Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park is famously known as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Uganda and Rwanda. This is also the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area and also Africa’s oldest national park. This park covers about 7800KMincluding forests, savannas plains, swamps, valleys, active volcanoes and so much more.

The Virunga is commonly known as home to about a half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas. Its also a haven to other Great Ape species, eastern lowland gorillas and chimpanzees. This makes Virunga the only park in the world to host three Great Apes. And also the projecting inhabitant of the park; the Okapi, yet also another endangered species that is more closely related to the giraffe. Other wildlife; school of hippopotami, forest elephants and numerous rare bird species.

Virunga National Park is comprised of three sectors:

  • The northern sector main feature is the Rwenzori Mountain that border Uganda, at the height of over 5000 meters (16,400 ft), with permanently snow-capped summits.
  • Central Sectors dominated by Lake Edward and the Ishasha river valley with elephant, buffalo, warthogs, and topi
  • Southern sector dominated by the mountain gorillas that live on the edges on the dormant Mikeno volcano at 4380m/14,557 ft which also makes it ideal habitat for chimpanzees and abundant species of monkey.

Across the valley to the west sits Nyiragongo volcano (3470m/11,382 ft). that treats hikers to the world’s largest lava lake. But to most when you talk about the Virunga National park in Congo only 2 things come to mind Mt. Nyiragongo and the gorillas.

Gorilla tracking is very popular in the park and a must do activity. This activity starts at the park entrance at 7:00 am, and one can only know the group to track the morning of tracking after Briefing. All trackers usually depart from Bukima Patrol Post in the company of rangers. Treks require 1-2 hours of hiking depending on the direction, movement of the gorillas the previous night and the challenging terrain. Always remember that only 1 hour is permitted in the company of the gorillas.

The age limit for tracking Gorillas is 15 years of age. The tracking permit doesnt cover the Visa fee or transportation and accommodation.

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