Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

2017
07.31.2018
Rangers Project
On #WorldRangerDay, we are so proud of the efforts of our rangers, who show dedication and resilience, despite the dangers they face.

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07.22.2018
Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, receives his PhD
Congratulations to Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, who received his PhD from the University of Kinshasa last week! Ephrem has been r...

Explore EPHREM BALOLE, MANAGER OF VIRUNGA SARL, RECEIVES HIS PHD

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06.06.2018
Rangers Project
We are so proud that Jolie, one of Virunga’s female rangers, shared her story of what motivated her to become a ranger at the European Devel...

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06.05.2018
Fallen Rangers Project
Representatives from the Rumangabo Widows sewing workshop attended the European Development Days conference in Brussels, where they showcase...

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05.31.2018
Virunga coffee launches!
One for the coffee fans out there: every purchase of Higher Grounds' Kawa Kanzururu Coffee goes towards supporting the development work of V...

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05.31.2018
Rangers Project
We are so delighted to share the news that the mountain gorilla population has surpassed 1000! Incredible news for Virunga and incredible news for conservation, and testament to the continued work of Virunga's Rangers in ensuring the protection of the species.

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02.13.2018
Fallen Rangers Fund
Children of the fallen Rangers playing in the child care center at the widows workshop! On-site child care reduces the initial stressors tha...

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12.05.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A total of 68 widows and 190 children of fallen Rangers, are now, thanks to the Fallen Rangers Fund, being offered financial support, education, and meaningful employment.

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09.11.2017
Rangers Project
Today, Park Rangers along with the Gorilla Doctors team successfully located the Rugendo group and removed a deadly snare from the arm of yo...

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07.30.2017
Rangers Project
Happy World Ranger Day! We are extremely proud and grateful to all our Rangers. These men and women are deeply committed to Virunga and ensu...

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07.29.2017
Rangers Project
Last week marked the completion of 5 months of incredibly tough training for Virunga's newest Rangers. 6500 applied, 81 made it through.

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01.12.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A beautiful selection of napkins made by the widows of fallen Rangers are on sale at Mikeno Lodge.

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Photo Credit: Brent Stirton; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo Credit: Adam Kiefer; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Orlando von Einsiedel

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Explore Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse protected area

Unlike anywhere else in the world, Virunga National Park contains some of the greatest national treasures on earth

About Virunga

Learn more

Stability through sustainable development in the eastern Congo

The Virunga Alliance is working to create an alternative economy that enables surrounding communities to benefit from the National Park

Virunga Alliance

Learn more

Meet the heroes who risk their lives to protect the Park’s wildlife and local communities

Rangers’ work is critical to the stability of the Park and the safety of the lives that surround it

Rangers Project

Learn more

Meet the orphan gorillas of Virunga’s Senkwekwe Center

The world’s only sanctuary caring for mountain gorillas separated from their families by poaching or conflict

Gorilla Orphan Project

Learn more

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

Kibumba Tented Camp

Tchegera Tented Camp

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:

Mountain Gorilla Trek

Nyiragongo Volcano Trek

Packages

Packages

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

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

Nyiragongo

Mikeno Mist

Tchegera

Travel Requirements

Requirements 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.

Applying for a Visa

Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), the Congolese wildlife authority, has an agreement with Direction Générale de Migration (DGM), the Congolese immigration service, to facilitate obtaining 2-week, single entry tourist visas for people visiting Virunga National Park. The cost of the visa is USD 105.


To qualify for a tourist visa, you must first purchase a package. Tourist visas purchased online through Virunga National Park are non-refundable.

Once you have booked a package and have received confirmation of your payment, you will receive an order number immediately. Please proceed to the online visa application, enter your order number at the top of the form, fill in the remaining fields, and click submit. As Congolese visas can take some time to process, it is advisable to apply as soon as you make your package booking. Tourists visas obtained through the Park will be sent electronically two weeks prior to your travel date via the e-mail address you provide at the time of your booking.


Finally, please make sure to secure any other visas that you will need as you make your way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Countries such as Rwanda and Uganda allow some nationalities to obtain visas upon arrival to their main airports, however, it is up to the individual traveler to verify visa requirements in advance of arrival.

