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Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park is the most evocative African destination. Steeped in legend and history, the iconic features in Democratic Republic of Congo is waiting for you to explore its vast landscapes and the impressive sightings. Visiting Virunga National Park includes: the endangered Mountain Gorillas, the famous Nyiragongo Volcano, golden monkeys, impressive chimpanzees, among others.

Virunga National park formerly “Albert National Park” is known for its magnificent tropical Rain forest, as well as one of Africa’s first National park. It covers a geographical landscape of 7800 square kilometers about 3000 miles and is located in the Eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo stretching from the Virunga mountains in the south to the Rwenzori in the North. The park also borders both Rwenzori and Queen Elizabeth national parks in Uganda.

Visiting the Virunga National Park is invariably a wonderful outdoor experience that includes: untouched tropical rain forest, home to Mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, Eastern Chimpanzees, hiking tracks, thousands of species of birds and other wildlife, and excellent ecological information about the world’s most diverse ecosystem i.e. just about everything an adventure lover could ask for. However, The Park also contains important concentrations of wildlife, notably forest elephants, Hippos, Okapi, Lions, buffaloes, kobs and the largest concentration of hippopotamuses in Africa, with 20,000 individuals living on the banks of Lake Edward and along the Rwindi, Rutshuru and Semliki River.

How best can you get to Virunga National park?

Located near Goma, Virunga National Park can easily be accessed in various ways each of which has a different cost implication.

By road

Road transport remains the only best way to explore the landscapes and the terrain of Congo. It always takes about 5-6 hours drive from Kigali international airport to enter Goma or Gisenyi border crossing. Most planes reach Rwanda’s Kigali international airport in the afternoon which then calls for spending a night in Rwanda and leaving for Congo the next morning since the border does not operate on a 24/7 basis. Located 32km West of Goma town, the capital of North Kivu, transportation from Goma to the base of Virunga can only be arranged by trusted tour operators from the Association of Congolese Tours Operators and Travel Agents ‘’ATOAV-RDC’’ or local car rental companies (less advisable).

Flights to Goma international airport and to Africa has now become more accessible in the recent years compared to other past years with the Ethiopian Airlines as the best option. Goma international airport is the main airport upon which every flight lands, although it was heavily affected by eruptions in 2002 and was later developed to enhance the tourism industry in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Virunga National park is easily combined with a number of trips including Nyiragongo volcano hike, Trekking Mountain gorillas, chimp habituation, nature walks among others between the countries of Uganda and Rwanda.

Using ferry

You might already be in Bukavu which is a city based in eastern Congo but you’re wondering how to access Virunga National Park. Bukavu town is just a few hours away from Virunga national Park along the road connecting the two Kivu town, the road being impracticable, the only best option to reach Virunga is using ferry.  Depending on what king of ferry you use (big ship or speedboat) it can take you between 2 to 6 hours navigating on Kivu Lake to finally reach Goma before proceeding to Virunga.

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