Wildlife Tours in Virunga – Rwanda, Uganda & Congo

Stretching from southwestern Uganda in Mgahinga gorilla national park, northwestern Rwanda in volcanoes national park and Eastern DR Congo in the virungas national park, the virunga conservation area is an exceptional tourism terminus. The conservation area covers a total land area of approximately 432square kilometers a home to the highest population of mountain gorillas in the whole world. Regarding vegetation cover, the conservation area is composed of humid rainforests, afro-montane forests, marshlands, swamps, savannah grasslands, plains and glaciers among others. The differences in vegetation types encourage the habitation of various wild and bird life in the area. Tourism in the virunga conservation area entails:

Mountain gorilla trekking
Being a home to the highest population of mountain gorillas, gorilla trekking is the most done activity in the conservation area. gorilla trek bwindiThere are 10 trained gorilla families in the volcanoes national park, 6 in the virungas national park and 1 family in Mgahinga gorilla national park all available for trekking. Trekking mountain gorillas is known as the best wildlife encounter in the whole world and millions of travelers have taken part in, which has given them a memorable experience. The trekking experience in each national park is distinctive in its own way. This therefore requires that if possible, a traveler should trek in each country for a unique experience.
In addition to the mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas are also trekked in the DRC in Kahuzi Biega national park. Therefore, being a home to two gorilla species (mountain gorilla and eastern lowland gorillas) the virunga conservation region is a best spot for gorilla tourism.

Volcano climbing
Besides gorilla trekking, volcano climbing is another remarkable endeavor for adventurous travelers. The virunga massif is a home to eight volcanoes distributed evenly by the three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These volcanoes include mount karisimbi, the highest volcano in the borders of Rwanda and DRC at a height of 4,507meters above sea level. Mt Sabyinyo on the border of Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC, Mt Gahinga on Rwanda’s border with Uganda, Mt Bisoke bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Additionally in DRC, there are two active volcanoes of Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo, Mikeno volcano, and mount Muhabura in the borders of Uganda and Rwanda. The summit of each volcano provides hikers with clear view of the neighboring countries and the attractions there. Hiking does not require any know-how but physical fitness and commitment is very helpful since it requires the use of energy.

Golden monkey trekking
Further to mountain gorilla tours, Golden monkeys are also trekked in the area. The endangered golden monkeys reside in Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla national park and Rwanda’s volcanoes national park. Just like gorillas, golden monkeys live in groups and each group is allocated to a specific group of travelers. Golden monkeys are lively animals; more playful and jumpy which make an encounter with them so interesting for every traveler to remember.

Cultural encounters
Before the introduction of tourism, the virunga conservation area was a permanent home for local people especially the Batwa. After conservation and tourism were initiated, the Batwa were re settled to the adjacent communities. In Uganda, these encounters are done during the Batwa cultural trail in Mgahinga gorilla national park and are a very interesting activity. In Rwanda, the iby’wacu cultural village is visited and travelers learn more about Kinyarwanda culture, which make them feel as part of the community.

Nature walks
In all the three national parks, Mgahinga, volcanoes and virungas national parks, nature walks are well done. Different trails have been done in these national parks leading to special tourism points such as waterfalls in the national parks. Travelers follow specific trails led by an experienced armed guide. Nature walks provide travelers with great chances to encounter wild animals, listen to the sweet sounds of birds singing in the trees as well as enjoying the fresh airs which in turn freshness the minds.
Conclusively therefore, the virunga massif is a unique tourism destination to visit. A travel to the virunga conservation area is a memorable experience that every traveler should not miss out.