Mountain Gorillas in Virunga
Mountain Gorillas in Virunga: The Park is named after the 8 Virunga Volcanoes and its located in Eastern Democratic republic of Congo. It covers a total of about 7800 square Kilometers.
The park was established in 1925 which makes it the oldest national park in Africa and second oldest in the world after Yellowstone in the USA. It was initially established to protect the endangered mountain gorillas but later a lot more animals were discovered and are also protected here.
Gorillas are the most interesting thing that travelers desire in this park. Virunga, Bwindi, Mgahinga and Volcanoes national parks are the only areas in the world where you can track these endangered mountain gorillas.
What makes Virunga more interesting is the fact that it is virgin and is still visited by a few people which makes it less crowded.
Trekking gorillas has been disrupted on several occasions but first was after independence when the park management deteriorated and the tourism activities came to a stand still for a long time.
Since 2013 the situation has been stable and the DRC has 6 gorilla families ready to be tracked. A gorilla permit in the Virunga cost USD 400 compared to USD 600 in Uganda and USD 1500 in Rwanda making it even cheaper to track gorillas in the DRC.
The habituated families are kabirizi family, which was the first to train with 34 members in the Bukima sector of the national park.
The other families include Humba family led by Humba silver back, Rugendo family led by Rugendo silverback, Mapuwa family led by Mapuwa silver back, Lulengo family headed by Lulengo as a dominant silver back and finally Munyanga family which was open to trekkers in 2008.
Like in Uganda and Rwanda, only 8 people are allowed to visit a group of gorilla per day and will only be given one hour with the gorillas.
Safety measure also the same to prevent any risk of infecting the gorillas since they are prone to human infections and have low immunity.