The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Virunga National Park - DR Congo

Map showing the location of Virunga National Park world heritage site in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

In Danger from 1994 to present

Area: 7,900 km2

Inscribed: 1979

Criteria: (vii) aesthetic; (ix) ecological processes; (x) biodiversity

Values:  Virunga National Park is Africa's oldest and most diverse park.  Established in 1925, it straddles the equator, stretching from the lowlands at the bottom of the Rift Valley (680m) to the highest peak of the Rwenzori Mountains at 5119m. Its vast range of habitats includes rift valley lakes, swamps and acacia savannas, woodlands and forests, active volcanoes and rugged mountain slopes.  The highest parts of the Rwenzoris support glaciers and snowfields on the equator, and the renowned volcanoes area bordering Rwanda and Uganda in the south supports half the world's mountain gorillas. The number of species recorded for different groups includes 218 mammals (including 22 primates), 706 birds, 109 reptiles and 78 amphibians.  For comparative purposes, the number of bird species found in this park exceeds the total for the entire United States and is more than three times the number occurring in the United Kingdom. 



Slideshow of Virunga National Park


Maps and satellite images of Virunga National ParkMAPS & SATELLITE IMAGES:  A portfolio of maps and Google Earth satellite images is available for download by clicking here.  The maps show the location of Virunga National Park in a regional context and the road network serving the area.  The satellite images provide some informative perspectives on the park, showing the rugged topography in this part of Africa's western Rift Valley, the ecological isolation of the forested Virunga Mountains, the lava fields associated with the actove southern volcanoes and the Rwenzori Mountains further north along the eastern rim of the Rift Valley bordering Uganda.

Conservation News Updates

Global Witness report on oil exploration activities by London-listed FTSE250 company SOCO International in Virunga National Park (16 Marc 2012)

SOCO International website news story ‘Recognising opportunity’ for oil in Virunga National Park, planning aerial surveys over Lake Edward (14 March 2012)

UNESCO World Heritage Centre expresses concern about oil exploration in Virunga Park (13 March 2012)


Quick Reference Scores: (for explantion see About Us)







Links:  Google Earth | UNEP-WCMC Site Description |Official UNESCO Site Details | UNF Project | WWF Project | WCS Project  | International Gorilla Conservation Project

Sunset over Lake Edward in the Virunga National Park.  The lake used to be one of Africa's richest fisheries but it has been heavily over-exploited in recent times The hippo population of Virunga National park has been reduced by 95% as a result of civil unrest and poaching Mount Nyarigongo in the Virunga National Park is one of Africa's most active volcanoes where visitors can peer into the crater to view the boiling lava below The Afro-alpine zone of the Rwenzori Mountains in Virunga National Park support some of Africa's most extraordinary vegetation with many endemic plant and animal species



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