Accommodations in Virunga national park include a luxury lodge and several medium range safari tented camps. Travelers on Congo safaris can also find lodging in Goma city, which is 48.5km via N2 (1 hour 20 min drive) to Rumangabo, the main visitor center. Virunga is best known for mountain gorilla trekking and hiking Mt. Nyiragongo 3,470 m (11,385 feet), which is Africa’s most active volcano. Regardless of where you stay, you will have access to Africa’s oldest protected areas with rich biodiversity including mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, African elephants, over 700 species of birds and 2,077 plant species of which 230 are Albertine rift endemics. Virunga National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site covering 7,800 sq.km which encampasses a variety of habitats such as tropical forests, savanna active volcanoes, plains, rivers, lakes, wetlands and the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountain ranges. The park has different sectors including the southern, eastern and northern and those visiting should know where to go in Virunga national park.
The Southern area
The southern Virunga sector, also known as Kibumba contains the main visitor center at Rumangabo, where gorilla trekking begins. There’s also Senkwekwe gorilla orphanage center, which opened in 2010 to take care of the gorillas that survive poaching and snares. The area includes Mount Mikeno (extinct volcano) and the active Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo volcanoes. The beautiful scenery in southern Virunga makes it a nice place to visit for keen photographers.
Central sector (Lulimbi)
The central sector is actually in the eastern part of Virunga, which borders Ishasha wilderness Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. In contrast to the south, the area contains savanna plains, riverine forests which attract large mammal species including lions, elephants and buffaloes. There’s only one lodging option, Lulimbi tented camp, visitors who stay there have a chance to do game drives.
Mikeno lodge is set on the foothills of Mount Mikeno at Rumangabo, the headquarters of Virunga National Park. It has 12 stone-built cottages with grass thatch roofs surrounded by the Mahura forest teeming with monkeys and birds, making it a perfect place for nature lovers. Each cottage contains en-suit bathrooms with hot and cold showers. There’s a fireplace and private lounge in every room guaranteeing maximum relaxation. Hydro power is available for you to charge your gadgets with 2 pin standard plugs in the rooms and in the main lodge building, restaurant and bar. The raised platform offers a view of the forest as you enjoy food including honey roasted butternut with avocados mousse. The lodge has a garden and also obtains vegetables and tropical forests from the community farmers, making it sustainable.
Tchegera tented Camp
Tchegera tented camp has six safari tents set on the crescent-shaped island in Lake Kivu. Rooms feature en-suite bathrooms, hot and cold water and can host up to 8 guests. The camp is 58 km (1-hour drive) north of Virunga National Park gorilla center. Staying there means that you will wake up early in the morning to arrive on time for gorilla trekking. However, it’s a nice place to stay with a soothing atmosphere and spectacular views of the active Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira. Visitors can enjoy water activities including boat cruises, kayaking and canoeing. Food and drinks including congolese local cuisine are provided at the restaurant.
Bukima tented camp
Bukima tented camp is 10-minute walk from the gorilla center and close to the ranger station, making it a safer place to stay in Virunga national park. Inside the tents, you will find king-size beds, hot showers, sitting chairs and en-suite bathrooms. Besides the restaurant and bar, the camp has an outdoor fireplace and dining option.
Kibumba Tented camp
Kibumba tented camp is 30 km (less than 1-hour drive) from Virunga National Park and 29 km from Goma city. There are 18 high quality safari tents each with en-suite bathrooms and hot showers. The restaurant and bar is available for guests to enjoy food and drinks. The camp is set in the community and welcomes guest donations of any nature. There are gardens for guests to enjoy the beautiful views of the park’s volcanoes.
Lulimbi tented camp
One of the best accommodations for nature lovers to stay in Virunga national park, Lulimbi tented camp offers 10 safari tents with en-suit bathrooms. The camp is built on the banks of Ishasha river in the eastern part of Virunga national park. The area contains both riverine forests and savanna plains, which attract mammal species including elephants, congo buffaloes, hippos and giant forest hogs often graze around. The camp is 160 km away from the park visitor center, thus can be used as an option for those intending to explore the different side of Virunga. In addition to gorillas, guests at Lulimbi tented camp can enjoy safari game drives.
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