Is Virunga national park safe
Is Virunga national park safe? Most visitors before booking and traveling to Virunga national park ask if it is very safe to travel to Democratic Republic of Congo for tourism. Well, Virunga national park is among the most visited national parks in DR Congo due to presence of amazing and unique safari activities such as mountain gorilla trekking, mount Nyiragongo volcano hiking, bird watching, chimpanzee tracking and habituation, nature walk and so on. Gorilla trekking activities in Virunga national park are relatively cheaper than in Uganda and Rwanda.
Reference is made to the question if Virunga national park is safe; Yes, in the past years DR Congo greatly suffered from political and civil instabilities. Till now, many countries discourage their citizens to travel to Virunga national park for tourism due to this background. The destination is also known for the kidnap that happened in May 2018 on the British tourists. However, efforts have been taken by the government and the park management to strengthen security and safety of tourists through recruiting and training over 600 rangers to ensure safety of visitors as well as protecting park’s wildlife. Currently, Virunga national park is very safe for travelers and tourists.
For those planning for a tour to Virunga, it is much safer to book with either a local tour and travel agency or through the park. You will be given first-hand information and update regarding security and safety of the park. You are also advised to follow guidelines as provided by the tour operator, guide or the national park. More so, during your safari to Virunga national park, don’t forget to book hotels and lodges with reputable image and good history in terms of safety and security.
You are also advised to be vigilant and take utmost responsibility to protect your personal property while in Virunga national park to avoid being a victim of burglary, theft and banditry which are common in the surrounding towns of the park like Goma. Reported cases of robbery are increasing day and night on the streets of Goma town. Avoid walking alone on the streets or drive at night if possible.
There are also many people who fake around and act as if they are security officers to arrest you and ask for money in order to release you. Be very cautious and report any case of that nature to a nearby police station.
Beware of gangs who use girls to entice and trap you!
Once you meet security personnel at roadblocks and they ask to have a look at your travel documents for inspection, kindly display them and remain in the car.
The above are the general safety and security measures that you should undertake if you are considering to visit Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, however, let us look at it in details;
Safety of Virunga National Park
Like we said, DR Congo in the past years suffered with constant political and civil wars. In May 2018, Virunga national park was temporary closed due to kidnapping of two British tourists that had come to visit the park. However, safety measures were put in place to avoid any future occurrence of the incidents that happened in the past and the park reopened in Feb 2019. To sustain security in the park, the management recruited over 600 security personnel inform of rangers and military officers to ensure that Virunga national park is a safe travel destination for tourism activities.
Safety of tourism activities in Virunga National Park
Virunga national park features various tourist activities ranging from the adventurous gorilla trekking experiences, mount Nyiragongo hiking, nature walks, Chimpanzee tracking to visiting the Senkwenkwe gorilla orphanage center. Are you wondering if it is safe to visit Virunga national park for the above-mentioned activities, well, we are here to answer you;
Yes, Virunga national park is very safe for all activities due to well-trained park staff ranging from guides, rangers and military personnel that put together the necessary services to come up with a complete and astonishing travel experience to all guests who book their safaris to the park. Generally, security in the park is tight and you feel safe during your booked tour activity.
Before you commence any activity, guests are always briefed on what they expect during their safari and all necessary safety precautions. For example, all guests are advised to listen and follow guidelines of their safari guide. More still, each group must have at least two rangers, one Infront and another from the behind to ensure guests are safe from any attacks. The Virunga national park rangers and the military personnel are always armed, just in case of any emergencies during the activity, they are always ready to protect the tourists at any cost.
Safety during transit to Virunga national park
Before travelling to Virunga national park, you are strongly advised to book for your safari in advance through a trust tour operator or directly with the national park to avoid any disappointments. This is so because the park is very conscious about the security and you need to book as early as possible to enable the park management make necessary preparations for you.
Yes, the safest access route to the park is through Goma town where you will be welcomed by a park representative and a guide. Later transfer to the park while being escorted by a military convoy to ensure that you are safe until you reach at your booked lodge or at the park for your next activity.