List of Congo National Parks: Congo has a large number of national parks due to its vastness. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is Africa’s second biggest country and Central Africa’s largest. Uganda, Rwanda, the Central African Republic, Angola, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia are her neighbors.
Congo is endowed with amazing biodiversity (wildlife and vegetation) and will soon become one of Africa’s most visited countries. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the only country where both lowland and mountain gorillas may be found. The country is not just focused on gorillas. Hiking volcanoes, seeing distinct civilizations, meeting unique ethnic groups like as pygmies, and spotting all of Africa’s famed wildlife are all possibilities in Congo.
A wildlife or gorilla safari in Congo also provides an opportunity to see uncommon species such as the Congo peafowl, bongo, okapi, pygmy chimps (bonobos), and many others. Congo is unique in that it is still untamed, unspoilt, raw, and ready to be explored. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the few countries that still allows travelers to experience the Africa described in classic hunting or safari guide books.
Unfortunately, despite its immense natural resources and remarkable biodiversity, the Congo has long been plagued by violence. The majority of Congo’s national parks are unexplored and see few visitors. The presence of one of the world’s largest UN peacekeeping forces in the country’s east demonstrates the country’s instability. Despite the fact that the rest of the world has been denied the opportunity to properly appreciate this naturally gorgeous land, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
This blog focuses on Congo’s national parks. If you’re looking for further information, you may read about things to do in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or tourism activities in Kinshasa. We also have a section on things to do in Goma. Check out our 3-day Mount Nyiragongo Hike trip, 3-day Eastern Lowland Gorilla tour in Kahuzi Biega, or 3-day Mountain Gorilla tour in Virunga National Park for incredible Congo travel packages.
List of Congo National Parks.
Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park was established in April 1925 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is undoubtedly the greatest national park to visit if you want to experience authentic African natural splendor. It is a testimonial to the park’s outstanding beauty and biodiversity that, despite the often unpredictable security situation in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many people want to visit. Virunga is Congo’s oldest game park, covering an area of 7800 square kilometers. The wildlife park is located along the Great Albertine Rift to the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and borders Uganda to the west.
The park is divided into three sections: northern, southern, and center. The northern sector, which includes parts of the Semiliki River basin, is characterized by Savannah vegetation and montane forest areas. Alpine vegetation may be found in this area due to its high altitude and the presence of Mount Stanley, and it is Africa’s largest glacier region. The term “Virunga Massif” comes from the Park’s southern sector, which comprises seven volcanoes. These volcanoes were formed as a result of tectonic shifts in the earth’s crust, which resulted in intense volcanic activity. Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira are the two most visible of the seven volcanoes.
There are over 196 mammal species, 67 amphibian species, 708 bird species, and 108 reptile species, the most notable of which are Nile crocodiles. Regarding mammals, the park has the Aardvark, African Buffalos, African Bush Elephants, African Leopards, Bay Duikers, the Blue Duiker, Boehm’s Bush Squirrel, Bongo, Bushbuck, Checkered Elephant, Crested Porcupine, Emin’s Pouched Rat, Giant Forest Hog, Giant Pangolin, Lord Derby’s Scaly Tailed Squirrel, Marsh Mongoose, Okapi, Red River Hog, Tree Pangolin, Water Chevrotain, Western Tree Hyrax, Yellow Backed Duiker.
The Virunga National Park is designated as a lion conservation area, and despite poaching by local populations, there are still a significant number of lions there. Aside from animals, reptiles, and birds, Virunga National Park is home to native tribes like as the Batwa, Mbuti, Hutu, and Tutsi. These tribes profit from the park’s tourism activity by working as porters and local tour guides. Some of them introduce travelers to their rich cultures and traditions through music, traditional dances, languages, traditional residences, and food, among other things.
Kahuzi Biega National Park
This is one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s several UNESCO World Heritage sites. The park is located in the country’s south-east, between the town of Bukavu and the shores of Lake Kivu. Adrien Deschryver, a Belgian naturalist and photographer, founded the park in 1970. Kahuzi-Biega is around 6000 square kilometers in size, with much of it covered by lowland rain forest, bamboo forests, swamps, bogs, and marshes.
The park is named after two mountains: Kahuzi and Biega. Kahuzi Eastern Lowland Gorillas, eastern chimps, bush buffalo, forest elephants, owl-faced monkeys, bongos, otters, bush squirrels, aquatic civet, and galagos are just a few of the animals found in Biega National Park. The biggest gorilla subspecies is the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, commonly known as the Grauer’s Gorilla. The most popular activity is hiking with Eastern Lowland Gorillas. Tourists on a gorilla trekking expedition might also include bird watching, mountain climbing, and a tour of Bukavu.
