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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) in Rwanda.

The best way to visit Virunga National Park in Eastern DRC is on a set date gorilla trekking safari in Virunga. Also ideally combined with a hike up Nyiragongo volcano. (Only suited for safari veterans and seriously adventurous travellers.)

Virunga National Park-Young mountain gorilla (Courtesy Inspired Journeys)

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 to include 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. Virunga is also home to the endangered okapi. (Which resembles the zebra but is more closely related to the giraffe!)

Easy options for gorilla trekking

Other DRC national parks with small populations of Mountain Gorillas:

  • Kahuzi-Biega National Park - 6000 km² in extent includes 2 distinct volcanic peaks. Kahuzi-Biega is home to both eastern lowland gorilla and mountain gorillas
  • Maiko National Park - nearly 11000 km² of lowland forest and low mountains, north of Kahuzi-Biega.