Virunga Gorilla Trekking tours: Virunga national park is Africa’s oldest national park located in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a World Heritage Site as of 1979 and also put on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 1994. Virunga National park is popular for harboring the last remaining mountain gorillas of the world. The mountain gorilla is an endangered species that according to the ICCN was previously classified as critically endangered but with time is believed to be having a steady growth in population removing them from that list to endangered species. The estimated population of these apes is about 1,000 individuals in the entire world. The mountain gorilla is found in 4 national parks but only 3 countries that is in Virunga National park of Congo as I mentioned earlier, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda then in Uganda, you can visit the mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the Mgahinga National park. All these gorilla parks fall in the Virunga massif which is a thickly forested and mountainous area that gives a perfect home to this animal as that is the preferred habitat. The mountain gorillas are fond of staying in hilly terrain just like their name suggests “Mountain Gorillas”.
Virunga Gorilla Trekking Tours
There is another type of gorillas that can also be found in the Democratic Republic of Congo known as the lowland gorillas that stay in flat places thus their name. These gorilla species are from one family but differ in terms of size, fur, habitat preference. Mountain gorillas of Virunga are the friendlier gorillas of all the other gorillas in the gorilla park. They are so accustomed to visitors because of the habituation efforts of the Virunga rangers team. Choosing to trek gorillas in Virunga can be backed by the numbers as on your one visit to Virunga National park for gorilla trekking, you can encounter up to a family of 40 individuals going about their day. How fascinating is that! You will get to spend 1 hour with them as you may wish however mainlining the 6 meters distance and on acceptance by the ranger guides. The trek in Virunga starts from Kibumba tented Camp for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours before you reach a gorilla family and these treks start exactly 9 am so be sure to have checked in with the tourism office in time to join the team going for the gorilla trek otherwise late arrivals will not be allowed to join the convoy to the starting point that means a lost trip as there will be no refund.
Virunga national park has two sectors where gorilla trekking is done that is Kibumba sector and the Bukima sector. The most commonly visited is the Kibumba sector that has a great accommodation choice; Kibumba tented camp which is classified as a mid-range accommodation and this is the nearer sector from Goma. The Bukima sector also has 2 great accommodation choices that is Bukima Tented camp for the midrange clients and Mikeno lodge for luxury clients. These accommodations are up to the tourism standard with wifi, hot baths, and continental dishes. The most commonly used and suitable connecting point for most visitors to the park is Goma, the Grande Barrier border where the Virunga tourism office is set up strategically and is also the meeting point for all vehicles headed to the park as they are joined by a security convoy. You are assured of safety once you book your tour to Virunga as you will have security all throughout the time on your tour. How to get to Virunga? You can use air by flying directly into Goma with Ethiopian Airlines or fly into Kigali International Airport and drive for about 4 to 5 hours to Goma.
Virunga national park, unlike the other parks, has consideration for the low season where the tour package is reduced to almost half of the price on the normal days so as to still boost the flow of visitors to the park. The low season permits for gorilla trekking in Virunga are from the 15th of October to 15th of December so if you are on a budget, you may consider traveling in this period however, you should note it is the rainy season so trekking can be quite hard with the muddy grounds so be well prepared with great hiking boots, walking stick and warm clothes. All visitors of Virunga National park in the past months since it reopened in February 2019 have testified to the great improvement with the park standards and all tours have been successful so why not book your flight ticket as soon as you can.
Virunga Gorilla Trekking Tours
On your visit to Virunga ensure to be in great shape as there will be some hiking so do not leave your great hiking boots behind as well. Visitors to Virunga are usually asked to wear protective face masks covering the lower face that is the nose and mouth to avoid spreading airborne diseases from both the visitors to the gorillas and vice versa. The experience in the Virunga park Congo is the most authentic as it has not been tapped due to the area’s insecurity but tourism authorities along with the community have ensured to keep the peace that has boosted tourism in Virunga.
Virunga national park also has the world’s largest lava Lake Nyiragongo that you can add on your gorilla trek as well as the Tchegera Island the black sand island. You may also take some time to do birding as the forest is blessed with a variety of bird species or even visit the Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage but that is only if you are sleeping in the Bukima sector side. There is also a Lulimbi sector where the wildlife of Virunga are found however it will be open later in 2020 and we can help arrange all this for you.