Can I bring non-monetary donations for the Ranger’s families and the community around Virunga national park?
Can I bring non-monetary donations for the Ranger’s families and the community around Virunga national park? Ever since the establishment of Virunga national park in 1925, over 200 Rangers have lost their lives while on their duty of protecting and conserving wildlife and habitats of the park. Consequently, many women and children have become widows and orphans. Therefore, yes, you can bring items such as footballs/volleyballs, soft, skipping ropes, children’s sports games, bouncy or beach balls, coloring books, crayons, pens, chalk, pencils, rulers, sharpeners, rubbers/erasers, and stuffed toys to the ranger’s family.
Before planning a safari to Virunga National Park, it is important to know that the park has had a number of attacks and it is experiencing bad reviews regarding the security and safety of tourists. The major insecurities were as a result of the outbreak of the Rwanda Genocide and the First and Second Congo Wars where several rebel groups resided in and around forested areas of Virunga national park. The park also experienced a lot of poaching and degradation due to the illegal exploitation of natural resources by the rebel groups to fund their operations. Violent confrontations between rebels and park rangers are commonplace.
From June 2018 to February 2019, Virunga national park was closed to tourists due to ongoing violence, and even though it has reopened, there have been fatal incidents as recently as February 2021. With all of this in mind, it is generally rangers and not tourists who are the victims of these atrocities, and every precaution is taken to keep visitors to Virunga National Park safe.
Important information you should know before visiting Virunga national park
Virunga national park receives two main rainy seasons that is to say September to November and March to May. Bird watching is excellent during these periods, but otherwise, the dry season is generally the best time to book your safari to Virunga national park.
Virunga national park is located in close proximity to the equator which means that temperatures are likely to be the same throughout the year however, due to some other factors like altitude, at some points, the temperatures can differ quite significantly within Virunga national park based on elevation. At lower altitudes, temperatures range from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit while on higher altitudes temperatures range from 61 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. At the top of the Nyiragongo volcano, temperatures may fall below freezing point.
Items to pack if you are planning a tour to the park include a lightweight waterproof jacket, sturdy shoes, and long-sleeved shirts and pants. Gaiters are also important as they protect you against insect biting and stinging nettles.
Although the price of most tour packages to Virunga national park covers costs like accommodation, activities, and ground transport; the price on the following items like the drinks, gratuities, and Nyiragongo backpacks and porters are excluded from the cost.
Travelers should also note that only undamaged and clean U.S. dollars printed after 2009 will be accepted.
The recommended tip given to any staff in Virunga national park is $10 per person, per day however, it is divided equally amongst all staff members.
The CDC recommends several vaccinations for all travelers to Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Take note of the following vaccines for cholera, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, typhoid, polio, and rabies. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers aged nine months and above. Visitors without yellow fever certificate is not permitted to enter DR Congo. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended all year round if you plan to visit the country.
Virunga national park management has the right to cancel any activities if there is a perceived safety risk. In case of any cancelations, travelers are offered an alternative or refunded in full.