Virunga national park is found in the Democratic republic of Congo, the park is boasted with panoramic landscapes and renowned for being Africa’s first established national park, the park was gazetted in 1925 by King Albert 1 of Belgium and UNESCO recognized it as a world heritage site in 1979.
Virunga national park knowing “Virunga” came after Congo gained it’s Independence from Belgian by President Mobutu who took concern in the conservation in 1969, when president Mobutu lost power Virunga national park was endangered and in fact UNESCO changed it’s status to an endangered site as heavy poaching occurred in the park.
The park is located near the areas of Karisimbi, Mikeno, and Visoke volcanoes which were established to protect the mountain Gorillas that were facing extinction as a result of poaching.
The park was extended to Congo and was named Albert national park in 1929, but during 1960 the park was divided as Congo and Rwanda by the end of the decade the park was almost half of the original size.
Today Virunga national state has recovered from its endangered status and is one of the top tourists destinations in Congo
Activities at Virunga national park
They’re very few mountain Gorillas left in the world they inhabit in three countries, Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republican of Congo
And one of the main tourists activities of the Congo basin is gorilla trekking, this activity can also be done at the virunga national park and tourists can some across other primates such as chimpanzees, blue monkey, colobus monkeys among others There are six gorilla families habituated for trekking,
Virunga national park harbors many animals some of which are endemic to this area or Congo while on a game drive at virunga tourists are able to see animals such as Forest elephants, forest buffalos, Okapi, giraffes, Thomas kobs and many more
Virunga national park is an ideal place for bird enthusiasts some of the example of birds found at Virunga are; Madagascar bee eater, double toothed barbet, yellow billed barbet, narrow tailed starling, grey throated barbet
Nature guided walks
Tourists at the Virunga national park can take guided nature walks to the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage, the nature guided walks also take you to various interesting sites depending on which h walking trail you take.
Visiting the chimpanzees habituation is another interesting activity at virunga national park, this was started in 1987 by a Zoologists named Frankfurt, to see chimpanzees you must require a permit at a
A part from the dramatic wildlife, Virunga national park offers tourists a volcanic experience through hiking to it very active volcano said to have erupted 34 times. The volcano is called Nyirangongo and last erupted in 2002; the great magnificent lava lake is striking while you can also view the entire park down its simply breathtaking.
Best time to visit virunga national park
Virunganational park can be visited all year round but the rains sometimes unexpectedly fall, so it’s better to visit during dry season from June to September to January. The dry season will also favor tour movement as to can’t get stuck in mud.
Where to stay at virunga
There are many places to select where to stay from some of the lodges are;Mikeno lodge, Tchegera island tented camp, Lulimbi tented camp, Bukima tented camp, Nyirangongo summer shelters among the rest.
How to get to Virunga national park
For international visitors, it’s easier to access the park via Rwanda and then get into a 3 hours drive to the border Goma town then get to the park. Alternatively tourists can fly to any nearby city of the park and the use road transport.