The Virunga National park form part of Virunga mountain ranges that extends to Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. Virunga National park is located is Easter Democratic republic of Congo and is one of the most biologically diverse protected park in the world with half of the biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa found in this Park.
The park has two world wonders, which include the Nyiragongo active volcano and the mountain gorillas among others.
This was the first park in Africa founded in 1925 and was known as Albert National park then by King Albert 1 Belgium before it was renamed Virunga National park in 1969 in the post independent Congo. It was found with the main reason of protecting the mountain gorillas living in the Virunga forest.Many questions are always asked concerning Virunga national park and some of the questions and answers to Virunga National park are as below;
– How big is Virunga National park?
Virunga national park covers an area of 7800 square kilometers stretching from the Virunga Mountains in the South, RwenzoriMountains in the North, bordering Volcanoes National park in Rwanda.
From the time the park was founded, there was much development of the park and conservation under the Belgium rule of the country that saw many tourists come to visit the park. There was training of the rangers, building of park headquarters and infrastructure. Poaching was greatly reduced and the number of animals in the park increased. There was over 6000 tourists visiting the park per year
However, with Congo attaining her independence, in 1960, there was deterioration in every sector of the country and Virunga National park was not an exception. Poaching started again, there was little conservation and reduced number of tourists visiting the park. It was in 1969 that President Mobutu revived the sector and the park in particular that he rebuilt the park headquarters, trained more park rangers, establishing the first Congolese Wildlife Authority and tourists started coming into the country again with over 7000 tourists registered per year.
This was however short lived as Mobutu started losing grip on power in 1980’s and there was prolonged conflict in the country. This saw the next 25 years plunge the area into conflict and this was worsened by the 1994 Rwanda genocide and liberation war that saw rebels occupy the park and this led to anarchy in the area, poaching increased, and there was no tourism going on in the park.
However, order has since returned in the area and saw the tourism sector rejuvenated under ICCN and conservation has been improved more that ever before. The international donors are aiding in the park’s development, the infrastructure has greatly improved, more ranger guides has been trained and more tourists are coming into the country.