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Virunga National Park DRC Adventures Beyond Gorilla Tours

Virunga national park DRC is one ultimate gorilla tour destination worldwide and many have visited the park for gorilla tracking experiences. The park is located in eastern DRC and among the most diverse safari destinations.

Mountain gorillas are pretty outstanding apes here and leading wildlife attractions to Virunga National park. Being the among the most diverse ecosystems however means there is much the park has to offer other than gorillas.

Today lets tackle three of these nature escape adventures in this beautiful park other than the classic gorilla tour experiences.

Birding Safaris

Birding safaris in Virunga national park are a niche adventure option you opt for to escape usual gorilla tour safaris. Birds here include Albertine rift valley endemic species like the Rwenzori Turaco, Red-faced woodland warblers, Rwenzori Turaco and red-throated Alethe.

Other common non endemic birds black-billed Turaco, African olive Pigeon, Olive long-tailed Cuckoo, mountain oriole, Olive thrush among others. Birding safaris are done all over Virunga national park and specifically booking for birding packages offers diverse safari experiences.

Birding in Virunga national park can be done anytime of the year and you even get to meet the migratory birds. Its advisable to carry binoculars for birding because some birds especially those in tress can easily be seen by binoculars.

Rwenzori Turaco. Gorilla Tour
Rwenzori Turaco. Courtesy Photo
Mount Rwenzori Hiking

Very few people know that Rwenzori mountain ranges are part of Virunga national park on the DRC side. Rwenzori mountain ranges stretch along the Uganda and DRC border and are popularly known as the mountains of the moon.

With snow capped peaks and glaciers on higher mountain elevations, Rwenzori mountains hikes are adventures tourists should opt for. The mountain can be hiked from the Virunga national park side for those seeking to uncover hidden mountain treasures.

Mount Ruwenzori has diverse ecosystems from the lower slopes that slowly transforms from forests to heath, and finally snow. If you want to have a snow experience in East Africa then look no further than Rwenzori mountain hiking. The mountain has some of the most unique vegetation in the whole region.

We acknowledge that gorilla tour adventures in Virunga are awesome but there can be no better replacement that a Ruwenzori Hike. While on the higher elevations or Rwenzori you get to see the greater Virunga a very impressive sight to see.

Mount Rwenzori. Virunga National Park DRC
Snow in Mount Rwenzori. Photo by Virunga National Park

Mount Nyiragongo is a Virunga massif stratovolcano famous for having the world’s largest lave lake. The mountain is among the few active Volcanic mountains worldwide and a true adventure destination for its diverse wildlife.

Nyiragongo’s lower mountain slopes are covered with forests with fauna (animals) that include the rare three horned chameleon. There are primates here as well especially monkeys that hikers encounter on their quest to the summit.

Hiking this mountain is a very nature rewarding and among the best alternative to the usual gorilla tour adventures. The hike does not require any level physical fitness and can therefore be hiked by anyone.

Mount Nyiragongo hiking trips actually simplified and divided into 5 major sections each with a 15 minutes break. This break gives one a chance to get to know about the wildlife, relax, take photos and enjoy scenic views. It takes 4 to 6 hours to hike to the summit where the most anticipated lave lake views awaits.

Important to note is that Virunga national park DRC is currently closed and its likely to open next year. The park’s closure is due to the on going Corona virus pandemic worldwide. By next year we hope the park would have come up with measures to enable tourism again.

Mount Nyiragongo Lava Lake. Virunga National Park DRC
Mount Nyiragongo. Photo by Michael Christopher Brown

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