Accessibility of Virunga National Park
The Virunga National Park is situated West of Goma Town, the capital of North Kivu province. If you are in Rwanda, the Virunga perfectly accessed by road and it takes a visitor about 3 hours to drive from Kigali to Goma (Gisenyi) at the border of DRC. The road infrastructures are well developed to facilitate your movement. Goma Town is also accessible from South-Western Uganda at the border crossing area of Bunagana where the tourist can be in position to obtain a local visa for crossing. The earlier you arrange to get the visa, the better because it might cost you around $280 to purchase it at the border. However, Congo visas are obtainable at $100!
As well, tourists can fly into Goma town because there are several flights that can help to connect visitors to Goma. However, the Virunga National Park is also working hard to establish a tourism visa which is expected cost $50 and tourists will obtain it together with a Virunga National Park permit.
Rules and Regulations for gorilla trekking
Like any other park, the Virunga National Park has a number strict rules and regulations that tourists are meant to be followed by visitors during their trek. They range from group size, tracking groups per day and the time a client is allowed to be with the mountain gorilla. The set rules and regulations are not necessarily to enhance the visitor experiences alone but also to protect the lives of the rare mountain gorillas given the fact that they are susceptible to human diseases.
For mountain gorilla safaris, group size, only 8 (eight) people are permitted to track the mountain gorilla family each day. The restricted gorilla trekking number is intended to minimize the spread of diseases from humans to the wild mountain gorillas.
For the age, the park management of Virunga National Park allows only persons above 15 years to track the mountain gorillas
The time for gorilla trekking in Congo starts between 8:00am and 7:00pm local time and visitors spend only 1 (one) hour with the giant apes.
Other “do’s” and “don’ts” for mountain gorilla trekking in the Virunga National Park include;
Protecting the rare mountain gorillas is the first priority which mans that if a visitor has any kind of illnesses he or she won’t be allowed to go for mountain gorilla trekking.
Your health is also very important to life of mountain gorillas, in case of cough or sneezing; a person is advised to turn his or her face away or cover the nose and mouth to assist minimize transmission of bacteria to the mountain gorillas. Visitors should ensure they keep the distance of between 7 meters while encountering the mountain gorillas face to face.
You are also required to behave well in the gorilla habitat by maintaining silence, avoid pointing or using flash lights when taking photos of the mountain gorillas, otherwise they can become irritated. But you need a camera without flash light!
Be prepared for the trek by ensuring that you have a bottle of water, water proof and warm gears for the cool weather conditions, light hiking shoes, hats, walking stick, long sleeved shirts or T-shirts, shocks and shocks should be tucked in. Also you are not supposed to smoke during the trek; visitors are required to wash their hands before going for the trek; don’t touch the mountain gorillas, avoid littering around the forest and ensure you keep the trash to yourself then drop it to dust bins around the station; keep calm and avoid direct contact in case the mountain gorilla is irritated.
Before traveling to DRC, visitors are required to get a yellow fever injection and a client will be requested to present a proof at entry point. Others include hepatitis A, typhoid, meningitis and rabies injections and anti malarial injections are also necessary.