Virunga national park in Congo is the most charming national park in the democratic republic of Congo is located in the eastern region of the country. Virunga the oldest national park in Congo stretches from north to Lake Edward and Rwenzori Mountain covering an area of 7800 square kilometers. Virunga national park in Congo lieing in Virunga conservation areas shared by Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park is an important ecological system famous for harboring the highly endangered mountain gorillas.
Attractions in Virunga National Park
Interesting attractions in Virunga national park in Congo include
Mountain gorillas: Virunga national park is a home an estimated population of 680 mountain gorillas, these mountain gorillas are endangered animals only found in four locations in Africa that is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga national park of Uganda, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Virunga national park itself. These big primates in Virunga national park in Congo live in 8 families where the amazing gorilla trekking takes place.
Mammals and reptiles: Virunga park is great ecological system harboring a variety of animals such as over 96 species of mammals such as African bush elephant, hippopotamus, African buffalo. Approximately 109 reptiles including snakes, chameleons, geckos, crocodiles and over 65 reptile species such as frogs, Anthracosauri, torrent salamander.
Primates: Virunga park is covered with thick forest vegetation cover which is home to a variety of primates such as chimpanzees, golden monkeys, Dent’s Mona monkey, blue monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, De Brazza’s monkey, Central African red colobus, mantled guereza, olive baboon and grey-cheeked mangabey.
Birdlife: Virunga park is home to numerous bird species over 706 in number, these colorful bird species include Kivu ground thrush, collared apalis, mountain masked apalis, dusky crimson-wing, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, red-faced woodland warbler.
Volcanoes: Virunga national park in Congo lies on two active volcanoes which are part of the 8 Virunga volcanoes, these volcanoes of Mount Nyiragongo at an altitude of 3,462 metres and Mount Nyamuragira at altitude of 3,063 metres are covered by vibrant vegetation cover which harbors mountain gorilla and numerous animals. Hiking on these volcanoes is one of the exciting activities in the park.
Batwa pygmies: The Batwa pygmy hunter-gatherers were the ancient inhabitant of the forest of Virunga volcanoes until when they were forcefully evicted during the gazetting of Virunga national park in Congo. Currently small population of these pygmies still live on the out skirts of the park where they still practice their local ways of living.
Dian Fossey’s grave: Dian Fossey an American conservationist who successfully brought mountain gorillas to the attention of the world, though she did a great work she was unfortunately murdered in her home and because of her extreme love for mountain gorilla she was buried in the forest amongst them. This grave is visited by many trekkers.
Activities for Virunga National Park in Congo
Virunga national park offers breath taking safari activities which include
Mountain gorilla trekking: Mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga national park is the activity most of the tourists participate in, the trekking permit costs USD 400 per trek for one hour with the habituated mountain gorillas. Mountain gorilla trekking takes you through one of the 8 gorilla families in the park that is Kabirizi, humba, Rugendo, Mapuwa, Lulengo, Munyaga, Nyakamwe, and Bageni gorilla families.
Nature walks: Nature walks in Virunga park are amazing as you encounter the beautiful landscape and nature of the park, on nature walks in the deep forests you get to see birds and animals.
Nyiragongo Hiking: Hiking the mist-filled mount Nyiragongo is one of the unforgettable experience you can only get in Virunga national park, following numerous trails you get to see birds, chimpanzees, olive baboons and many creatures.
Bird watching: Virunga national park is densely covered with thick forest cover which harbors over 7066 bird species such as Rwenzori turaco, Rwenzori batis, Archer’s ground robin, red-throated alethe, Kivu ground thrush, collared apalis which are seen while in the park.
Chimpanzee tracking: While chimpanzee trekking in Virunga national park you follow trails in the deep forests were you get to see chimpanzees playing and on the same tracking luckily you can see other primates like golden monkeys, Dent’s Mona monkey, blue monkey, Hamlyn’s monkey, De Brazza’s monkey, Central African red colobus and many more.