"Measuring 300km from north to south, Virunga National Park protects the entire Congolese portion of the Virunga, Rwenzori and Lake Edward. Much of this UNESCO World Heritage Site remains off-limits to tourist due to security issues, but it is nevertheless possible to undertake several exciting activities - gorilla and chimp tracking, as well the hike to the rim of an active volcano - on the slopes of the Virungas. ”
- Philip Briggs
Virunga National Park
One of Africa’s most biodiverse conservation areas, the 7,900km2 Virunga National Park encompasses glacial peaks, active volcanoes, vast lakes, montane moorland, open savannah, and a full span of high-, medium- and low-altitude rainforest. With more than 700 bird species recorded, it is Africa’s richest protected area in terms of avian diversity, and it is also home to more than 200 species of mammal, including mountain gorilla, eastern lowland gorilla, chimpanzee, lion, elephant, buffalo and the bizarre okapi (a striped horse-sized relative of the giraffe).
The park’s most popular and physically challenging activity is the hike up Nyiragongo, a live volcano whose perfect cone rises above Lake Kivu to an altitude of 3,470m. The hike terminates at a camp on the windswept crater rim, above sheer windswept cliffs that hem in a live lava lake which bubbles away like a terrifying black-and-red casserole, regularly spewing golden flumes of molten rock into the air.
The Congolese portion of the Virungas is home to seven habituated mountain gorilla groups, and a total of 36 tracking permits is issued daily. The gorilla-tracking experience here is comparable in most respects to its counterpart in neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, but permits are far cheaper, and there is the option of overnighting high on the mountains, at a tented camp offering sensational views to Mounts Karisimbi & Mikeno – the two tallest Virunga volcanoes – while Nyiragongo smouldering red and ominous on the nocturnal horizon.
Other activities include chimpanzee-tracking and hiking in the Congolese portion of the Ruwenzori Mountains, but the latter is considered unsafe at the time of writing.
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What People Say
The personalised service provided was far beyond my expectations. A three week trip visiting four countries in Africa, multiple game reserves, wineries and much, much more was flawless. While a close encounter with a leopard and her cubs…
We got in touch after hearing about Hide & Seek from a friend. Have to say hats off to Jamie, he was so patient throughout, even through our indecisiveness! Ultimately we ended up with the most incredible holiday of our lives. Thank you again, we will be back!!
Thank you for arranging our Safari holiday in Kenya and Tanzania for us. It was to celebrate our 40th. Wedding anniversary which was on July 1st. 2018, and through your arrangements, we have had a holiday that we will never forget...
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Nick and Sarah
Spot on in terms of itinerary . We not disappointed by any of the suggestions and had the best holiday ever! Thank you!
Jamie was very helpful throughout the booking process and recommended the perfect holiday. There was nothing we would change having now been out to Tanzania. I would highly recommend Hide & Seek to friends and relatives.
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Glen and Amanda Crawford
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