The Democratic Republic of Congo also sometimes known as Congo is a country situated in the central part of Africa. The country is one of the few places where you can view mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas in the wild. It’s also home to some of the world’s endangered species and 2 of the most dangerous volcanoes in Africa.
List of Congo National Parks
Congo is gifted with eleven national parks with each providing its own unique experiences, the parks can be seen below.
Kahuzi Biega National Park
Home to some of the Congo gorilla trekking safaris, Kahuzi Biega national park is situated in the eastern part of the democratic republic of Congo named after two dormant volcanoes of mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega found within the park, it was established in 1970 by a Belgian photographer and conservationist Adrien Deschryver.
The park was designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1980, it covers 6,000 kilometers squared and home to the endangered species of eastern lowland gorillas, forest elephants, forest buffalos, alexanders bush squirrel, owl-faced monkey and so much more plus various species of birds recorded.
Mangroves National Park
Mangroves national park boasts as the only marine national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the park was established in 1992 covering 678 kilometres squared making it the country’s smallest national park.
Mangroves at the park are different from the ones found is south Asia, it’s also home to different other species of trees some endemic to this area and supports a lot of wildlife such as Crocodiles, hippos, bush bucks, reedbucks, snakes and various primate species.
Maiko National Park
Maiko national park is situated near the Rwanda and Congo boarder in between Kasangani and Bukavu covering 10,400 kilometres squared. The park was first established by the Belgian government as Bakumu hunting reserve with an aim of protecting wildlife and explosion of minerals in 1949.
The park is home to forest elephants, aquatic genet, eastern chimpanzees, leopards, bush bucks and so much more. the park is remote with no lodges, amenities and so much more, tourists planning to visit should carry their own camping gears.
Odzala National Park
Odzala national park is one of the oldest protected areas in Congo, it was first gazetted as a protected are in 1935 and as a biosphere reserved in 1977 until 2001 when its status changed to a national park covering 13,500 kilometres squared.
Odzala national park boasts with 100 mammal species, 4,500 species of trees and plants, 440 species of birds and numerous primate species. Some of the examples of the parks wild life include; African elephants, forest buffalos, aquatic genet, primates like gorillas, black and white colobus, chimpanzees, black crested mangabeys, greater spot nosed monkey plus birds such as red capped crombec, grey parrot, African fish eagle and black dwarf hornbill to mention a few.
Virunga National Park
Virunga national park is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the border of Rwanda and Uganda covering 7,800 kilometres squared and boasts as Africa’s oldest national park. The park was established in 1925 by King Albert of Belgium as Albert national park and the name was later changed to Virunga national park.
Virunga national park is home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world that is mount Nyamuragira and mount Nyirangongo and its home to the endangered species of mountain gorillas that can only be found in Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. The park provides unique experiences every traveller should try out.
Lomami National Park
Lomami national park is one of the newest national parks in Democratic republic of Congo established in July 2016 covering 8,879 kilometres squared. The park is located in two provinces of Maniema and Tshopo.
Lomami national park supports some of the endangered species like the rare Dryas monkey, Okapi, Bonobo monkeys, Lesula monkey and other animals like forest elephants, leopards, bush bucks, hippos and crocodiles among others.
Upemba National Park
Upemba national park is in Katanga province of Democratic republic of Congo covering 10,000 kilometres squared, the park was established in 1939 and was the largest park in Africa at that time before the area was revised in 1975.
Upemba national park is home to over 1,800 species like shoebill, wattled crane, spotted ground thrush, African fish eagle and strange weaver among the rest.
Kundelungu National Park
Kundelungu national park is close to Upemba national park in Katanga province of the Democratic republic of Congo, the park was established in 1970 covering 7,600 kilometres squared harbouring antelopes, hippos, elephants, warthogs, porcupines, buffalos, monkeys, jackals and so much more plus various bird species.
Garamba National Park
Garamba national park was gazetted in 1938 covering 5,200 kilometres squared home to 138 species of mammals and 286 species of birds the park is said to have been home to over 20,000 elephants in the 1960s and 70s but the population dramatically decreased due to poaching.
Garamba national park wildlife include; giant forest hogs, Congo giraffes, Okapi, forest elephants, hippos, buffalos, leopards and numerous birds like secretary bird among the rest.
Salonga National Park
Salonga national park in the Democratic republic of Congo is Africa’s largest tropical rainforest national park covering 36,000 kilometres squared within the Congo river basin, the park was first established as Tshaupa national park in 1956 and was changed to Salonga by a presidential decree in 1970.
Salonga national park was also made a world heritage site in 1984 by UNESCO, its home to various species like African golden genet, bush pigs, forest buffalo, long tailed pangolin, Angolan slender mongoose, hippos, dryas monkey, aquatic genet, Thollons red colobus and many others.
Nouabale-Ndoki national park
Nouabale-Ndoki national park was established in 1993 situated in the northern part of Congo covering 3,921 kilometres squared, the park is one of the places you should explore while in Congo for a memorable tour.
Nouabale-Ndoki national park is home to 1000 species of plants and 300 species of birds, some of the wildlife in the park includes elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas, buffalos, leopards, blue duiker, crocodiles, colobus monkeys and many more.
Best time to visit
The parks in Congo can be visited all year round but the best time is from June to August in the drier months.
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