How to get to Virunga National Park

How to get to virunga national park : Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a top destination for gorilla trekking in Congo. Mountain gorillas are only found in three countries in the world and these are Uganda, DRC, and Rwanda.

Visitors can trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and of course! Virunga National Park in Congo.

The Park is located in the eastern province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The national park covers 8090 square kilometers and is part of the Virunga massif, which is also shared by Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga national park in Uganda.

The national park was established in 1925 making it the oldest national park in Africa. The park was created purposely to protect and conserve the endangered species of mountain gorillas, which were being hunted down by poachers.

Virunga national park is home to over 706 bird species, 218 mammal species including the Forest elephants, topi, duikers, hippos, buffaloes, bushbucks, waterbucks, giant forest hogs, lions, and primate species like the highly sought after endangered species of mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, Red Tailed Monkeys, Black and White Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Reptiles, and Amphibians among others.

The national park offers visitors a variety of tourist activities such as gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking and habituation, bird watching, nature walks, and hiking Mount Nyiragongo among others.

How to get to virunga national park
Gorilla Trekking safaris

How to Get to Virunga National Park.

Visitors travelling Virunga national park in Congo can access the park road or air.

Travelling by Air.

Visitors travelling to Virunga by air will have to fly into Goma International Airport. Ethiopian Airlines offers travellers direct flights from Kigali and Entebbe International Airports to the airport in Goma. Visitors are advised to book their flights to Goma in advance to avoid any inconveniences.

Upon your arrival at Goma International Airport, you will be picked up by officials from the park and transferred to the park’s headquarters in Bukima. This is the starting point for most of the activities in the  Park.

Visitors will take about one hours’ drive from Goma to Virunga national park. Alternatively, visitors can fly into Kigali airport in Rwanda, and the drive to Gisenyi town and then cross the border to Goma. Visitors using this route can take between 3-4 hours to get to Virunga.

Travelling to Virunga National Park by Road.

Visitors can travel by road to Virunga national park in Congo. It is possible for visitors to access the national park from Uganda or Rwanda. Those travelling from Uganda can drive to Kisoro town, and cross over to Goma using the border at Bunagana. Because this route is quite long and tedious for most travellers, visitors are advised to spend a night in Kisoro town. It will take you a maximum of about 1 hour to drive from Goma to the park. Travellers are advised to use a 4 wheel drive safari vehicle when travelling to the park.

Alternatively, visitors can access the park from Rwanda. Visitors will have to fly into Kigali International Airport where your guide from Explore Rwanda Tours will pick you and drive you to Gisenyi town. From Gisenyi you will drive to Goma town via the border at ‘Le Grand Barrier.’ It takes between 3- 4 hours to drive from Kigali airport in Rwanda to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Visitors can also access Virunga from Bukavu in Congo. This route is mostly used by visitors who have been trekking eastern lowland gorillas or mountain gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega national park. Visitors using this route will have to drive to Bukima patrol post, which takes about 5- 6 hours. Travelers using this route have an advantage as this route offers visitors more scenic views like lakes and lush, green landscapes.

How to get to virunga national park
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking

Visitors travelling from Bukavu can choose to use the water transport means available such as a ferry, public boats or a speed boat, from Lake Kivu to Goma town. Visitors can then proceed to hire a private vehicle from Goma to Virunga headquarters in Bukima.

Before crossing the border at Goma or Bunagana, visitors will have to present their Congo visas to the immigrations officials. In case you don’t have one, you will have to purchase one from the border. However, it is advisable for travellers to acquire your visas to Congo at least a month in advance.

Visitors who wish to get a visa to the Democratic Republic of Congo are advised to have the necessary requirements for a visa, such as; a valid passport, a valid Yellow fever card and a gorilla trekking permit in case you are planning to trek mountain gorillas in Virunga national park.

Book with us your gorilla trekking tour to Virunga National Park and enjoy trekking some of the last mountain gorillas left in the world.

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