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Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Formerly the Albert National Park, it stretches from the Virunga Mountains to the Rwenzori Mountains in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo it also borders the Parc de Volcans (Volcanoes National Park).
Virunga is Africa’s oldest and the most biologically diverse National Park. Established in 1925, it also straddles the western shores of Lake Edward and covering 7,800 square kilometres. A landscape of forests, savannas, lava plains and swamps, erosion valleys and the glaciated peaks of the Rwenzori mountains. There are also two active volcanoes – Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira. Classified as a world heritage site in 1979, Virunga is managed by the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN). The Congolese National Park authorities.
Critically endangered mountain gorillas
Virunga is home to approximately one quarter of the world’s mountain gorillas. And it’s the only park to host three of the great apes with the eastern lowland (Grauer’s) gorillas and chimpanzees. In addition to the large hippo colonies and savanna and forest elephants, lions and many rare bird species can also be found in the park. But it’s also home to the endangered okapi and while it resembles the zebra, it is in fact, more closely related to the giraffe!
Easy options for gorilla trekking
- The easiest options for mountain gorilla trekking are in Uganda and Rwanda.
- Our best option for sightings with lowland gorillas is in Odzala in the Republic of Congo.
- Full details on gorilla safaris
- Read about the Congohounds – The Bloodhound Project
Other DRC national parks with small populations of Mountain Gorillas:
- Kahuzi-Biega National Park – 6,000 km² including 2 distinct volcanic peaks supporting eastern lowland gorilla and mountain gorillas
- Maiko N.P. – about 9,000 km² of lowland forest and low mountains, north of Kahuzi-Biega National Park
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