The Virunga National Park, formerly named Albert National Park, is a 7,800 km² National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the south to the Rwenzori Mountains in the north, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
Democratic Republic of Congo is magical and it will fill you with colourful and flourishing green scenery. The mountain peaks and the lava lakes are breath taking. The mist and the giant gorillas in the rain forests are also refreshing. As a visitor to the Democratic Republic of Congo, time is spent climbing to great heights for epic views, having close encounters with some of the world’s rarest creatures, and wading through thick, wet rain forest in search of adventure. The Democratic Republic of Congo will offer you the best experiences and its splendor with a touch of variety is rewarding and deserves to everyone that sacrifices to visit this former war torn area.
It is very true that Democratic Republic of Congo has for a long time been unsafe since independence in 1960 and routing down from the Belgian rule in that country. Democratic Republic of Congo is although endowed with a lot of natural heritage from wildlife to mineral and because of this wealth it has always been easy to redeem its self from such situations. It has been difficult though for Democratic Republic of Congo to break its self from such reputation even when in real sense it had overcome it.
Since 2013 Democratic Republic of Congo has been safe both from epidemic diseases like Ebola and also free from war and tourism has been at it has been during this time. It would therefore be unfair to say that the Democratic Republic of Congo is unsafe yet in the last four years tourist has been flocking the area and no case of insecurity has been reported apart from those that have happen elsewhere just like any other destination things like theft is common even in the USA.
It is very okay to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and have a good time. The whole country is although not as safe as areas like Virunga, Goma and Bukavu in the east and the Capital Kinshasa. It is very important that you book a gorilla safari with a local tour operator because they are up-to-date with the security of the country and will advise accordingly. In some areas a tour operator will arrange armed escorts to take you through but it will not mean that it is at its worst but its just taking precaution.
How Best to Access Virunga National Park, Congo
Visitors to Virunga on road transfers usually pass through Rwanda. Depending on what time you reach Rwanda, our guide will pick you at Kigali Airport, drive you to your hotel or continue straight to Congo. The journey to the Congo border takes about 4 hours. While at the border, you will need to show your passport, yellow fever vaccine and other required documents.
You will then be driven to your hotel to rest and prepare for your trek. The roads in Congo are not smooth and can be very rough depending on which season of the year. A 4X4 vehicle is a must. The primary entry points to Virunga National Park are through Goma, the main entry point, and Bunagana (southwest Uganda).
The best way to reach Goma, by road, is from neighbouring Rwanda. From Kigali, it will take about three hours to reach Goma. We advise visitors to transfer from Kigali International airport with a taxi which will take about 3 and more hours through the Rwanda Gisenyi border then to Goma town in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
By Air. You can access the Virunga National park by air by either landing in Democratic Republic of Congo at Goma the acting international airport but most tourists prefer using the Kigali international airport, so if one uses Kigali airport they are advised to have a sleep over in any lodge or hotel in Kigali since most flights reach in the afternoon and evenings, so early in the morning have a 4 hour drive to the Gisenyi/Goma boarder.