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What to see/Attractions in Virunga National Park

Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park Congo

Attractions in Virunga National Park, What to see in Virunga Park Congo, Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park Congo, Mountain Nyiragongo Volcano Congo. The parks two other great ape species, the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees make Virunga the only park in the world that hosts the three taxa of Great Apes. Another prominent inhabitant of Virunga is the okapi and large colonies of lions, forest and savanna elephants and numerous bird species such as the yellow-billed barbet, narrow-tailed starling.

Virunga National Park counted six mountain gorilla families open for the trekking before it was closed in 2012 for insecurity in the area. Unfortunately, in 2013 the national park is facing great challenges, including encroachment of the gorilla habitat by armed groups (the M23 rebels occupied the Mikeno area of the park and the Congolese army the Rwindi sector).

The maintaining of the status of Heritage Site is incompatible with the concessions of oil exploration by the Government of Congo in areas inside the national park. In December 2012 a survey carried out in the Mikeno sector counted about 100 mountain gorillas with 7 new born, however monitoring became increasingly dangerous for the park officers.

Below you find information about the mountain gorilla’s families habituated in Virunga National Park at the time when the park was open. The status of insecurity in the region and the lack of State control is a serious threat to the conservation of mountain gorillas and even to those rangers who still put their life in danger to protect this park and whose work should be rewarded.

The family is composed of 34 Gorillas including 2 Silverbacks. The group is found in Bukima sector which is close to Goma and the group is led by Kabirizi Silver back. The group derived its name from an ICCN Director who died in a traffic accident in the late 1990s.

Previously, the silver back Kabirizi was not a habituated gorilla family and instead a wild gorilla. Later in 1998, he was named the head of his family after habituation. Formerly, this group was known as Ndungutse family because by then it was led by Ndungutse Silverback who was assassinated in 1997 after being caught in crossfire between the DR Congo army and Rwandan rebels near the Bukima patrol post.

Mountain Nyiragongo Volcano Congo

Nyiragongo is one of the world’s most beautiful and active volcanoes and a large stratovolcano near Lake Kivu at the eastern border of DRCongo with Rwanda in the Virunga National Park. It has a 1.2 km diameter summit caldera containing the world’s most active and largest lava lake.

Nyiragongo is notorious for its extremely fluid lava that runs as water when the lava lake drains. On January 17, 2002, Nyiragongo erupted and the lava lake drained from fissures on its western flanks.

The city centre of the Goma town, the capital of the East Virunga province, had been destroyed by voluminous lava flows. 200,000 people were left homeless, adding to the human disaster caused by frequent civil wars.

The large lava lake contained in its deep summit crater, now active again, became famous in the 1960’s and 70’s when volcanologists such as the Kraffts and Tazieff studied it. It had been active for half a century before it drained in one of the volcano’s recent most catastrophic eruptions in 1977.

Flora and Fauna in Virunga National Park Congo

The park boasts an astounding biodiversity due to the large variety of habitats it offers. In the southern sector the Mountain Gorillas attract most attention.

Mount Nyiragongo Volcano in Virunga National Park

Nyiragongo is one of the world’s most beautiful and active volcanoes and a large stratovolcano near Lake Kivu at the eastern border of DR Congo.

Congo Virunga Ranges in Virunga National Park

Not only does tourism in Virunga entail wildlife but one can also enjoy hiking the volcanoes. The conservation area is a home to eight volcanic mountains.

Mountain Mikeno in Virunga National Park

Mount Mikeno is noted to stand at a height of 4,437 metres and is the second highest peak in the Virunga Mountains after Karisimbi, and the 13th highest mountain of Africa.

Want to visit Virunga?

Virunga National Park is one of the most biologically diverse protected areas on the earth where Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris is encountered.