Also known as the Virunga massif, the Virunga conservation area is one gifted area in Africa with nature. One place where the African beauty exploded and then spread to other countries. It is one of those natural features that survived the ice age, that even after so many centuries, its beauty has passed all the tests and trials.

Shared by three countries of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Virunga conservation area is a prime tourist spot in Africa attraction millions of tourists to come and also behold on the beauty that nature positioned here.

The area covers four great national parks, including Africa’s oldest national park; Virunga national park in DR Congo, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda as well as Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga national park in Uganda.

Being a home to the remaining total population of the mountain gorillas, gorilla tourism is the major attraction in the conservation area. Gorilla trekking is done in all the four national parks that the massif covers, at a cost of 1500 US, 600 USD, and 450 USD in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo respectively. Trekking the gorillas involves hiking through the thick jungle, having to pave your way through the impenetrable trees, getting hold of tree branches for support, avoiding thorns and sliding on the slippery slopes, all in the hunt for the endangered apes.

On encountering them, spend an hour with the forest giants, watching them play from one tree branch to the other, silverbacks pounding their chests to scare away the suspected threats, seeing blackbacks carrying juveniles; the experience is all so memorable. Trekkers are free to take as many pictures as they want provided they don’t have flash lights that might scare the gorillas away.

Trotters to the Virunga conservation area also engage in the lowland gorilla trekking. Virunga national park is the only place in the whole world where one can trek both the mountain and lowland gorillas. Adding on that, the conservation area is also a home to the golden monkeys, which are another attraction to thousands of tourists. Having trekked the gorillas, now go or the small primates; the golden monkeys and other primate species as well as other forest wildlife animals.

Besides the endangered mountain gorillas, the Virunga Massif is a chained series of eight volcanoes, of which two of them; Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira are very active volcanoes that have erupted at least 35 times since 1982. The other six dormant volcanoes are Sabinyo, Muhabura, Gahinga, Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno. Travelers to the conservation area enjoying striking hikes to the top of the mountains. The most challenging is hiking mountain Sabinyo, walking through the mist on a cold day, through slippery trails, but the view at the top, is worth more than the hustles gone through.

Also tourists interested in knowing more about the African culture can visit the local communities and have an encounter with the Batwa pygmies; the first inhabitants of the area before it was gazzetted. Still travelers in the Virunga conservation area can visit Dian Fossey’s grave; an American primatologist and conservationist who started gorilla tourism in Africa.

About accommodation in Virunga, this is something that shouldn’t worry you. The area displays a wide range of lodging facilities, from the high end luxury, midrange to super budget lodges. All the four national parks in the Virunga massif have enough lodging facilities that cater for every traveler, whether campsites, hotels, guest houses, cottages or lodges, you can fail to get where to sleep.

Being shared by three countries, you can access the massif from one of the three countries. Though it is easily accessed in Rwanda where it is just two hours away from Kigali airport other than in Uganda where is a 9 hour drive from the airport.

The Virunga part in Uganda is therefore quickly accessed through Rwanda yet the one in the Democratic Republic of Congo is nearer through Uganda. However, either way, you can still reach the Virunga conservation area and have lifelong memories.