Is Virunga National Park Safe?
Is Virunga National Park safe? Is it possible that there is safety in Virunga really? Is Virunga safe to be visited even to date? All these questions about one’s safety in Virunga National Park are valid and ought to be wondered by any sane traveller. Virunga National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the entire Democratic Republic of Congo. The most sought after activities that has travellers from world over visiting is the rear mountain gorilla trekking activity in Virunga to see mountain gorillas that are very unique to only the Virunga Massif Area and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, as well as hiking Mount Nyiragongo that has the world’s largest lava lake at the summit. Virunga National Park is situated in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and can be accessed easily from Uganda and Rwanda.
Virunga National Park is a very popular destination for travellers intending to take on a Congo safaris tour. The park inhabits the endangered mountain gorillas with about 8 gorilla families fully habituated and available for gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park, and 8 volcanoes that are majestically raised and awaiting hiking and exploration. The 8 volcanoes of Virunga National Park include Mount Gahinga, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Sabinyo, Mount Bisoke, Mount Muhabura, Mount Nyamuragira which is the shortest of them all, Mount Mikeno and Mount Nyiragongo which over a million travellers have had an opportunity to hike for its sheer beauty and magnificent lava lake at the summit. All these volcano mountains are great for a hike and travellers are rewarded with magnificent views. Other attractions in Virunga National Park are the plant species that date back to ages ago with some really rare ones, numerous bird species with a number of endemics, butterflies and other park animals like chimpanzees, bush elephants, bush buffaloes, baboons, various monkey types among so much more. Travellers on a Virunga National Park safari can get to see all these attractions in various activities like gorilla trekking, chimpanzee habituation experience, mountain climbing, bird watching, nature walk or hiking and community walks. While doing or intending to take part in all these activities, travellers tend to ask questions like is Virunga National Park safe.
Safety in Virunga National Park
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been ravaged by unrests and wars over the years, with rebels hiding in places like Virunga area due to its thick vegetation and terrain. Over the years, though, Virunga National Park has been slowly getting its stability back. The park is free from all insecurities as a result of wars that ravaged the country in the past. The safety of tourists while in the park is the top most priority that is not taken for granted and left to chance, the park ensures their safety as they explore. Upon the kidnapping of two British tourists while in the park in 2018, Virunga National Park was temporarily closed. The park was however reopened in February 2019 and has since been safe that travellers can visit at any time of the year as per their schedule. Increased safety measures like training and equipping more rangers to patrol the park as well as having security envoys transfer tourists in and out of the park were put in place just to enhance tourists’ safety in Virunga National Park. The park has since February 2019 very safe with tourists flocking the park and enjoying their stay. The June 2020 ranger attack took place while the park was closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, no tourists were injured. The deployment of rangers and the military in the park has enhanced the safety of tourists in the park thus an increase in the number of travellers visiting.
All activities in Virunga National Park are safe to be done, all the yearlong. Just be sure to have a knowledgeable and reputable tour operator who is familiar with the park and current affairs of the country. Before the start of various activities in the park, travellers are briefed and given safety precautions to follow. During activities in park, travellers are always in the company of armed rangers who are always ready to protect the travellers at any cost should there be an emergency arising. Given that the park is very security conscious, travellers are encouraged to book their Congo safaris tour to Virunga National Park specifically early enough such that necessary preparations are made.
Virunga National Park can be accessed via various routes. The safest route, however, that is most encouraged is the one via Goma town from where travellers are welcomed by park representatives and a guide escorted by a military convoy until the park.
In order to visit Virunga National Park and be sure to have a safe safari, consider the following;
- Book a Congo safaris tour to Virunga National Park through a tour company that is knowledgeable and has unlimited access to the park. Virunga National Park safari tours are usually already made packages and are booked in advance. These packages usually have departure times at Goma from where your guide has park representatives, guides and rangers pick you with a security convoy to transfer you to the park for the activities after which you will be transferred back to Goma where your guide will be ready to transfer you back, according to your point of drop off or next destination.
- Self-planned safaris to Virunga National Park are not advised. Travellers that love the thrill of planning and executing safaris on their own are advised to desist from this since the park is very security conscious. Booking prearranged packages is the safest way to be able to enjoy a safari in the park.
- Make sure to have proper documentation before you get in to the country, and the park as well. Valid visa and passports are necessary.
Much as Virunga National Park is marred by years of unrests, the park is a beautiful place to enjoy a typical Congo safari with gorilla trekking and hiking the Nyiragongo. Travelling safe and having a good tour company make all the necessary arrangements for your Virunga National Park safari is all you need to do. Yes, Virunga National Park is safe. Visit the Virunga National Park official website to have more insight on the security of the park.