There are many Game parks in Congo because of their size. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second-largest country in Africa and the largest in Central Africa. The country of Congo is surrounded by nine other countries, including Uganda, Rwanda, the Central African Republic, Angola, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia. Congo is home to a vast array of wildlife and vegetation, making it one of the most biodiverse places in Africa. It is believed that in the future, Congo will become one of the most popular tourist destinations on the continent due to its natural beauty. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the only country where one can spot both lowland and mountain gorillas.
However on the other hand, despite having vast natural resources and incredible biodiversity, the Congo has been plagued with conflicts for a long time. Most of the Game Parks in Congo receive few tourists and remain undiscovered. The Eastern part of the country is particularly unstable and this is evidenced by the presence of one of the largest UN Peacekeeping missions on earth. Much as the world has been denied a chance to fully discover this naturally beautiful country, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
In today’s blog safari vacations and travel services focus on the Game Parks in Congo. If you are interested in similar articles, you can read about the things to do in the Democratic Republic of Congo or tourism activities in Kinshasa.
National Park in DRC Congo is a UNESCO World Heritage for its incredible biodiversity and hosting one of the remaining populations of mountain gorillas. Having been established in 1922, Virunga is the oldest national park in Africa. It was at one time the largest national park before it was split from the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. Virunga is located in the Eastern part of the county close to the border with Rwanda and Uganda.
The park is home to three volcanoes – Mikeno, Nyamuragira, and Nyiragongo. Because of the ongoing conflicts in Eastern Congo, Virunga has been declared a site in danger. Apart from mountain gorillas, Virunga is home to the rare okapi, chimpanzees, forest elephants, African buffaloes, Ugandan Kobs, hippos, giant forest hogs, waterbucks, warthogs, topi, duikers, lions, colobus monkeys, and blue monkeys. There are 706 species of birds, 65 amphibians, and 109 reptiles.
Congo National parksThe main activities in the park are mountain gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, nature walks, and hiking the Nyiragongo volcano. Virunga National Park consists of savannah grasslands, swamps, rainforests, steppes, 3 volcanoes, and several water bodies. The greatest threat to Virunga National Park is poaching, encroachment on parkland, and rebel groups operating in some parts of the park. Militias operating in the park have carried out several attacks on park rangers which has negatively affected tourism. The discovery of crude within and outside the park may turn out to be the greatest of all the threats in the future.
Covering an area of 10,885 square kilometers, Maiko National Park is located in one of the most remote regions of the country. Originally established as a hunting reserve, it was later designated a national park by the Belgian colonial government in 1949. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including rare species such as the Congo peafowl, aquatic genet, okapi, African forest elephants, chimpanzees, and the Eastern lowland gorilla. Visitors to Maiko National Park can also learn about chimpanzee conservation, making it an ideal destination for those interested in wildlife education and conservation efforts.
Mangroves National Park or Muanda Marine Reserve is the smallest national park in DRC. The park is located along the shores of the mighty Congo River. It is only 768 square kilometers in size and was gazetted in 1992. Despite its small size, the Mangroves National Park has been declared a Ramsar wetland because of its remarkable biodiversity and vast mangrove forests. Mangroves National Park is the only marine park in the country and the mangrove forests in the park are distinct from the ones found in South Asia. The park is home to snakes, crocodiles, hippos, bushbucks, southern reedbuck, and several species of primates.
This particular site is just one of the many UNESCO World Heritage sites located within the Democratic Republic of Congo. Situated in the southeastern part of the country, near the town of Bukavu and the banks of Lake Kivu, the Congo game park was established in 1970 by Adrien Deschryver, a Belgium conservationist and photographer. Covering an area of approximately 6000 square kilometers, Kahuzi-Biega is characterized by lowland rainforests, bamboo forests, swamps, bogs, and marshland.
The park derives its name from two mountains – Kahuzi and Biega. Kahuzi Biega National Park is home to Eastern Lowland Gorillas, eastern chimpanzees, bush buffalo, forest elephants, owl-faced monkeys, bongos, otters, bush squirrels, aquatic civets, and galagos just to mention a few. The Eastern Lowland Gorilla, also known as the Graeurs Gorilla is the largest of the gorilla sub-species. Eastern Lowland Gorilla trekking is the most popular activity. While on a gorilla trekking mission, tourists can also choose to include birdwatching, mountain climbing, and a tour of the city of Bukavu.
The Salonga National Park is the largest forest national park in Africa, covering an area of about 36,000 sq. km. Salonga National Park is located in the Congo River basin, between Kisangani and Kinshasa. It was established in 1956 and later expanded in 1970. In 1984, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is recognized as one of the top game parks in Congo. The park is a diverse ecosystem, consisting of wetlands, woodlands, grasslands, and dense rainforests.
The park is home to a variety of wildlife species, including rare Salonga monkeys, bonobos, Angolan slender mongooses, African golden cats, leopards, Congo peacocks, African slender-snouted crocodiles, long-tailed pangolins, and the elusive Okapi. Additionally, Salonga is one of the best birding spots in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where birders can spot cattle egrets, black storks, yellow-billed storks, and other endemic species.
Unfortunately, the growth of tourism in Salonga has been hindered by insecurity and inaccessibility due to poor road conditions. The park can only be accessed through river Lokoro.
Located in the provinces of Maniema and Tshopo, Lomani National Park lies amid river Lomami. Established in 1992, the park was formally opened in 2016. Covering an area of 8,879 square kilometers, it consists of several hills on the western side and rainforest/savannah to the south.
Notably, Lomani National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including African forest elephants, bonobos, okapi, Congo peacocks, grey parrots, Salonga monkeys, lesula monkeys (only found in the park), the rare dryas monkey, and other smaller primates. However, the park’s vast forests and inner parts have a lot more to be discovered.
Sadly, the greatest threat to the park is hunting for bush meat and elephant tusks. Whereas the inner parts of the park remain untouched, larger animals living on the outer fringes of the forest have been targeted by poachers.
The Garamba National Park is one of the largest national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was established in 1938 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is located in the eastern part of the country and covers an area of about 5,200 square kilometers. It is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. The park is managed by African Parks, but poaching and conflict remain persistent issues. Despite this, many international conservation agencies have worked to rehabilitate the park.
Situated in the southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo – next to Kundelungu National Park and in the Lualaba Province. Upemba National Park was established in 1939 National Parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is hence one of the two oldest national parks in the country. It covers an area of 13,000 sq. km. hence making it one of the largest national parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is a sanctuary for cheetahs, zebras, buffaloes, lions, leopards, elephants, and the Katanga Impala which is endemic to the area. Birders should expect to see the wattled crane, shoebills, and spotted ground-thrush just to mention a few. Upemba like most of the national parks in Congo faces threats from poachers and militias. There are also human settlements within the park which has resulted in poaching, deforestation, and encroachment on park land.
Like Upemba, Kundelungu National Park is also found in the southeastern part of the country – Haut-Katanga province to be specific. The Kundelungu National Park is a vast area of about 7600 square kilometers. Initially, it started as a Game park in the Democratic Republic of Congo private hunting ground, but sport hunting was suspended, and it was gazetted into a national park. The park is a habitat for various wildlife species, including crocodiles, porcupines, jackals, buffaloes, small primates, different species of antelope, hippopotamuses, leopards, lions, zebras, and snakes, among many others. One of the major attractions in the park is the Lofoi Falls, towering 1,120 feet high, making it one of the largest waterfalls in the continent.
Moreover, to get a better understanding of the conservation efforts needed to protect this park, do not hesitate to get in touch with safari vacations and travel services. They can offer more inquiries and assistance in planning your trip to the Congo.