for Virunga National Park, get in touch with us.