Until – Sanity- Peace return to Virunga National Park- Democratic Republic of Cong – track gorillas in safe Rwanda and or Uganda.
According to National Geographic Photographer ” Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo) is “the most dangerous place in the world to try to practice wildlife conservation,”
Unlike Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Mgahinga Gorilla Park in Uganda – Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda where it is safe and secure to track the sought after Mountain Gorillas – Volcanoes National Park – the surrounding areas and access to the park can be an adventure that the average traveler is not looking for.
There are times when entering the Virunga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo that you are entering into a war-zone. More than 140 rangers have been killed in the line of duty. Countless of others were chased away by rebel groups ( some have returned) and even the heroic and deeply committed to conservation Chief-Warden , the Belgian Prince Emmanuel de Merode, 43, was ambushed on a road in Virunga National Park in April of 2014. He has recovered from his injuries and returned to duty in the park due to his deep commitment to conservation.
While those work within Virunga National Park – visitors – tourists are not prepared for what may await them including the potential violence and bodily harm carried out by various rebel groups in that area of the DRC.
Add on top of that the hassles by officials and those who are not so official – road blocks that most often are there not to make you feel more secure but to shake you down.
Virunga National Park is park that would be simply fantastic to visit – and even the Rwanda Bradt Guide seems to come in on he side of recommending it and at the same time point to present Travel Advisories by governments such as the United Kingdom. There are also those by the USA, Australia and New Zealand that simply state “avoid Virunga National Park.
Some Ugandan, Rwandans, and Congolese Tour Operators promote Gorilla Treks into Virunga National Park and also the Volcano overnight climbs to Nyiragongo Volcano.
While we love to sell Safaris in this part of the world and like to make a profit, the welfare and safety of our clients is more important to us than profit and income and many other tour-operators in Rwanda and Uganda seem to concur with us.
Gorilla Tracking in a safe environment such as you find in Uganda and in Rwanda is a great experience – in Virunga National Park in he Democratic Republic of Congo the same activity and even entering the general area brings dangerous and potential life-threatening attacks that visitors to the park may face. Not something one will find written into a cheerful itinerary.
Remember the words of National Geographic Photographer ” Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo) is “the most dangerous place in the world to try to practice wildlife conservation,”
Best advice- track Gorillas in Rwanda and in or Uganda – stay safe and when Peace and Security returns to Virunga National Park we will be one of the first ones to promote safaris into Africa’s oldest and most biodiverse Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway, African Journeys