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Virunga was the first national park on the continent of Africa. The park was founded primarily to protect the mountain gorillas living in the forests of the Virunga Massif that were controlled by the Belgian Congo.
Later, Virunga was expanded north to include the Rwindi Plains, Lake Edward, and the Rwenzori Mountains. The park is also the continent’s most active volcanoes -the Nyiragongo and the Nyamuragira.
Mountain gorillas live in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on green, volcanic mountains.
Lowland gorillas live in the forests of central and western Africa in Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The gorilla trekking information in Congo; the gorillas are tracked in Virunga National Park in 8 habituated gorilla families groups. A number of 8 people are allowed to visit a particular habituated gorilla family each day.
The mountain gorilla groups have undergone an extremely delicate process that has gradually fore-casted them to humans and allowed a few privileged visitors to interact with them briefly in the wild. The gorillas are no tame; thereby only tolerate human presence for about an hour each day.
On the 16th of August 2017, I and my husband aged 50 and 57 did Congo gorilla trek and Nyiragongo hike in Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo after doing a wildlife safari in Tanzania. Both of these experiences were truly epic.
We were picked from Kigali international airport mid- morning and transferred to Gisenyi. Gisenyi is a city in Rubavu district in Rwanda’s Western Province.
Gisenyi is contiguous with Goma, the city across the border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gisenyi is a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu. Beach resorts line the lake’s sandy waterfront, and kayaks ply its clear waters.
We arrived at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel checked in our rooms. Lake Kivu Serena Hotel is in an ideal location just outside the small town of Gisenyi, on the shores of Lake Kivu, 160 kilometers from Kigali and just minutes from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and the city of Goma.
The Lake Kivu Serena brims with refined luxury from the grand colonial dining rooms to the manicured grounds. The Serena has a stunner of a swimming pool, a slice of prime beachfront real estate and the best rooms in the area.
We enjoy a meal at the hotel’s restaurant and enjoyed a drink at the bar. In the evening we enjoyed swimming and relaxed at the lodge with dinner and overnight stay.
The next day we crossed over to Congo with all the required formalities, the Virunga guides were already waiting to take us to the Virunga headquarters for briefing about the mountain gorillas.
While on our gorilla photo and Nyiragongo trek safari in Congo, we were given experienced guides to accompany us while tracking, many of whom have been involved in the habituated process them-selves.
These guides briefed us on your arrival on the various aspects of gorilla’s etiquette and the information contained in this set of guidelines will help your arrival for your track well prepared and ready to fully enjoy the gorilla photo and Nyiragongo trek safari in Congo.
We were literally feet away from a family of Gorillas. It required about 2.5 hours of hiking getting there, but the hour we spent with them flew by because we were all in awe of seeing them. It is an experience I will remember forever. Our group was only 5 people so that made it even more personal.
Gorilla trekking is a year round activity and gorilla trekking commences every morning from the park and all treks are led by park rangers and usually depart from Bukima patrol post.
Treks usually require 1-2 hours of hiking in each direction, depending on where the mountain gorillas spent the previous night and the difficulty of the terrain.