Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of Africa’s blessed parks due to its rich and unrivalled biodiversity making it a top destination for tourists with a penchant for Mountain Gorilla trekking.
The park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of her ecological importance, was established in 1925 during the colonial rule of Belgium’s King Albert 1 and named Albert National Park before it was later changed to bear a name resonating with DR Congo community – Virunga National Park in 1970 which, at first, was a gazetted zone to protect Mountain Gorillas which were under threat.
In the present day, Virunga National Park has popularized DR Congo as a top destination for tourists despite political upheaval witnessed in this part of the African continent over the years. Let’s take a trip to the Virunga National Park and explore the main activities you could engage in once here.
Mountain Gorilla trekking
Mountain gorilla trekking safaris to Virunga National Park are the most popular activities that tourists engage in. The park boast of being among few others in the continent to house the endangered gorillas and offers Mountain gorilla trekking safaris at very reasonable costs. The park is also less congested which makes the safari more exciting.
Although there are not so many Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park, there are six families living here which attract thousands of visitors to DR Congo every year. The most popular family to tourists on the gorilla trekking safari is the Kabirizi family because of its dominant polygamy silverback which boasts of the largest gorilla family with at least three dozen members.
Besides Mountain gorilla trekking safaris, Chimpanzees tracking safari is the second most loved activity in DR Congo’s Virunga National Park. Tourists have fallen in love with the behaviour of Chimpanzees which are aloof with what the visitors are doing in the rainforest.
There is nothing as refreshing and relaxing as taking a walk in the shade of thousands of trees. Virunga National Park gives you exactly this with its tropical rainforest densely covered by vegetation.
For adventurers, an early morning expedition to learn and discover more about the beauty of the park’s forest is well-deserving. The nature walk has a setout trail that leads adventurers to different parts of the forest, all of which have something magical in them.
Virunga National Park’s varied topography and habitats have attracted thousands of birds species setting the stage for a bird watching expedition which has already recorded about 706 sightings of rare bird species.
However, if you have never seen the famous but rare Grey throated barbet, Madagascar Bee-eater, Narrow-tailed starling, Ruwenzori Turaco, African fish eagle; book a date with DR Congo’s Virunga.
DR Congo is the host to the world’s most active volcano; Nyiragongo volcano tucked deep in Virunga National Park. Hiking at the peak of Nyiragongo is a popular activity for tourists as they see first-hand how volcanic eruptions force out tonnes of very hot lava into a lake – lava lake – all year round.
The Nyiragongo hike, however, is not what you would describe as an average person’s hike fantasy; it calls for courage, bravery and a sense of risk-taking.