Virunga Tourism & Gorilla Update Press Release 2020
Virunga Foundation would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year for 2020. When we opened Virunga gorilla tourism in February, we did not know what to expect but with your help, 2019 turned out to be better than expected. With 2516 visitors to the park in ten and a half months – we think that it was a success. So our sincerely thanks for all your support as far as promoting tourism and property services in the park is concerned.
Ngila & New Packages
Ngila is on line to open in the beginning of June. One could call it a tented camp, but we would like to think it is much more than that. The main building is thatched with large windows and door to maintain the warmth provided by two roaring fires to cozy up to and enjoy delicious food cooked by our Congolese chefs. The tents are on raised wooden decks with sweeping views of the volcanoes around, which can also be enjoyed from each tent’s bath. The rooms are kept comfortable by a live fire lit every evening at turn down.
With the upcoming opening in mind, we have designed some new, longer packages for clients who’d like to add extra gorilla treks on and make the most of the brand-new lodge. You will find abbreviated descriptions of these and their rates attached and please do feel free to get in touch if you’d like a more in-depth description sent over.
Bukima Tented Camp
Bukima will be closing on the 1st June for a little tender love and care. We will let you know when we will be reopening. If you have booked the Le Petit Virunga Bukima 4 day after the 1st June, we will honor your booking but will upgrade your clients to Ngila at no extra charge.
Jomba Community camp and gorilla treks
Virunga National Park and Jomba women’s association have teamed up to develop a new product for the more adventurous traveler. A walk from Bunagana through community land, an overnight in the community camp and a gorilla trek the following morning. An in-depth description is attached. We are at your disposal if you have any questions.
Ebola in North Kivu
Ebola has remained restricted to the Beni area since September, signaling that many of the measures put in place by the government and Park have been successful in stopping the spread of the virus. We are hopeful that the outbreak will be vanquished over the course of 2020.
Review of the Year
Virunga Alliance continues to grow from strength to strength. We hit some mile stones in 2019 and few of them are highlighted below:
Virunga Energies completed and switched on Mutwanga 2 hydro plant. Ivingu hydro plant is in its final stage to start lighting up the Butembo area. Matebe have started to supply Goma with electricity. None of them have been small feats.
Virunga Agriculture has been working on coffee and cocoa transformation. The two coffee co-operatives who we are working with, which are mainly run by women, are producing organic and rain forest alliance certified coffee which is coming in as some of the best of the world. Upcoming is a bean to bar chocolate factory opening in April. We continue to support the fishermen in Vitchumbi to improve their revenues from sustainable fishing.
Virunga Tourism, we sent Bizi and Donation to Spain for six week to work in a Michelin star restaurant. They have come back full of ideas and are happily sharing with the rest of the staff what they learnt. Vilu and Lala have left to go back to Chile to start new adventures. We have welcomed Lita into our lives as our new head chef. He is Congolese and has worked in South Africa for 16 years bringing with him some fresh ideas.
The wild gorillas have been very busy. In 2019 we had 12 new babies, sadly one died due to all the rains and the cold. This year, 2020 we have already had two new babies!
Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Center
The kids in Senkwekwe are doing fine. Ndekasi still on a daily basis checks to see if we have turned on the electric fence – otherwise a break out is imminent! Mazuka is doing well and is the best at feeding herself on forest food. Matabishi is growing at a rapid rate and Ndesi is sweet as ever. May 2020 be an amazing year Virunga and thank you for all your continued support