Mangroves National Park.
Mangroves National Park, also known as Muanda Marine Reserve, is DRC’s smallest national park. The park is located on the banks of the Congo River. It has a land area of only 768 square kilometers and was gazetted in 1992.
Despite its tiny size, the Mangroves National Park has been designated as a Ramsar wetland due to its exceptional biodiversity and extensive mangrove forests. Mangroves National Park is the country’s sole maritime park, and the park’s mangrove forests are unique from those found in South Asia. Snakes, crocodiles, hippos, bushbucks, southern reedbucks, and various primates live in the park.
Salonga National Park.
Salonga is Africa’s largest forest national park, covering over 36,000 square kilometers and located along the Congo river basin between Kisangani and Kinshasa. The park was founded in 1956, but it was expanded in 1970. Salonga National Park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Wetlands, woods, meadows, and deep rainforests make up the park. To name a few, the park is home to the uncommon Salonga monkey, bonobos, Angolan slender mongoose, African golden cats, leopards, Congo Peacocks, African narrow-snouted crocodiles, long-tailed pangolin, and the elusive Okapi.
Salonga National Park is one of the top places in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to go birdwatching. Birdwatchers might expect to encounter cattle regrets, black storks, yellow-billed storks, and other indigenous species. Insecurity and inaccessibility owing to bad roads have limited tourism growth un several Congolese national parks. The park is only accessible via the Lokoro River.
Lomami National Park.
Lomami National Park is located in the provinces of Maniema and Tshopo, in the midst of the Lomami River. It was founded in 1992 and officially inaugurated in 2016. The park today has an area of 8,879 square kilometers, with many hills on the west and rain forest/savanna on the south.
African forest elephants, bonobos, okapi, Congo peacocks, grey parrots, Salonga monkeys, lesula monkeys (found exclusively in the park), the uncommon dryas monkey, and numerous smaller primates live in the park.
There is a lot to uncover in the interior areas of Lomami National Park and its extensive woodlands. The most serious threat to the park is hunting for bush meat and elephant tusks. While the interior portions of the park remain unspoiled, poachers have targeted larger animals residing on the forest’s outskirts.
Garamba National Park.
This is one of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s major national parks. Garamba, which was founded in 1938, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located in the country’s east (near the border with South Sudan) and encompasses around 5,200 square kilometers. Much of the park is made up of woods, savanna grasslands, rivers, and forests.
Lions, leopards, forest pigs, African elephants, forest elephants, buffaloes, indigenous Congolese giraffes, spotted hyenas, chimps, hippos, and many antelope species may also be found in Garamba. The Garamba National Park may still be the only place where wild northern white rhinos may be found.
African Parks oversees the park, as well as other African national parks such as Nyungwe in Rwanda. The park is patrolled by rangers from the Congolese government and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), but poachers, refugees, and militias continue to enter.
Garamba lost most of its species during the 1980s and 1990s Congo and Sudan conflicts, but several international conservation organizations have banded together to safeguard this biologically varied national park. The World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the Frankfurt Zoological Society are just a few of the numerous organizations that have contributed to the park’s rehabilitation.
Maiko National Park.
This national park has an area of 10,885 square kilometers and is located in one of the country’s most isolated places. Maiko began as a hunting reserve before being gazetted by the Belgian colonial administration in 1949.
The park is a fantastic site to visit if you want to see Congo’s distinctive creatures such as Congo peafowl, aquatic genet, okapi, African forest elephants, chimps, and the Eastern lowland gorilla. Maiko National Park is also an excellent location for learning about chimpanzee conservation.
Kundelungu National Park.
Kundelungu National Park, like Upemba, is located in the country’s south-east, specifically in Haut-Katanga province. It began as a private hunting ground and encompasses around 7600 square kilometers. Sport hunting was prohibited, and the area was designated as a national park.
Crocodiles, porcupines, jackals, buffaloes, tiny primates, numerous types of antelope, hippopotamuses, leopards, lions, zebras, and snakes are among the animals found in the park.
The Lofoi falls are a popular site in Kundelungu National Park. These waterfalls are one of the biggest on the continent, at 1,120 feet tall. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) designated the park as a Category II park in order to draw global attention to the conservation activities required to conserve it.