Virunga National Park Democratic Republic of the Congo by Ludovic Hirlimann Flickr© Ludovic Hirlimann, Flickr

As well as two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Virunga is also home to the largest remaining population of mountain gorillas.

If there is one park in all of Africa that you should visit, it is Virunga. This is more than mere hyperbole: it is easily the most varied region on the continent, if not one of the most varied on the planet. It is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, the largest remaining population of mountain gorillas, and a mountain range that boasts the only glaciers in Africa. Also it’s the only park in the world to have populations of three great ape species: the mountain gorilla, the lowland gorilla and the chimpanzee. These are only the highlights: there are also the Rwindi Plains, a great place for a classic east African wildlife excursion; and Lake Edward, still one of the best places to see large groups of hippos going about their daily activities. There is also Mount Tshiaberimu, with a small population of gorillas that was only habituated to human presence in 2001 and, according to research, could be a new subspecies, and there is also the Tongo Chimpanzee Reserve, the first place of its kind to protect the natural habitat of this creature.

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