Gorilla Trekking in Virunga National Park
Gorilla trekking in Virunga national park: Virunga national park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic republic of Congo and its one of the destinations which offer adventurous gorilla trekking activity. Gorilla trekking is an interesting activity that involves visitors moving on foot into the forest in search of the mountain gorillas and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Apart from Virunga national park, mountain gorillas are also found in other destinations like Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Bwindi impenetrable national park which is known for harboring the highest number of gorillas and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking experience in Virunga national park
Virunga national park is a home of about 8 habituated gorilla families namely Humba, Lulengo, Kabirizi, Rugendo, Bageni, Nyakamwe, Munyaga and Mapuwa gorilla families which are available for trekking daily. Gorilla trekking in Virunga starts in the morning with a briefing from the park guide about the rules and regulations at the park headquarters. After the briefing visitors will be divided into groups of 8 people where each group will be allocated a habituated gorilla family to trek and head into the forest with an experienced park guide in search of the mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking takes about 30 minutes to 7 hours depending on where the gorillas are located because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will be able to view other primate species like chimpanzees, blue monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, olive baboons, mammals, different bird species, plants among others. Once the gorillas are found you will be able to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you a chance to watch them feed, breastfeed, observe their behaviors, lifestyle, take photos and record the breathtaking moments.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Virunga national park
A gorilla trekking permit in Virunga national park costs USD 400 per person which is cheaper compared to Volcanoes national park in Rwanda where a single gorilla trekking permit costs USD 1500 per person and Bwindi impenetrable national park in Uganda where a single gorilla trekking permit costs USD 700 per person. A gorilla trekking permit in Congo includes one hour with the endangered mountain gorillas, park entry fees and services of a park guide.
Gorilla trekking permits in Virunga national park should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because the permits are competitive and get sold out quickly especially during the peak season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February therefore in order to avoid disappointments visitors are advised to book in advance.
How to book a gorilla trekking permit in Virunga national park
A gorilla trekking permit can either be booked directly by contacting Virunga reservation offices through email or a trusted tour operator like Achieve global safaris. When booking through Achieve global safaris, you will contact us with your names, date, month and year when you wish to trek the mountain gorillas. We will then check for permit availability and if there are permits matching your dates, you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit. Once we receive the payments we will purchase the permit on your behalf.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking can be done anytime throughout the year though the best period is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During this period there is less or little rainfall in the national park therefore gorilla trekking trails in the jungle will be passable compared to the wet season when the trails are wet, muddy and slippery which make trekking difficult.
What to pack for your gorilla trekking safari in Virunga national park
- Hiking boots to keep your feet dry when trekking in the jungle
- Long sleeved shirt and trouser to keep you warm and protect you from biting insects
- Waterproof rain jacket to protect you from rainfall
- Energy giving snacks such as packed lunch and drinking water to keep you hydrated
- Cameras and extra batteries to take photos with a flash less camera and record the moments.
- Hat and sun glasses to protect you from strong sun rays
- Pair of binoculars for clear viewing of other wildlife species in the park including birds, mammals and other primates.
- Backpack to carry your trekking essentials like camera, insect repellent, binoculars, energy giving snacks among others.
Where to stay during the gorilla trekking safari in Virunga national park
Virunga national park has several accommodation facilities where visitors on a gorilla trekking safari can stay. The accommodations range from luxury, midrange, budget, campsites and they include Mikeno, lodge, Bukima tented camp, Tchegera Island tented camp, Nyiragongo summit cabin, Kibumba tented camp, Lulimbi tented camp among others.