Congo’s Virunga National Park to re-open on 15th February 2019

mountain gorilla trekking

Congo’s Virunga National Park to re-open on 15th February 2019

After eight months since the management of Virunga National Park took a profoundly difficult decision to close the park, Congo’s Virunga National Park to re-open on 15th February 2019 for tourism. The 3,000sq.mi park founded in 1925 is Africa’s oldest national Park renowned as the prime Congo gorilla trekking safari destination since it hosts the only Mountain Gorillas in West Africa. Virunga National park is situated in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province bordering south western Rwanda and south western Uganda. Rwanda and Uganda share with Congo the Virunga massif (chain of volcanoes) in which Virunga National Park is located with Rwanda having a park known as Volcanoes National Park and Uganda having Mgahinga Gorilla National Park all being host to Mountain Gorillas.

Gorilla trekking in virunga National Park

Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park

Saturday 2nd June 2018 was the day when the chief warden of Virunga National Park, Emanuel De Merode, released an official statement announcing the closure of the park till the end of that year. While making his statement Mr. Emanuel De Merode stated that;

For Virunga to be safely visited, much more robust measures are needed than in the past. This will require a very significant investment, and makes it impossible for us to re-open tourism this year.”

 

 

This decision came following several killings and kidnaps that had occurred in the country especially leading to the loss of lives of park rangers making Congo safaris unsafe within the North Kivu province. By June 2018, at least 12 rangers had been killed in clashes with militia and smugglers within Virunga in the last 10 months making it one of the bloodiest periods in the park’s history.

Is Virunga National Park safe for tourists as it plans to re-open by 15th February 2019?

Many of you have been asking when is Virunga National Park Congo re opening for tourism? This is now answered, and surely the next question is whether the park is safe;

Either for a Congo gorilla trekking tour or a hiking trip to Mount Nyiragongo (one of Africa’s most active stratovolcanoes) the park management is taking all measures to make sure tourists are safe.

As the park is set to re-open on the 15th February 2019, the management of Virunga National Park is dedicated to ensuring the highest safety and security of all its visitors. Virunga Rangers are trained at international standards for visitor protection, including close protection, communication, first aid and evacuation procedures. In addition, Park management oversees the security environment by maintaining close ties with local authorities, community leaders, embassies, UN agencies and NGOs. The park management also cautions all tourists on Congo tours to adopt the appropriate level of sensitivity to the local cultural and political environment as an essential element of your personal security and of those accompanying you throughout your visit.

Yes, the park is going to re-open and for the many tourists who have been longing to tailor either their Uganda gorilla trekking safari or gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda then you can start planning now. Choose the package of your choice and contact a trusted Congo safari tour operator for details and good preparations.

 

 

 

 

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