Top Things to do in Virunga National Park
Top things to do in Virunga national park; Virunga national park is the oldest protected area located in eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo at the borders with Uganda and Rwanda. The national park covers a total area of 7,800 square kilometers and harbors different animal species including mammals like elephants, buffaloes, Uganda kobs, bushbucks, waterbucks, giant forest hogs, warthogs, duiker, bush pigs, primates like mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys and different bird species like mourning collared dove, black tailed godwit, brown throated wattle eye, blue headed sunbird, thick billed canary among others.
Top things to do in Virunga national park
Gorilla trekking is one of the major activities in Virunga national park which attracts a big number of tourists to visit the country. Gorilla trekking in Virunga National park starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters where after you will be allocated a gorilla family to trek and a park guide who is conversant with trails in the jungle. The park is a home of nine habituated gorilla families which are available for trekking on a daily basis. Trekking of mountain gorillas in the park takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours and during trekking you will be able to view other wildlife species such as red tailed monkeys, baboons, view different bird species among others. Once the mountain gorillas are located you will be able to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you a chance to observe their habits, lifestyle, watch them feed, breastfeed, play, groom young ones, take photos and record the moments to show people back home.
Mount Nyiragongo hike
Hiking Mount Nyiragongo is yet another adventurous activity that shouldn’t be missed during your safari in Virunga national park. Mount nyiragongo is the world’s largest active lava lake and one of the 8 volcanic mountains in Virunga conservation area that stands at an elevation of 3,470 meters above the sea level. Hiking Mount Nyiragongo starts in the morning at around 9:00am with a briefing at the starting point and takes about 5 to 6 hours. Climbing mount Nyiragongo is challenging hence visitors are required to be physically fit. During trekking you will pass through lower altitude, lava rocks, steep slopes, slippery stones, rugged terrain and once you reach the summit you will enjoy great views of the beautiful scenery, smell the boiling and bubbling lava and overnight. The next day you will have breakfast and start descending down the volcano which takes about 3 hours to reach the starting point. While descending, you will enjoy stunning views of the park, Lake Kivu and other volcanic mountains.
Chimpanzee trekking is another activity in the park that has attracted a number of tourists. The activity involves moving into the forest in search of chimpanzees and once found spend one hour with them in their habitat. Chimpanzee trekking in Virunga national park starts early in the morning and takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on where the chimpanzees are located because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will be able to view other wildlife species including mammals, primates, birds among others. Once the chimpanzees are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their environment which helps you to learn about their behaviors, watch them play, hunt, fight, feed, take photos and record videos.
Visiting Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage center
Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage centre is the only mountain gorilla sanctuary located in Virunga national park. The orphanage is managed by Virunga foundation and open to tourists who are staying at the Mikeno lodge at no cost. Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage is a home of six orphaned gorillas which were for from Virunga and Kahuzi Biega national park after losing their parents to poachers, rebels and pet traders. The orphaned gorillas were brought into the centre for treatment, rehabilitation and they are taken care of by a team of caregivers and veterinary doctors. visiting Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage allows visitors to get close and personal with the orphaned gorillas, watch them feed, play, make nests and visitors are also allowed to feed the mountain gorillas under the supervision of the caretakers,
Birding in Virunga national park
Virunga national park is a home of more than 706 recorded bird species including Albertine rift endemic species, Congolese birds, forest birds among others which make it one of the best birding areas in Congo. During bird watching in Virunga national park you will be accompanied by an experienced bird guide who will help you to spot different bird species such as red knobbed coot, white thighed hornbill, brown throated wattle eye, blue headed sunbird, blue crested flycatcher, African paradise flycatcher, mountain wagtail, cinnamon breasted bunting, mourning collared dove, black winged stilt, white fronted plover, blue headed sunbird, grey headed sparrow, snowy crowned robin chat, willow warbler, red backed shrike, blue cheeked bee-eater, striped kingfisher, spot flanked barbet among others.
Best time to visit Virunga national park
Virunga national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season there is little rainfall in the national park therefore access roads, gorilla and chimpanzee trekking trails will dry and passable compared to the wet season when the trekking trails are muddy and slippery which makes trekking difficult.
Where to stay in Virunga national park
There are several accommodation facilities in the park where visitors can stay during the safari. the accommodations range from luxury, midrange and budget including Bukima Tented camp, Hotel Begonias, Exodus Bukavu, Lodge Coco, Orchids Safari Club, Tchegera Island Camp, Kibumba Tented Camp, Lulimbi Tented Camp, Mikeno Lodge, Lakeside Hotel Bukavu, among others.
For more information about top things to do in Virunga national park you can contact us at Achieve Global Safaris or visit our website for affordable safari packages.