2018 is a year for rejoicing and celebrations in Virunga national park with the birth of baby gorillas. So far, 7-baby gorillas have been born in the months of January and February 2018 something that really calls for celebration. Just like in human homes were all family members rejoice when a baby is born, 7th January was the first day in this year for rejoicing in Virunga national park. Sebutimbiri a member of Mapuwa family surprised the park rangers when they found her with a baby boy in the morning when they had gone to check on gorilla families. A few days after, the park received four more babies in five consecutive days. The second baby was born on 4th February in Bageni family by Mivumbi followed by Rwubaka which also gave birth to a baby gorilla boy on 12th feb 2018 also in Bageni family.
Much as the birth of baby gorillas in Virunga national park is attributed to fortune, the commitment and sacrifice of park rangers is yet another factor for the increase of mountain gorilla numbers in the park. These rangers have whole-heartedly sacrificed extended time and energy in monitoring gorillas and protecting them from any possible threat. Each day, rangers wake up very early track into the forest to clear up the snares by the poachers as well as checking all gorilla families to confirm all gorillas are in good health. Checking id done on a daily basis with or without of the travelers.
Also, gorilla doctors have played a vital role in ensuring well being of mountain gorillas. The doctors help to treat the sick and injured gorillas bringing them to good happy life. Interestingly, the population of mountain gorillas in Virunga national park has increased overtime. The park is now a home to eight gorilla families all habituated for trekking. These include kabirizi family, Rugendo family, Humba family, Lulengo family, Mapuwa family, Nyakamwe family, Munyaga family and Bageni family. Each of these families has different number of mountain gorillas counting from 5 members to over 30 individuals all ready to receive you.
Gorilla trekking is the most done tourism activity in Virunga national park, which draw thousands of travelers from all parts of the world to have a close encounter of meting face to face with these gentle giants in their natural habitat. Fortunately, gorilla safaris to Congo are relatively cheap at 450usd for gorilla permits compared to 1500usd in Rwanda and 600usd in Uganda.
Virunga is one of the three national parks that make up the Virunga conservation area/massif alongside Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda. The highest number of the world’s mountain gorillas lives in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest national park which hosts over 480 gorillas split into 15 gorilla families.
Other activities done in Virunga national park
Besides gorilla tracking, Virunga national park offers you much more to see and do which together reward travelers with a life changing experience. The must do activities in the park include:
- Volcano climbing
Do not miss out a hike to the summit of mount Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira (the only active volcanoes in the world) both in the heart of Virunga national park. Unlike Nyiragongo, mount Nyamuragira is more active and travelers are discouraged from hiking is to ensure safety. The summit of mount Nyiragongo hosts the world largest lava lake with dazzling fumes. The volcano last erupted in 2002, which left the town of, Goma shuttered down. Local people and travelers are reminded to be careful and take caution of a new eruption that is expected to take place any time. Travelers are rewarded with great views of Virunga national park, the Virunga volcanoes and other attractions in the neighboring countries Uganda and Rwanda.
- Nature /forest walks
A forest walk in Virunga national park help you explore and enjoy the beauty nature has offered to the country. Various trails have been made in the park, which lead to different end points some to the waterfalls and others to rocks and other attractions. Travelers therefore follow different trails basing on their interests but the experience is surely life changing. Expect to meet may other wildlife in the park such as forest elephants, buffaloes, colobus monkeys and baboons among others. You will also enjoy the sweet sounds of birds singing up in the trees, which melodies last forever.
In conclusion therefore, book a gorilla family to Virunga national park, trek the famous mountain gorillas, hike the active volcanoes and do forest walks. A combination of these activities makes a complete package to Virunga national park rewarding you an extra ordinary experience.