Virunga National Park Congo – Gorilla Trekking & Nyiragongo Hike.
Planning for mountain gorilla Trekking & nyiragongo volcano hiking while on an African safaris? Congo gorilla safaris offers complete information to allow you visit virunga national park while on congo safari.
Virunga is the incredible true story of a group of brave people risking their lives to build a better future in a part of Africa the world’s forgotten and a gripping expose of the realities of life in the Congo. In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers – including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist – protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they’ve worked so hard to protect, with the filmmakers and the film’s participants caught in the crossfire.
About Virunga National Park
The Virunga National Park formerly named Albert National Park, is a 7,800-square-kilometre (3,000 sq. mi) National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
The park was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site since 1979. In recent years, poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population. The park is managed by the Congolese National Park Authorities; the Institute Congolese pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and its partner the Virunga Foundation, formerly known as the Africa Conservation Fund (UK).
When the Belgians granted Congo independence in 1960, the new state deteriorated rapidly, and so did Virunga. It wasn’t until 1969 when President Mobutu began to take a personal interest in conservation, that the park was revived. In the process, it was renamed Virunga National Park and the first Congolese Wildlife Authority was established.
The political situation in the DRC has changed exponentially since then. The park is back in the hands of the ICCN and enjoying the greatest resurgence of tourism and development in its history. International donors are investing in the development of the park’s infrastructure at unprecedented levels. Virunga’ s management is efficient and transparent, and morale among the rangers is at an all-time high.
Accessibility to Virunga National Park
The southern sector (Gorillas and Volcano) of Virunga National Park is easily accessible in a number of different ways the most common are:
- Overland via Uganda, cross the border in Bunagana, from where the Mountain gorilla sites Jomba and Bikenge are easily accessible within 1 hour.
- Overland via Rwanda, cross the border at Gisenyi/Goma, the border crossing is easy if you pre-arranged a visa, if not it will be difficult or expensive (280$ if bought at the border).
- Fly into Goma, from within the DRC many flights connect to Goma, from outside the DRC Entebbe is the only city connected by TMK. Once again make sure you have a pre-arranged visa.
Things to do In Virunga National Park
Climb Nyiragongo Volcano
This volcano, famous for its lava lake, is a technically easy climb from the direction of Goma. A trip to the top should take <6 hours, most climbers spend the night at the top. This also makes it possible to see the boiling lava by night, when it becomes even brighter. Check for Nyiragongo volcano Facts
Visit the Mountain Gorillas
The Mountain Gorillas are located in the Mikeno Sector, about a two and half our drive from Goma. They can also be approached from Bunagana (border of Uganda). The permit is $400, so slightly cheaper than in Uganda or Rwanda. The visits are also a bit more authentic and in smaller groups. Treks usually require 1-2 hours of hiking in each direction, depending where the mountain gorillas spent the previous night and the difficulty of the terrain. To safeguard the health of Virunga’s gorillas, visitors will be required to wear surgical masks (provided) when in the presence of gorillas. Time with the gorillas is strictly limited to one hour.
Rwenzori Mountain Trek
The Rwenzori Mountains are a snow capped mountain range in the north of Virunga National Park on the Border with Uganda. The highest peak in the range lies on the border and can be climbed from both countries. The trek to the glacier can be made in a 4-5 or 6 day trek. In order to start the trek visitors will need to travel to Beni by airplane (either from Goma or Entebbe) Check out for Rwenzori mountaineering trips like 11 Days Gorilla & Rwenzori mountaineering. .
Chimpanzee Trekking in Virunga
Guests staying at Mikeno Lodge can join this team on their daily visits to the chimpanzees. The day begins when a group of local trackers leave their camp at 4:30 am to locate where the chimpanzees spent the previous night. Lodge guests set out at 6:00 am to find the chimpanzees. Groups are limited to 4 people and time with the chimpanzees is restricted to one hour. The group now consists of 32 individuals.