Important Visa Notes

Virunga National Park only acts as a facilitator in the visa process. Full authority rests with the DRC’s Department of Migration (DGM) in Kinshasa. For tourist visas obtained through the Park, DGM will issue an electronic visa that will be sent to your e-mail that you must print out and present at the border (Grande Barriere) along with a print-out of package confirmation details. Virunga’s tourism team will verify that all paid-in-full applicants are on the list of approved visas at the border in Goma. Virunga’s tourism office is conveniently located in the Grande Barriere building and have staff on hand in the event that you require assistance at passport control.

People flying Ethiopian Airlines directly into Goma must notify the tourism team two weeks before their schedule departure. Please email Vianney Harakandi (vianney@virunga.org) with visit@virunga.org in copy with the name of your departure airport to ensure your visa information has been communicated to Ethiopian Airlines. Failure to do so may result in you not being able to board your flight.


Please note that you can also arrange your tourism visa through a registered tour operator. Click to view our list of trusted tour operators.

Tourist Visa in Review


  1. Only available online through visitvirunga.org or via a trusted tour operator

  2. Only valid in combination with a paid-in-full Park package

  3. Requires a minimum of two weeks to process and fees are non-refundable

  4. Single entry and valid for 14 days from day of entry

  5. Please bring printed copies of your package confirmation and DGM issued electronic visa details


  1. Please email a scanned copy of your passport to visa@virunga.org upon completion of your visa application.

  2. Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required for access into the country

  3. The Department of Migration (DGM) reserves the right to reject a visa application

  4. Please cross into Goma at the “Grand Barrière” NOT at the “Petite Barrière”

Transportation

Travel Options

Find out more details about available transport options for your visit to Virunga National Park.

Getting To Virunga

International Travel


Visitors to Virunga National Park usually fly into Kigali International Airport and take the 3+ hour taxi ride to the 'Grand Barrièr' border crossing at Gisenyi, Rwanda/Goma, DRC. Take note of the details of your travel arrangements and plan accordingly as international flights often arrive in the late afternoon or evening.


Alternatively, guests can fly into Goma airport. Ethiopian Airlines and many domestic DRC airlines fly into Goma. It is advised to book accommodation in Goma on the day of your arrival since flights are regularly delayed.

Taxi Service


Taxis typically charge USD 100 from Kigali to the DRC border. Hotels can arrange a taxi for you. Virunga National Park staff and many visitors use Dieudonné Nkongori’s taxi service (USD 100). Reservations can be made by emailing him at dnkongori@yahoo.com or by phoning him at +243 995670967 or +250 788500933.


Disclaimer: Virunga National Park is not affiliated with, and receives no financial or other benefit from, any taxi or other transportation service. Virunga National Park therefore is not liable or responsible for any act or omission of any taxi operator, taxi business or other transportation service, whether or not recommended by Virunga National Park.

Official Virunga Transport


If you booked your package directly with Virunga (via visitvirunga.org), all transport once inside DRC, including inside the Park, will be provided.


If you booked your package through a DRC tourist operator, you are free to organize your transport within Goma and to and from the Park, with them.

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

General

Safety

Transportation

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Q. Do I need a visa to visit the Park?

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.

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Q. What mandatory vaccines are needed?

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.

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Q. What recommended medication do you suggest?

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.

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Q. What does my Virunga package include?

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.

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Q. What languages are spoken around the Park?

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

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Q. Can I camp in Virunga?

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

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Q. Can I bring non-monetary donations for the Ranger's families and the community?

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.

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Q. How can I get in touch with the Park?

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.

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Q. What forms of payment can I use in Virunga?

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 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.

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Q. Will I get cell phone service in Virunga?

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.

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Q. Is it customary to tip Virunga staff members?

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.

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Q. Is Virunga Safe?

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.

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Q. Is insurance mandatory for this trip?

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.

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Q. Is the drinking water in Virunga safe?

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

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Q. What is the best way to get around Virunga?

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.

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Q. What is included in Virunga's transportation?

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.

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Q. How will I meet my driver at the border?

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.

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Q. Will my Virunga car be shared with other tourists?

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