Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park holds half of the biodiversity in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. Besides, Virunga park is the second oldest national park in the world besides yellow stone. The park is also a UNESCO heritage site found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Virunga was inscribed as a heritage site under UNESCO for the protection of the endangered gorilla community it holds and the critically rare golden monkeys.
Virunga National Park shoves up for the two active volcanoes including Mount Nyiragongo. The incredible hikes to the nyiragongo volcano are by far the best activities by the travelers who visit Virunga National Park annually. The park has faced a lot of threats from the politics which have been raging throughout the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, Virunga park manages to stay standing due to its high resilience ability.
Besides the political unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Virunga has also been marked as unsafe for tourism due to several unpleasant incidents that have happened in the previous years. For example two rangers were killed and also tourists kidnaped on 4th/ June/ 2018, however, the park was reopened in March 2019, and it is safe for travel currently.
Virunga park is one of the most biodiverse protected areas in Africa and other parts of the world. Virunga National Park has such a hard background, so is the countries spring of life into the tourism sector of Congo. Therefore, it is protected by truly dedicated game rangers, who are over 600, to help curb the malpractices like poaching.
The park manages its community sensitization program by supporting the local community. The profits got from tourism activities are shared with the local society through proving social amenities like schools, boreholes, hospitals among others. Also, the local people get materials from the forest like fire wood, herbs, and foodstuff among others. This has led to a reduction in poaching and encroachment on the park’s land as the local people experience the benefits of tourism through better living standards.
How to reach Virunga National Park
You can reach Virunga National Park bypassing via Goma town which is just 32km nearest to the park. Alternatively, from Rwanda, you can connect to Gisenyi town from Kigali international airport, and then cross to Goma town to Virunga national park. It is about 2km from Gisenyi town to Bukima park headquarters.
From Uganda, you can reach Virunga national park from the Bunagana border post which is found in kisoro town. From kisoro, you can take a drive for about 1 hour to Bukima park headquarters where mountain gorilla trekking commences from in the park.