There are only four mountain gorilla sanctuaries in the world, and the Virunga National Park in D.R. Congo is one of them. But, for the following reasons, D.R. Congo is not recommended for gorilla trekking in Africa. The only other recognized mountain gorilla habitats in the world are Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, Mgahinga National Park, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
About 6 gorilla trekking families go through an area of about 8090 square kilometers in Virunga National Park. Given that King Albert of Belgium published the park’s gazette in 1925, it is one of Africa’s oldest parks that have been preserved. Lulengo gorilla family, Rugendo gorilla family, Munyaga gorilla family, Humba gorilla family, Kabirizi gorilla family, and Mapuwa gorilla family are a few of the gorilla trekking families in the park.
You might have the opportunity to view other primates during a gorilla walk because they spend their days in the parks. Chimpanzees, Hamlyn’s monkeys, De Brazaa’s monkeys, olive baboons, Dent’s Mona monkeys, blue monkeys, and many other primates can be found in Virunga National Park.
The Virunga National Park is also home to many other wild animals, including elephants, buffaloes, okapi, warthogs, huge forest hogs, blue duikers, yellow-backed duikers, aardvarks, and more.
Several birds, including the well-known Albertine endemics, can be seen by attentive birders.
The famous Nyiragongo active Volcano which last erupted in 2022 attracts many tourists to have at least a day or night at the top of the mountain.
Despite the fact that Virunga national park has the cheapest gorilla trekking permit in Africa costing about $ 450, the unrest in the area is contributing a lot to it’s under development.
Highlights of Why DRC is Considered Unsafe For Gorilla Trekking In Africa
Civil disturbance in Eastern Region of D.R.Congo
Restricted Accommodations for Gorilla Trekking Safari Due to Gorilla Permit Uncertainty
The Kinshasa Airport’s proximity to and distance from Virunga National Park Park rangers and park wardens will assist tourists while they go gorilla trekking
a language barrier prevents many people from visiting when gorilla trekking. Volcano Nyiragongo in Virunga National Park is unpredictably active.
There is no urgent care facility in Virunga National Park where you can get regular first aid. Our outbreak of a contagious disease occurred nearby Virunga National Park
Civil Unrest in the Eastern Region of D.R. Congo, which Includes Virunga National Park
Eastern D.R. Congo has had a number of unrests since 1996. This arises from battling for power control over this area. This mineral-rich region is known for various rebel activities that have cost rangers their lives. A questing example is the attack on April 24, 2020, that resulted in the deaths of roughly 12 rangers and wardens.
Virunga National Park has a smaller mountain gorilla population than its counterparts in Uganda and Rwanda. Because the Congolese also consume these primates, the mountain gorillas in this region are vulnerable to poaching.
Gorilla Permit Uncertainty
The Virunga National Park gorilla trekking permit must be purchased on the day of the walk; as a result, you cannot guarantee that a permit will be available when you deposit your money to secure one. Since each gorilla family is only allowed to receive 8 permits per day, getting a gorilla permit might be tricky.
You can ask for availability for other locations, such as Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park or Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You are confident that you will trek with gorillas securely.
Only a few options for lodging exist for gorilla safaris.
Due to local turmoil, Virunga National Park has few accommodations available. You’re not confident that the rebels won’t assault you while you sleep or when you get up.
You must confirm the security of the hotel where you have an overnight reservation. Traveling to Virunga National Park with valuables is not advised because you cannot be certain of their protection while staying at the lodge.
The Distance From Virunga National Park And Any Of The D.R.Congo International Airports
Due to the size of the D.R. Congo, traveling by plane to Ndjili, Lubumbashi, or Mbandaka airports to participate in gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park may need several days.
The roads in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the airports to Virunga National Park are still not well enough built to allow for a comfortable trip.
There are not enough park rangers and park guards to support tourists while they go gorilla trekking.
Over the years, there have been a number of assaults against the rangers and wardens of Virunga National Park. Due to this, there are now fewer people ready to defend visitors from impromptu rebel attacks.
There aren’t many competent park rangers in Virunga National Park who can help you have an amazing gorilla trekking experience.
language difference While going on a gorilla trek
The park rangers speak primarily French, making it difficult to communicate with them while gorilla trekking. A few speak English however most tourists grasp English explanations better. The confidence gap between you, the tourists, and the ranger guide was lessened by the language barrier.
Few people visit Virunga National Park to do gorilla trekking.
The security is higher in the wild when there are more people there, but only a few tourists frequent Virunga National Park on a regular basis. Huge trees in this dense, virgin forest might be extremely frightening if you’re alone. To feel safe and enjoy yourself when looking for mountain gorillas, you need some additional company.
Typically, creeping bushes or other terrifying undergrowth cover the trails in less popular national parks. To cut them down, you need a machete, which takes a lot of time. In Virunga National Park, enormous tree trunks are covered in dense creeping, hanging vines that require constant trimming.
Volcano That Is Untimely Active Is Present at the Virunga National Park, Nyirangongo
One of the world’s volcanoes that is still active is the Nyiragonga volcano. Over a set amount of time, this mountain spews hot, crimson magma. The last time it did so was in 2022, when it exploded over a 20 km2 area over several days.
Several tourists and locals were forced to flee, which made the area’s survivors fearful. One with a weak heart is recommended not to attempt this. The volcano Nyiragonga has a stunning caldera through which you can view red-hot magma.
Lack of an emergency medical facility in Virunga National Park to seek first aid
It is difficult to find nearby health centers in the Virunga region due to the lack of adequate protection. The Virunga National Park is currently quite insecure due to the closure of several enterprises, including health services, out of fear of attacks by the rebels in the forest.
Consistently Take a Break from Communicable Disease Virunga National Park is nearby. Congolese people enjoy hunting and eating wild meat, which is regarded to be one of the reasons why illnesses like Ebola frequently break out in that country. You must be aware of the current state of D.R. Congo’s health in order to go gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park.
This is due to the occurrence of infectious illness outbreaks, such as cholera, Ebola, and others. While on a gorilla trekking safari, you should take care of your hygiene and get immunized against them.
What Else to Do in Virunga National Park
In 1987, a Frankfurt zoologist began chimpanzee trekking, training the primates to be seen by tourists at Virunga National Park. With a Genomic composition of almost 98% human, chimpanzees are among the closest cousins of humans. They reside in groups that are governed by an alpha male.
Although they are primarily vegetarians, they occasionally eat monkeys when there is a drought. Chimpanzees are more energetic than mountain gorillas in general. When you find them, get ready to move quickly. For the duration of the day and night, they require food to maintain their bodies.
Virunga National Park birdwatching
Both Virunga National Park and the birding paradise of Africa are located nearby. In this virgin tropical forest, a number of Albertine endemics find solace in spending the day feeding and breeding.
Collared Apalis, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Mountain, and Yellow Steaked Greenbuls are a few of the species you might observe. The list is vast and includes Red-faced Woodland Warbler and Gorgeous Francolin.
Nyiragongo Volcano Hiking
Every explorer’s desire is to hike Nyiragongo Volcanoes merely to observe and take in the distinctive sounds of the magma below as the day comes to a close. You get the possibility to have a look inside the large caldera filled with blazing magma, particularly at night when it is dark.
A stroll around the park’s natural areas in Virunga
The Albertine Rift Valley, the lush vegetation on the Virunga hills, the rocky mountain Rwenzori, and other stunning scenery vistas may all be seen during a guided walk in the safer areas of Virunga National Park. To get the most out of this pristine, unspoiled ancient forest, all you need to do is keep an open mind about what it has to offer.