Visiting Virunga National Park – D.R. Congo in 2018

Posted by on June 5, 2018

 Visiting Virunga National Park – The Risk Factors in 2018

The Risk Factors for Gorilla Trekking- Volcano Safaris in Virunga National Park

Virunga Nationa Park Tourism has been suspended by Park Authorities until further notice due to the events that have taken in and near the Park in April and May 2018.   If you had an arrangement with a Tour Operator, you should contact them for alternate possibilities.

Virunga National Park Staff will now need your support in the form of donations to continue for the park to be operational during this time and this includes the Widow’s Fund.  

The Park will remain closed until December 2018 and may reopen in 2019 pending reviews and the then Security Situation.  It is presently the most dangerous Conservation area in Africa a sad reality

Visiting Virunga National Park in 2018?  More Tour Operators are now offering Gorilla Trekking, Nyiragongo Volcano Climbing Safaris in Virunga National Park in the Democratic  Republic of Congo.  The Park and its Natural Wonders have gotten a lot of great press from Travel Writers in recent times.

We would love to take our clients to the oldest and first National Park in Africa but presently we do not because of the Security Issues that outweigh the fabulous display of Mother Nature that is found there in spite of getting requests which we refer to other tour operators.

Virunga National Park is an African Treasure, the most Bio-Diverse Park and one of the best-managed parks under the guidance of its Chief Warden Emmanuel de Merode who has created a dedicated Team of conservation-minded rangers, including Female Rangers, recruiting them from the local villages surrounding the park.

The Park is like a bastion, a fortress of nature that is under attack. protected by a dedicated group of rangers, who are on the lookout for those involved in the lucrative but illegal charcoal trade using the park’s resources, the poachers, the rebels of one stripe or another, the bandits, corrupt soldiers.  

The two main activities that visitors come to Virunga National Park for are the Mountain Gorillas and Nyiragongo Volcano with its stunning Lava Lake. They are just the beginning of what one can do & see in this vast park. Like many, it is our hope that soon, the park will be conflict-free and that includes the area surrounding the park.

Thinking of Visiting Virunga National Park in 2018

 Visiting Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic is the dream of many African Travelers, sadly that region of the DRC is continuing a path seems to lead into the Abyss, not resembling the vision of Chief Warden Emmanuel de Merode for both oldest park in Africa and the Congolese People, thousands of Congolese Refugees are pouring across the border into Rwanda and Uganda seeking refuge from the violence taking place in the Eastern Province of Kivu.

There have been two unfortunate incidents during the months of April and May of 2018 where rangers were killed and tourists kidnapped.  The tourists were later released.

Many in the International Community such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK recommend that you do not visit the area which includes Virunga National Park.  Most insurance companies, with the exception of those specializing in high-risk insurance, will not cover you while you are there.

Gorilla Trekking Safaris in Virunga National Park – D.R. Congo in 2018, will take some extra planning and precautions and should not be done without consulting Virunga National Park itself.

  Visiting Virunga National Park – Common Sense Advice

If you want to visit Virunga National Park in 2018 – do your research before you go, go beyond the glowing Tour Operator pages and check out current information about your personal Safety and Security.

Begin by visiting the Official Park site, contacting them directly.  Check out the current Travel Advisories issued by various Countries such as the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and others.

Check with the Travel Insurance Company whether your visit will be covered.  Do not arrange your own Transport to the park, but use an authorized Virunga National Park Tour Operator.

Do not leave your common sense at home but bring it with you.  When it comes to African Travel, Safety and Security are two big issues on the mind of Travelers that want to know the Risk Factors, know Security measures that are being taken and more.

Virunga National Park, one of the best-managed parks in Africa, a highly dedicated team of Rangers – sadly the situation of that part of DR Congo has remained volatile, corrupt, dangerous with rebels and criminals active – against such odds there are limits as to what can be done.

  • Visit the Official Virunga National Park Site for latest updates – follow them on Twitter and Facebook  and join their mailing list for updates.
  • Check the latest Security Advisories and Travel Alerts for Eastern Congo – New advisories will be issued following the attack on Rangers in Virunga National Park.
  • Make Visa Arrangements for the DRC directly with Virunga National Park and follow DRC entrance requirements.
  • Do Google News Searches for Virunga National Park 
  • Use only a Virunga National Park recommended Tour Operator
  • Do not make your own Transport arrangements but check with the Park
  • Check with the Travel Insurance Company whether you will be covered visiting the Park
  • See the Documentary “Virunga” on Netflix

 If you are planning on Visiting Virunga National Park in eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo you are entering a high-risk zone, meaning you are taking chances that you need to consider if you are concerned about your personal safety and security. 

Put aside the travel articles you have read, check the current state of things.  The DRC is another world, lawlessness comes to mind in describing the current state of things the Eastern regions of the DRC and around Virunga National Park.

Our Suggestion is this, do not check with a Tour Operator but check for current conditions and advice directly with Virunga National Park, portions of the park already have been determined to be unsafe and they will know best and tell you honestly whether a visit to the park is safe or not. The park knows well that visitors come to for an encounter with gorillas and not guerillas and they are doing their all to secure the park.

It all comes down to your Personal Safety and Security – ultimately the Choice is yours, Choose Wisely.  We wish you a thought through and Safe Journey.