Welcome to Virunga National Park

About the Park

Located in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Virunga is one of the world’s most biodiverse treasures and Africa’s oldest National Park. It’s home to more mammal, bird and reptile species than any other protected areas on the planet – including three extraordinary taxa of Great Apes.

A Visit to Virunga

The Park abounds with breathtaking sights – dense jungles, vast bubbling lava lakes, wide savannah plains and glacier-clad mountains. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, a visit to Virunga is an experience unlike any other. For those seeking to encounter exceptional wildlife and landscapes, Virunga offers an unparalleled experience.

In the southern sector, visitors can reach the summit of Mt. Nyiragongo, an active stratovolcano, to watch the world’s largest lava lake churn while camping on its crater’s rim. Guests looking to try their hand at mountaineering can climb the 5,109 m (16,761 ft) Rwenzori Mountains in the Park’s northern sector to explore high montane forests, before emerging to find the largest snow-capped glaciers left on the African continent.

And for a truly African experience, visitors can take a safari through the vast savanna of the central sector’s Ishasha Plains, enjoying fantastic views of big mammal wildlife including elephants, lions, hippos, buffalo and giant forest hogs.

Of the few remaining places left in the world to see endangered mountain gorillas, Virunga National Park stands as the most unique. Living peacefully on the forested slopes of the Park’s volcanoes, mountain gorillas are highly intelligent, good natured, and fascinating to observe. An encounter with Virunga’s mountain gorillas is an experience that will leave you awestruck and forever changed.

The Park also offers a range of accommodations for those looking to relax and unwind amongst stunning views – including the luxurious Mikeno Lodge, the serene simplicity of Tchegera Island, and the newly built Kibumba tented camp, starting point for gorilla trekking.

Accommodations

About our Accommodations

Virunga National Park offers a selection of unique camps and lodges to visitors.

Click below to learn more about each of Virunga’s accommodation options

Treks

About our Treks

Virunga National Park offers visitors a range of exceptional and diverse treks.

Click below to learn more about Virunga’s trekking options:

Packages

About our Package

Guests can currently book packages for their visit to Virunga National Park.

Click below to learn more about each of our available package options

Travel Requirements

Requirement Checklist

Before traveling to Virunga National Park it is important to first confirm that all requirements to enter into the DRC, Uganda, and Rwanda have been secured. It is also important to make sure that all immunizations are up-to-date and all applicable visas have been processed and printed.

Immunizations

A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required to enter the DRC, Uganda, and Rwanda. After receiving the vaccine, you will receive a signed and stamped Yellow Fever Card, which you must bring with you on your trip.

The certificate should show your full name, date of birth, and gender as written in your passport. Please note that you must receive this vaccine at least 10 days before departing for your trip.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions

Find general information and answers to your questions about visiting and exploring Virunga National Park. For additional questions please email visit@virunga.org.

Frequent Asked Questions

A. All international travellers must secure a visa in order to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo. For your convenience, you are able to book visas through Virunga's website upon purchase of a package. If you are travelling through Rwanda and Uganda, you will also need to arrange for visas for those countries separately. Virunga cannot arrange this for you. This can be done via their respective consulate webpages.

A. All travellers must have a valid yellow fever shot and vaccine card with their name, date of birth, and sex to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo. This vaccine must be administered 10 days prior to entering the country.

A. Prophylactic malaria medicine can be prescribed by your doctor prior to visiting Virunga. This however is not mandatory and is up to your personal discretion. Access to medication is limited within the Park so it is advised that you pack all current medication for your travels. Small first aid kits are also advisable.

A. Packages booked directly with Virunga include in country transport to, from and within the Park. Package price also includes accommodation, meals (with the exception of Nyiragongo), laundry service during your stay in the Park and relevant Park permits. Please use the comment section at checkout to let us know of any dietary restrictions. Not included in the package price: drinks, gratuities, anything of personal nature including items from the gift shops. Backpacks with volcano gear, including food and a cook, are available for a fee for those having booked a volcano trek.

A. Swahili and French are the languages spoken around the Park. The majority of the tourism staff can speak English.

A. Camping is not permitted in Virunga National Park at this time.

A. Items such as footballs/volleyballs, soft, bouncy or beach balls, skipping ropes, children’s sports games, coloring books, crayons, pencils, pens, chalk, rulers, sharpeners, rubbers/erasers and stuffed toys are always welcome.

A. For general questions about the Park, please email info@virunga.org. For tourism related questions, please email visit@virunga.org. Virunga's tourism office in location in Goma, at the Grand Barrier border crossing.

A. Payments can be made with major debit or credit cards using our online booking system. Once in the Park, if paying with cash, only USD will be accepted. Please ensure all notes are clean, there are no damaged or torn bills and that all bills are not older than 2009, as banks in the DRC will not accept currency notes printed prior to this date. Even a slight tear will not be accepted. Please see a member of our staff if you wish to make credit card payments for your extras within the Park.

A. There is cell phone service throughout the Park. In order to avoid likely high international roaming rates, it advisable for international visitors to purchase a Congolese SIM card before arrival to the Park.

A. For travelers staying at one of Virunga’s accommodations, including the volcano, a tip box will be available. Tips will be divided up equally between site staff members. If you are pleased with the service, the general rule for tipping is USD 10.00 per person per day.

A. Virunga National Park is currently welcoming tourists. The safety of our visitors is of the highest priority and our staff consistently assess the situation on the ground to ensure appropriate security protocols are in place. If any signs indicate a security issue, management may decide to temporarily close one or more of its attractions. All bookings for these attractions will be refunded in full or alternative options offered. All visitors must make an assessment on advice from their respective consular services.If you have any further queries, please contact the tourism team by email visit@virunga.org.

A. Protection for at least USD 100,000 emergency medical evacuation plus USD 100,000 medical expenses is mandatory. Visitors are wholly responsible for arranging their own insurance and ensuring that they are in possession of private Travel Insurance with protection for the full duration of the trip in respect of medical expenses, injury, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment, with adequate benefits. Visitors making their own arrangements should ensure that there are no exclusion clauses limiting protection for the type of activities included in their tour.

A. Filtered drinking water is provided for guests staying at all Virunga accommodations with the exception of Nyiragongo.

A. All transport is either organised by the Park or trusted DRC tour operators. If you are taking Park transport, it is included in the price of your package.

A. Point of entry pick-up and hotel transfer (if applicable) within country as well as all transport to, from and within the Park is included in your package price. If you will be staying in Goma prior to or after your stay in Virunga, you can independently organize additional transport directly with a tour operator.

A. If arriving by car and after clearing passport control at the Grande Barriere border crossing, please check in with the Virunga tourism office conveniently located in the same building. If arriving by plane, a Virunga staff will meet you at the arrivals area upon clearing passport control. In both cases, Virunga staff will guide you to the appropriate transport thereafter.

A. For logistical reasons, it is likely that you will share transport with other guests.