Virunga National Park Reopens for Tourism
Virunga National Park Reopens for Tourism: The long-awaited news is here. Africa’s oldest national park is set to reopen its gates for visitors on the 1st of April 2021. The Virunga National Park saw closure in April 2020 where every entity was responding to the global pandemic that hit the whole world and was spreading vastly and claiming lives. This global pandemic of Corona virus needed some standard operating procedures to be put in place so that the spread could be curbed.
Virunga national park Congo is a home to the mountain gorillas that are closely related to humans and this virus posed a threat to these wild gentle giants. There was fear of easy spread of the virus from humans to the mountain gorillas thus the decision to close the gates til further notice.
Seeing as the world has now adjusted to the current situation and measures have been put in place to limit the spread of the virus along with the hope of a vaccine soon to come, the park authorities are now in agreement to resume the tourism activities in the Virunga national park starting 1st April 2021. There were a number of booked tours to the Virunga national park throughout the year of 2020 however, guests were advised not to cancel but rather postpone to a later time so as to not miss out on the chance to visit the mountain gorillas. The director of ICCN along with the director of Virunga national park, Emmanuel saw it was about time to make this communication official.
This reopening will be a gradual process where you will see the Nyiragongo hike and the Kibumba tented camp as the first places for visit in the park. The Mount Nyiragongo and the Tchegera island has been open and receiving visitors in the past months post Covid-19 however without more restrictions like Tchegera Island has been open for both day and night stays while the Mount Nyiragongo hike has been available for booking on Saturdays with a minimum of 12 pax but with this reopening, Mount Nyiragongo hike, Kibumba tented camp and the Tchegera Island will be open for booking on a daily basis and will be open for both direct bookings through the park as well as the tour operators. The Nyiragongo hike and Tchegera island continue to run as in the past conditions until they are officially reopened on 1st April 2021.
Like the past days before Covid, all safaris in Virunga national park have had departure days and times from Goma with the Virunga security team, the 2 packages that will be ready on the 1st of April will be having a daily departure from the Goma border at 7 am for the Nyiragongo hike and 10 am for the tours headed to Kibumba tented camp as in the past. The other safari packages offered by Virunga national park headed to Bukima and Mikeno lodge are expected to be ready to reopen on the 1st of June 2021 with a few changes that will be communicated. The Virunga national park cannot anticipate as far to tell exactly what the conditions for the Le petit Mikeno package, The Great ape and the Virunga classic will be then but the plan is to reopen by 1st June and that will be communicated soon.
The vehicles headed to the Virunga national park for these safaris, whether private or group transport will be expected to be in the Virunga security convoy. A few requirements have been put in place to ensure the smooth running of the park as you protect the mountain gorillas for example, every visitor will be expected to have a valid negative Covid-19 test result before they are allowed to track the mountain gorillas. You will also be required to have on a face mask as you trek the mountain gorillas with routine temperature checks.
More standard operating procedures will be communicated soon on how to manage this post Covid-19 travel/ visit to the park. We continue to thank you all for the patience for those who postponed their travel to when the park reopens and also reach out to the others interested in this travel, Virunga national park is anxiously waiting for you to reach out to book your Congo tour.