The park was founded in 1925 by King Albert I of Belgium and originally known as Albert National Park. Virunga is the first national park in Africa and the major intention was to protect the mountain gorillas living which lived in the forests of the Virunga. Virunga was later expanded north to include the Rwindi Plains, Lake Edward, and the Rwenzori Mountains. The park is said to be a geological wonder with two of the world’s most active volcanoes. Some of the major activities done in this park include:
Nyiragongo Mountain Climbing
This is one of the most fascinating strata volcanoes with the largest lava lake in the world. Along the hiking trails down the slopes are the different animals including chimpanzees, monkeys, and bush buck, these offers climbers a good breath taking chance. The summit of Nyiragongo captures some snow at night and at the top of the summit, visitors can enjoy the churning lava lake and observe the hot gases exploding hence creating a nice to see yellowish sky.
Hiking to the summit starts from Kibati patrol post and in this case, all visitors are provided with park rangers, porters who carry visitors’ luggage are around the park at their separate charge. To reach the summit it depends on how physically fit are the trekker but in most cases it takes 4-6hours. Climbing starts from 1989m and ascends to 3470m in a limited time.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking
One cannot go to Virunga and forgets to track mountain gorillas, gorillas are considered to be among the most intelligent and nice to see primates, they are the largest primates followed by the chimpanzees. These are separated depending on the groups and the silver back is the most inspiring though too gentle and too calm. These are the head of the family and the female gorillas are seen taking care of the young ones, this amazes all the visitors to the park.
The security to the visitors is strict and rangers are provided to all trekkers and it starts from Bukima patrol post. Seeing the gorillas and the time taken depends on where the gorillas spent the previous night.
Chimpanzee Habituation Walks
This is another cheap activity enjoyed by the visitors who live at Mikeno lodge. Visiting chimpanzees is a daily activity and is among the most interesting primates to see. Local Trackers leave their camp at 4:30 am to locate where the chimpanzees spent the previous night and lodge guests set out at 6:00 am to participate in the trek. Only four visitors at a time are allowed to trek and visitors only spend 1hour while with the chimps and bookings are made from Mikeno Lodge.
Tchegera Island Camp
After climbing Nyiragongo volcano, Tchegera island camp is another way to escape the days stress, this is located in the northern shores of Lake Kivu, and this is where visitors can enjoy the fascinating views of Lake Kivu and the four volcanoes. A Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira volcano which turns the sky at night sky red due to their activeness. Due to the abundant bird life on the island animals such as African eagles, cormorants, herons and gulls can be seen and heard with the nice voices. Visitors can enjoy the beach or tour around the island.