Have you ever heard about Virunga Conservation Area? Did you know that Virunga Conservation Area is the only place where you can find the remaining endangered mountain gorillas? Did you know that Virunga Conservation Area is also known as the Virunga Massif?
Virunga Conservation area is shared between three east African countries the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. These countries comprise different national parks which are Virunga, Mgahinga and Volcanoes respectively. The most common feature in these national parks is the only remaining mountain gorillas that Total of up to 1063 gorilla individuals according to the 2019 gorilla population including the nearby national park that is Bwindi National Park.
There is a lot to explore and discover while in this area including the senkwenkwe gorilla orphanage and the top activities are due to the different attractions which are well explained below;
Mountain gorillas, this area comprises over 600 gorilla individuals which are trekked in all national parks. Gorilla trekking allows visitors to spend a maximum of an hour while in their presence learning and experiencing their behaviours, movements, and daily activity like breastfeeding if the trekked gorilla group is having young ones. The overall experience can take about 2 to 6 or even 8 hours depending on the location of the gorilla family.
Gorilla habitations experience is possible in the nearby national park Bwindi National Park in Uganda and the overall experience takes about 8 hours including 4 hours while following the beautiful apes. An hour while in the presence of the mountain gorillas is a great way to go in your lifetime. The gorillas live in groups comprised of 30 individuals and each group is under the leadership of the Silverback.
Mountain ranges of Virunga, the area is comprised of 8 different mountain Volcanoes and these are Sabinyo, Gahinga, Nyirangongo, Karisimbi, Mikeno, Karisimbi, Muhabura and Nyamuragira. Of these, Nyamuragira and Nyirangongo both located in Virunga national park of DR Congo are the only active mountains in Africa. Mount Nyirangongo last erupted in May 2021 leaving different families around Goma town homeless. Hiking takes place in these mountains with great scenery, and wildlife hence great photographic moments.
The golden monkey is another amazing rare primate also listed under the endangered primates. They are in Virunga Conservation Area and can visit mainly in Mgahinga national park in Uganda and Volcanoes national park in Rwanda. This can be through a golden monkey trekking experience. These monkeys get their name from the attractive and outstanding colour almost gold. They are normally located in the upper mountains in the bamboo forests. They in are big groups of up to 60 individuals and they are very playful compared to the mountain gorillas who are gentle giants.
Batwa pygmies are a group of people who are believed to be ancestral inhabitants of the Virunga mountains. They were evicted due to conservation practices around the Virunga Conservation area and now they live at the edges of the forests. Tourists can take a cultural trail of the Batwa to witness their footsteps. Discover their ancient homes which are the caves in the park, way of life depending on hunting and gathering of fruits in the past and many more. This trail is carried out in Mgahinga national park.
Dian Fossey grave, in the year 1968, Dian Fossey an American researcher and primatologist visited Volcanoes national park intending to research mountain gorillas. She ended up setting up a research station called Karisoke and also started saving the gorillas from being poached. She was later on murdered and found in her home died, buried in the Virunga mountains between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke. Trekking to her tomb is amazing and worth learning more about the gorillas.
Birdlife, there are different bird species of over 600 birds in the Virunga Conservation Area of which some are the Albertine endemics and others are the crowned hornbill, giant kingfisher, African harrier hawk, Cinnamon chested bee-eater, Rwenzori batis and many more others. This, therefore, has made bird watching experience take place around the conservation area.
Are you interested in taking a safari to Africa and particularly visiting the Virunga massif? Don’t worry at all we are ready to take to explore the best of Virunga Conservation Area, contact us today!