Sectors of Virunga National Park
Sectors of Virunga National Park are three, in which the park is divided for easy access and manoeuvre by travellers visiting the park for various park activities. Virunga National Park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and is part of the great Virunga Massif Area that stretches as far as Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park and Uganda in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Virunga National Park is the oldest national park in Congo gazetted in 1925, previously known as Albert National Park. The park is a mere 15 minutes from Goma town, where most travellers arrive at while transferring to the park.
Virunga National Park was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979 for its biodiversity and the mountain gorillas that inhabit the park. The park also inhabits volcanoes that rise above giving travellers wonderful views both afar and when hiking them. Mount Nyiragongo in particular is the most hiked volcano in Virunga National Park because it has a wide lava lake that is so breath-taking upon sighting it at the summit. The park also has over 200 species of birds, butterflies, plant species and other animals like bush elephants and chimpanzees that make the park the more amazing and worth visiting. It is gorilla trekking and hiking Mount Nyiragongo, however, that travellers do the most when in Virunga National Park.
Covering an area of 8090 square kilometres and bordering both Rwanda and Uganda, the park shares some attractions with the neighbouring countries. Given its vastness, Virunga National Park was divided into 4 sectors. The 4 sectors of Virunga National Park are the central sector commonly known as Lulimbi sector, the southern sector commonly known as Kibumba sector, the northern sector and eastern sector which is also referred to as Bukima sector. Each of these four sectors offer unique experiences to travellers visiting. Below are the 4 sectors of Virunga National Park elaborated for you;
- The eastern sector of Virunga National Park as commonly referred to as Bukima sector of Virunga National Park, has a number of mountain gorillas which many travellers visit for a gorilla trekking experience. This is the most commonly opted for sector of Virunga National Park, and is the starting point of many gorilla trekking adventures in the park. Travellers from different sectors convene here for a briefing by park officials about their gorilla trekking adventure in waiting before they embark on it. The Bukima sector of Virunga National Park has one of the best accommodation options in the park; Bukima Tented Camp and a luxurious Mikeno Lodge. These offer great comfort and safety to travellers and good service.
While in Bukima sector of Virunga National Park, travellers have an opportunity to visit the Senkwekwe Gorilla orphanage which is in the compound of Mikeno Lodge with travellers staying in Mikeno Lodge visiting it for free. Mahura forest, also in Bukima sector, has chimpanzees which can be visited on a chimpanzee habituation experience with the chimpanzee experts and researchers.
Bukima sector is also where the park headquarters of Virunga National Park are, and they are just next to Mikeno Lodge.
- The southern sector of Virunga National Park as commonly known as Kibumba sector stretches downward to Lake Kivu, encompassing Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Nyamulagira and Mount Mikeno. This is a hotspot for mountain gorilla trekking due to a number of them being found here. This sector has a variety of birdlife making it a hotspot for bird watching as well. Among the birds travellers are sure to spot include the blue headed sun bird, red throated thrush, collard appalis, and mountain masked appalis, among so many more. Mountain gorilla trekking, Mount Nyiragongo hiking, bird watching, nature walks, are some of the activities travellers that choose this sector get to take part in. Kibumba tented Camp is one of the most opted for lodgings in this sector of Virunga National Park.
- The central sector, commonly known as Lulimbi sector of Virunga National Park, covers up to the eastern border of Uganda and a third of Lake Edward. In the Lulimbi sector of Virunga National Park, travellers have an opportunity to encounter wildlife like lions in the savannah vegetation of the Ishasha plains, which stretch further to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. This is why a number of wildlife can be seen in this sector, including elephants, buffaloes, and antelopes among others. Travellers can spot these while on a game drive or walking safari usually in the morning or evening. While at the River Ishasha bank, travellers enjoy sights of hippos that are resident in Lulimbi sector, as well as savannah elephants which usually come for a drink. Game drives, walking safaris as well as walks along River Ishasha are some of the activities travellers visiting this sector of Virunga National Park get to engage in. Lulimbi Tented Camp is usually opted for by travellers.
- The northern sector of Virunga National Park is not such a popular sector as the others due to mostly underdevelopment. Travellers interested in exploring untapped and really wild part of Virunga National Park should surely visit this sector. The sector covers part of the Semuliki river region and the Ruwenzori mountain ranges that the Congo shares with Uganda. For accommodation, camping, with your own equipment is possible.
All the four sectors of Virunga National Park offer travellers with a lot to experience. Irrespective of which sector you are staying in, it is possible to take part in all the activities that are in other sectors. A 7 days Congo safari tour in Virunga National Park is long enough to have you explore all the 4 sectors of Virunga National Park. Get in touch with a reputable and knowledgeable tour operator to help you plan the best Virunga National Park safari and get to take the most beautiful memories with you.