Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park is located eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of the Albertine Rift Valley.  The national park extends across an area of 3,120 square miles (8,090 sq km).

The elevation of Virunga National Park varies from a low of 2,230 feet (680 m) to the peak of Mount Stanley at 16,762 feet (5,109 m).  The Semliki River runs through the valley of the Rwenzori Mountains.  Savanna and montane forest are common in the area.

Mount Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira are two active volcanoes are found within the national park boundaries.  The majority of Lake Edward resides inside the national park before traversing into neighboring Uganda.

The ecosystem accounts for 300 endemic fauna and flora species.  There are over 2,075 species of plants with 264 species being the various trees that make up the jungle.  African alpine bamboo is also commonly seen within the park.

Wildlife consists of 196 species of mammals, 109 species of reptiles and 65 species of amphibians.  The most popular are the primates with the mountain gorilla being the pinnacle.  Other primates include blue monkey, chimpanzee, De Brazza’s monkey, Dent’s mona monkey, golden monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, Hamlyn’s monkey, olive baboon, red colobus, and the red-tailed monkey.

Bird watchers will be ecstatic with approximately 706 species of birds found within the national

Other popular wildlife includes elephant, hippopotamus, buffalo, Okapi, aardvark, waterbuck, topi, red river hog, giant forest hog, and the warthog.  Predators include lion, leopard, mongoose, and the crocodile.  Virunga National Park has collaborated with neighboring Queen Elizabeth National Park to create a lion conservation area.

Highlights:

  • Seeing and trekking with mountain gorillas in the wild
  • Trekking through the jungle giving a glimpse into the world of Tarzan
  • Seeing the tree climbing lions

A safari through the wilderness of Virunga National Park is a special treat for visitors.  However, the highlight of a visit to the DRC’s leading national park is a sighting of the mountain gorillas.  People travel from all over the world to experience these majestic creatures up close.

 

Sources: 

Virunga, Virunga National Park, https://virunga.org/, retrieved August 2019.

Virunga National Park, Gorilla Trekking, https://www.virungaparkcongo.com/, retrieved August 2019.

Visit Virunga, Virunga National Park, https://visitvirunga.org/, retrieved August 2019.

UNESCO, Virunga National Park, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/63, retrieved July 2019