The Virunga National Park also known with the name of Albert National park is the most diverse and the oldest park of Africa. The park extends from the southern Virunga Mountains, towards the northern Rwenzori Mountains in the eastern area of Congo, encircling Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Queen Elizabeth National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park of Uganda.
With every passing year, the park is grabbing the attention of oodles of visitors and compelling them to take cheap flights to Congo to visit this notable destination that houses an array of active volcanoes, swamps, lush meadows, rugged slopes and the greatest variety of habitats as compared to any other place of the World.
The park covers an area of about 7,800 square kilometres and built in 1925. It was declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and now has become one of the well-known areas of mountain gorillas. The park is very famous for its outstanding bio-diversity containing the number of mammals, reptiles and birds greater than any other secured African area. Although the breeds of mountains gorillas are few and far between many measures are being taken to protect the rest of the endangered species.
The increasing number of gorillas from 1994-2010 has clearly proven that the conservational work has remained successful. Apart from them the park also provides shelter to low land gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, endemic birds and Okapi. In the close vicinity of the park, Mount Hoyo is located which is very popular for waterfalls and caves.
Since the last 3 years, the park has gained a lot of fame as a considerable investment is done in the tourism department. Some of the most fascinating activities of the park are listed below;
Climb Nyiragongo Volcano– This boiling volcano is very famous for the largest lake of the world known as Lave Lake. It is easily accessible from Goma and takes almost 6 hours to reach the top where most of the tourists love to spend the night. You will be mesmerized to see the breath-taking glimpse of red-hot lave which becomes brightest in the dark.
Visit the Mountain Gorillas– It takes almost two and a half hour to reach the Mikeno sector which is the home of mountain gorillas. Another approach to this area is from the border of Uganda which is known as Bunagana.
Rwenzori Mountain Trek– These mountains are always blanketed with snow and are located in the northern range if Virunga National Park stretching towards the border of Uganda with the highest peak lying exactly on the boundary making it accessible from both the countries. It almost takes 4-6 days to trek the glacier and for that purpose, the tourists need to reach Beni by air.
Visit the Tongo Chimps– In the picturesque landscapes of Tongo hills which are situated in the southern region of Virunga Park, you will be enthralled to see the activities of Chimpanzees. On one side of the forest, the lava flows from the volcano of Nyamulagira which has its history dating back to 300 years.
There are a number of lodging facilities available in the park for the comfort and convenience of the tourists and amongst them, the best ones are the Mikeno Lodge, Bukima Patrol Post and Nyiragongo Crater Cabanes. There are many other entertainments that the park is offering so you must plan a trip to the holiday-break for this amazing park.