Virunga National Park, Congo
Virunga National Park, Congo

Things to Do in Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park Activities

Gorilla trekking in Congo

Congo is one of three in the countries in the world where you find mountain gorillas living in their natural habitat. Mountain Gorilla Trekking is therefore the main tourist activity to do in the Virunga National Park.

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Mountain Nyiragongo Hike

Mount Nyiragongo is an active volcano found in the Virunga national Park. Nyiragongo last erupted in 2002 and currently has a red hot lava lake on its crater. Hiking to the top of mountain Nyiragongo and spending the night at the top of this mountain is indeed as thrilling as can be.

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Chimpanze habituation and tracking

Chimpanzees are one of the incredible primates that live in the tropical rain forests on the Virunga Mountains in the DRC. Chimpanzee habituation was started by Frankfurt Zoologist in 1987in Tongo forest in the Virunga region of Congo where he developed an 80km trail in the forest. After 2 years, there were more than 50 chimps available for tracking but the activity was interfered and limited by insecurity of rebels and poachers. There were no more tourism activities in the region including chimp habituation till 2014 when a team from the local community that was trained by Frankfurt restarted the activity. The team visits the chimps in the forest on a daily basis at 4:30am to check where their spent their nights before taking the visitors.  Today, there are 32 chimpanzees in the forest which are available for tracking at a fee of 100USD per person. Book for your chimp trekking permit at Mikeno logde. Chimp tracking starts at 6:00am for guests and a group of only 4 people visits a chimp family and once they spot the primates, they will interact with them; watching how the chimps de-nest, hunt, brreastfeed and more behaviors.  After an hour of this interaction, guests leave group for other activities or to relax.  People interested in chimp tracking are normally encouraged to sleep at Mikeno lodge to be early for the activity. Any individual with chronic diseases such as a cold, fever, diarrhea and persistent sore throat should not go for chimp tracking since these can easily be transferred to and lead to death of the primates.

Nature walks in Virunga National Park

Walking through the trails in the rain forests of Virunga national park is one of the spectacular activities to do on a safari to DRC. As the ranger guide leads you through the forests, you will get to the most silent corners and be entertained by beautiful songs of birds. Also, expect to spot some of the park’s residents like the monkeys, elephants, buffaloes, lions, zebra, giraffes and crocodiles and hippos at Lake Edward. You may also spot gorillas if you are lucky.

Visiting Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage center

Senkwekwe orphanage center was established in 2010 to help in taking care of orphaned gorillas that were rescued from poachers in Virunga. Named after one of the silverbacks that were killed in 2007, the orphanage is located in Rumangabo near the park headquarters and Mikeno lodge. It is the only gorilla orphanage center in the whole world and boasts to have professional vet doctors, chefs and more staff to give the required care to these gorillas. Senkwekwe orphanage centre started with 2 orphan gorillas Ndakasi and Ndeze. Today, the number has increased to about 6 gorillas; Ndeze, Ndakasi, Kaboko, Yalala, Matabishi. They have been habituated and a visit to the orphanage is an irreplaceable extraordinary part of the safari.

Birding in Virunga National Park

Virunga national park is a home to over 700 bird species. This indicates that bird lovers would have a great experience during bird watsching in the Park. Bird watching is done in varied vegetations where a number of bird sightings are found; it could be in the mountainous areas, the swamps, the rainforests and all other landscapes. Some of the bird species there are white-headed wood hoopoe, blue-spotted wooddove, strange weaver, mountain greenbul, black-headed waxbill and chestnut throated apalis among others.

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Landscape viewing

The best views of the landscape come out clear when at Virunga national park in the DRC. There are multiple landscapes to view including the Nyiragongo volcano, Rwenzori mountains national park, forests and grasslands in and around Virunga, waterbodeies, eroded valleys in Ishango and Sinda and other beautiful places as far the eyes can see.