Virunga national park activity fees
Virunga national park activity fees- Virunga national park is located on the eastern side of DR Congo and hosts 20 primate species, 200 mammals, and 706 bird species. The national park was gazetted in 1952 which makes it one of the oldest national parks in Africa. It’s home to mountain gorillas that have found their foods in the tropical rain forests of the park.
The national park hosts a large number of mountain gorillas of which some have been habituated and 8 gorilla groups are up for trekking at any time of the year. The national park can be accessed in a single day from Kigali using Goma border, or from Nairobi using the Jambo jet that flies to Goma. There are so many attractions that can be seen in Virunga national park and these include animals, birds, vegetation, and mountains.
Animals in Virunga national park include blue monkeys, chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, olive baboons, buffaloes, elephants, dent’s monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, okapi, duikers, red river hog, giant forest hogs, aardvark, bongo, bushbuck, giant forest hogs, topis, waterbucks, warthogs, leopards, mongoose, giant pangolin, and western tree hyrax among others.
Birds in Virunga national park include black billed turaco, African olive pigeon, mountain oriole, cardinal woodpecker, mountain greenbul, olive woodpecker, dusky crimson-wing, Rwenzori turaco, mountain masked apalis, strange weaver, grey crowned crane, red-eyed dive, narina trogon, narrow tailed starling, black-headed waxbill, bronze mannikin, grey-backed camaroptera, African hobby, common buzzard, barred long-tailed cuckoo, and diederik cuckoo among others.
Some of the activities in Virunga national park include mountain gorilla trekking which gives you an opportunity to encounter endangered mountain gorillas for 1 hour, chimpanzee trekking, visiting Senkwekwe orphanage, birding, hiking, and much more. To access Virunga national park, you need a yellow fever vaccination card, a Congo visa, and a valid passport. Below is a list of Virunga national park activities along side their allocated fees;
Gorilla trekking: Mountain gorilla trekking requires any traveler to have a valid trekking permit which can be got from a trusted local tour operator or Virunga national park website. The gorilla trekking permit in Virunga national park goes for $450 foreign non–residents and foreign residents, its $200 citizens of DR Congo and East Africa. During the low season which happens from March to May and October to November the permits go for $200 for foreign non-residents and foreign residents and then the East Africans it’s $100. The gorilla trekking permit for Virunga national park is sold to children above 15 years of age and it allows them to be around mountain gorillas for 1 hour.
Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage: Visiting Senkwekwe orphanage is another activity done by travelers in Virunga national park. The activity is done mostly by those staying at Mikeno lodge and going to this orphanage is free for all guests at this lodge. The orphanage is located close to Mikeno lodge and therefore there is no fee paid to visit these apes. At Senkwekwe orphanage, there are orphanage primates who lost their parents during the civil wars or those that were got from poachers.
Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking is another activity done in the southern sector of Virunga national park. To trek the chimpanzees of Virunga national park, you need to book a chimpanzee trekking permit from Rutshuru expedition and this is sold at a fee of $100 per person per trek. There is one chimpanzee family that is habituated for tourism in Virunga national park. Others can be seen while carrying out park activities such as hiking gorilla trekking, birding, or nature walk.
Volcano hiking: Hiking mount Nyiragongo and mount Nyamuragira is another activity that is done in Virunga national park. The activity is done at a fee of $300 per person per hike. The permit fee for Mount Nyiragongo and mount Nyamuragira includes accommodation at the summit cabins. The fees do not include porters fees so in case you have heavy luggage, you will hire a porter at your fees.
Mount Rwenzori hiking: Hiking Mount Rwenzori from DR Congo is another activity that is done in Virunga national park. Although most hikers use the Uganda side to hike to the summit of Rwenzori, there are those that use the DR Congo side in Virunga national park. A hiking permit for mount Rwenzori is $200 a single day hike and travelers that want to spend a night on the hats situated at the slopes pay $116 for accommodation. Hikers will have to hire a chef and carry their own food.
What is the best time to carry out activities in Virunga national park?
Travelers can visit Virunga national park and carry out any of the park activities at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest. The drier months are the best to have a gorilla trekking safari in Virunga national park because they are characterized by little or no rainfall which makes the trekking trails less slippery, the vegetation is short with clear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers can still visit Virunga national park in the rainy months of March to May and October to November to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities and gorilla trekking permits. During the rainy season, there is a big population of birds in the national park and this favors the birders. The rainy season in Virunga national park is characterized by too much rainfall which makes the trekking trails muddy, the vegetation is thick with unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Accommodation while in Virunga national park
Tourists that want to visit Virunga national park and spend a night or two don’t have to worry about where they will stay. There are so many accommodation facilities that are built around and inside the national park ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options and they do include Lulimbi Tented Camp, Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelters, Bukima Tented Camp, Mikeno Lodge, Tchegera Island, Kikumba Tented Camp, and much more.