Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest National Park and home to the world’s largest lava lake found on top of Mount Nyiragongo one of the most active volcanoes in the world that has erupted over 32 times. The park has gained popularity over the years because of the fact that it houses a number of the endangered mountain gorillas, two of the most active volcanoes in the world mount Nyiragongo and mount Nyamuragira, a number of primate species like chimpanzees, golden monkeys which are also endangered primate species that can only be found in Virunga National Park, mgahinga national park and Volcanoes national park which are all found within the virunga massif. During your Congo tour, you will have an amazing time when you choose the park as the ultimate destination of your wildlife safaris in Congo because of the numerous activities that can be carried out for you to see a number of attractions while you visit Congo.
Attractions in Virunga National Park
- Primate species: Virunga National Park is home to a number of primate species that can be seen in the park including the endangered mountain gorilla species, the endangered golden monkeys, and the chimpanzees. In the park, you can also have the opportunity to see a number of other monkey species during your Congo safaris in the park among which can be seen include the black and white colobus monkey species, the vervet monkey, Mona monkey, Dent’s monkey among other primate species in the park.
- Mammal species: There are a number of mammal species that can be seen in the park because the park is the perfect habitat for the mammal species that can be seen in the grasslands, the dense vegetation which acts as a habitat and a source of food and shed to the animals. The park is a home to 218 mammal species and among the different mammals that can be seen include; Uganda Kob, the African buffaloes, the elephants, the lions, hippopotamus, leopard, the endangered okapi, bongo, warthog, and yellow-backed duiker among other bird species which will make your tour in virunga national park memorable.
- Bird species: The park is a home to over 400 bird species that can be seen during birding in the park, some of the bird species that can be seen include the water birds like the herons, ibisis, egrets, shoebills, ospreys, gulls, francolins, warblers, weavers, pelicans that can be seen around the swamps and the lakes in the park and other bird species that can be seen in the park.
- Other wildlife species that can be seen in the park that will ensure you have memorable experiences with a number of attractions that can be seen which include 109 reptile species, 65 amphibians which can be seen around and in Lake Kivu, Lake Edward, Lake Albert, river Semliki, river Congo where the different species can be seen during the different activities in the park.
Activities in virunga national park
- Gorilla trekking: Gorilla trekking in virunga national park is one of the most rewarding activities that can be carried out to ensure you have an amazing time during your tour in the park. The gorilla trekking experience in virunga national park involves tourists tracking the endangered mountain gorillas that are habituated into the different Congo gorilla families which make it easy for trekking to be carried out. It should be noted that the main reason for the establishment of the national park was to protect the endangered mountain gorillas that were being poached because of the high demand of their products and a number like skins, palms for making ashtrays and many product, some of the gorillas were also smuggled to a number of European countries to zoos which drastically decreased their numbers in the park. For a person to participate in gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park they should have obtained a gorilla trekking permit at a fee of 400USD which is cheaper compared to gorilla trekking in Uganda which is 600Usd and from 1st July it will increase to 700USD and gorilla trekking in Rwanda at a fee of 1500USD. Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park involves tourists hiking Mount Mikeno where you will access the different gorilla families in the park and some of the notable Congo gorilla families that can be tracked while in the park include Munyaga gorilla family which is famous for its bald-headed gorilla kadogo and Bilali an adult female who gave birth to twins which died after a few minutes on earth. There are other interesting gorilla families in the park that can be tracked which include Bageni group which is known for being the largest gorilla family with 26 members, Humba gorilla family which is the only gorilla family in the park whose members leave peacefully among one another. The activity in virunga national will ensure that you get to know more about the gentle giants in the park by spending one hour with them understanding their behaviour. When you get to the different gorilla families, you will spend an hour with the primates observing their behaviour how they co-exist with one another, their diet while in the park, hierarchical systems of the primates in their gorilla families, their grooming patterns among other interesting facts about the primate species. At the end of your gorilla trekking experience in virunga national park, you will take pictures of the primates and then hike back to your starting point.
- Chimpanzee tracking: Chimpanzee trekking in the park can also be carried out among the different activities in virunga national park. There are a number of chimpanzee habituated gorilla families in the park that tourists can track in order to have an amazing time in the park. With chimpanzee trekking, you will get the chance to spend time with the playful primates understanding their understanding of their behaviour by observing them how they carry out their daily activities in the wild. You will have the chance to find out the feeding patterns of the primates, their grooming patterns of the primates in the park among a number of interesting features of the primates.
- Chimpanzee habituation: Chimpanzee habituation in the park is another rewarding activity that can be carried out in Virunga national park where you will get to accompany a group of trainers and researchers in order to get them used to human presence. During chimpanzee trekking in the park, tourist will not only observe the chimpanzees being trained but you will also participate in training the primates. Chimpanzee habituation is an all day long activity which give you the chance to know more about the primates which will enable you to have an amazing time understanding their behaviour, how they react to first-time habituation, how they react during the training, how they react to the trainers among their different reactions that will make you an amazing experience during the activity in the park.
- Guided nature walks: The guided nature walks in the park will ensure you have an amazing time during your Congo safaris with a number of attractions that can be seen during the walks in the park. With h the guided nature walks in the park, you will get to see a number of animals grazing in the plains, exceptional views of the mountains and the grasslands which are great for photography and the cool breeze from the water bodies in the park.
- Mount Nyiragongo hike: Hiking Mount Nyiragongo is one of the most interesting activities in virunga national park that tourists can visit to have an amazing time during their Virunga national park tour. Mount Nyiragongo is one of the most active mountains in the world with the largest lava lake in the world. Interesting about the hike that at the summit is the fact that you will have a closer look at the lake from a distance where it is safe for you in order for a safe and comfortable activity, you will get to see lava boiling underneath the earth’s crust, you will also hear and feel the earthquake underneath the earth’s crust hence a rewarding experience during your safaris.