Activities in Virunga National Park
Activities in Virunga National Park are some of the amazing Congo Safari tours activities in Virunga that travelers would love to engage in when they decide to visit the country.
Virunga National Park in Eastern DRC, Kivu province is at the centre of the Albertine rift is the oldest national park and the most diverse wildlife habitat in Africa. The park that covers an area of about 8,000 miles was created in April 1925 has a diverse ecosystem with swamps, steppes, lava plains, marshlands, savannahs, and afro-montane forest belts plus glaciers and snow on the Rwenzori summits. Its diverse ecosystem makes it a perfect habitat for a variety of birdlife and wildlife including hippos, elephants, buffalo, Thomas cobs and the famous but the endangered mountain gorillas.
Apart from being home to the endangered mountain gorillas, the park the largest number of hippos in Africa; over 20,000 hippos live on the banks of Lake Edward, Bwindi, Semliki and Rutshuru rivers.
The birdlife in the park includes the Albertine Rift endemic birds, rwenzori batis, pin tailed why day, white-necked raven, bronze sunbird, black bite, olive woodpecker, olive pigeon, speckled mousebird, double collared sunbird among others.
Virunga National Park is also gifted with a wide range of flora of afro-alpine vegetation and dense forests plus an active chain of volcanoes Mt Nyiragongo, Mt Sabyinyo and Nyamuragira which give this park an exceptionally beautiful breath-taking unforgettable natural scenery.
The volcanoes which are known to erupt at intervals every few years have dominant land features coupled with the Rwenzori snowy jagged summits, they make virunga, the park with the most spectacular montane landscapes on the African continent; of course with other scenic views like the eroded valleys Sinda and Ishango.
The north of the park is the Rwenzori massif that is shared with Uganda and is perceived as the largest glacial area, the only alpine mountain chain in the whole of Africa.
The south of the park has a collection of mountains that were formed by the extension of the earth’s crust of about 8 volcanoes but mainly Mt Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira. These two volcanoes are believed to be active volcanoes with Mt Nyiragongo having eruptions of uttermost lava fluidity that has left the foot of its crater with permanent quasi lava. This lava seasonally empties to the surrounding communities causing disastrous effects.
Virunga National Park is a World Heritage site and is part of the Virunga conservation area and with its rich, unmatchable biodiversity it’s a great place for a primate, nature and wildlife safari. The park has many attractions and fun activities, so on your visit to the park make sure not to miss out on:-
Mountain gorilla trekking: Mountain gorilla trekking is the biggest tourism activity in Virunga national park, with 6 habituated gorillas’ families living in the park and a total of about 200 gorillas in the park, you will be sure to sight a gorilla on your trek. The gorilla trekking permits at Virunga cost 400 USD, the cheapest price among the 3 countries that offer mountain gorilla trekking safaris.
Mt Nyiragongo: This active volcano is known to have the largest lava lake in the whole world and when the larva is not draining out to the surrounding communities. It’s a good place for a hiking activity. It gives you an 8-kilometer hike from the start (foot of the mountain) to the summit which is about 6500 feet. It’s more rewarding when you hike and have an overnight on the summit. It gives you a chance to see the dazzling gas fire that is more pellucid in the night. This hiking activity normally starts at 10 am and if you are left behind you cannot hike that day, you have to wait for another day.
Chimpanzee habituation: Virunga National Park, apart from being home to the mountain gorillas it’s also home to a few chimpanzees that are undergoing habituation for chimpanzee trekking activities. The chimpanzees are habituation permits in DRC are 100 USD and for that fee, you get to interact with the chimpanzees for about 4 hours leaning more about them.
Nature Walks: Virunga National Park is gifted with a diverse tropical rain forest and dense vegetation that has numerous trails that give you some of the most unforgettable sights of flora and fauna. You may even get a chance to see hippos that live along the Lake Edward banks.
Landscape viewing: Virunga National Park is known for its spectacular montane Landscapes ranging from the rwenzori snow summits, the volcanoes in the conservation areas and the afro-alpine vegetation. All this gives you an opportunity to view the amazing scenery that surrounds the park while you enjoy your safari in the park.
Birding: This is one of the interesting activities in Virunga. Virunga is home to various bird species and though birding is still on a small scale on, you will not regret taking a trip down the forest trails to see some of the most amazing birds in the world.
With all the above activities you have assured your safari in Virunga National Park will be a once in a lifetime and one you won’t forget easily. So plan to visit this park on one of your safari trips.