Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in the world. Until 20 years ago, Virunga had the largest number of land animals of any park in Africa, but war and poaching have reduced the park's wildlife population by 90%. Despite such a daunting figure, Virunga still contains the greatest biodiversity of any park in Africa. Virunga's most famous inhabitants, the mountain gorillas, live on the slopes of Mount Mikeno in the southern sector. The mountain gorilla population in Virunga, although still very low in terms of total worldwide (~800), has actually grown over the last two decades thanks to a dedicated ranger force that has literally laid down their lives to save these incredible animals. Seven habituated mountain gorilla families (habituated to humans) are visited by tourists regularly, an experience that is considered by all to be among the most memorable in their respective life times.
The Virunga National Park has a rare variety of habitats, from the high mountains to the north (Rwenzori Mountains 5000m high, the rainforest which is home to lowland gorillas and okapis, the savannah with its typical animal population such as buffaloes, antelopes, elephants and big cats, rivers and the vast Lake Edward with its famous hippo populations and south to the volcanoes and virgin mountain forest with its world famous population of mountain gorillas. This park is certainly a jewel among the national parks in the world