Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

2017
07.31.2018
Rangers Project
On #WorldRangerDay, we are so proud of the efforts of our rangers, who show dedication and resilience, despite the dangers they face.

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07.22.2018
Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, receives his PhD
Congratulations to Ephrem Balole, Manager of Virunga SARL, who received his PhD from the University of Kinshasa last week! Ephrem has been r...

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06.06.2018
Rangers Project
We are so proud that Jolie, one of Virunga’s female rangers, shared her story of what motivated her to become a ranger at the European Devel...

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06.05.2018
Fallen Rangers Project
Representatives from the Rumangabo Widows sewing workshop attended the European Development Days conference in Brussels, where they showcase...

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05.31.2018
Virunga coffee launches!
One for the coffee fans out there: every purchase of Higher Grounds' Kawa Kanzururu Coffee goes towards supporting the development work of V...

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05.31.2018
Rangers Project
We are so delighted to share the news that the mountain gorilla population has surpassed 1000! Incredible news for Virunga and incredible news for conservation, and testament to the continued work of Virunga's Rangers in ensuring the protection of the species.

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02.13.2018
Fallen Rangers Fund
Children of the fallen Rangers playing in the child care center at the widows workshop! On-site child care reduces the initial stressors tha...

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12.05.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A total of 68 widows and 190 children of fallen Rangers, are now, thanks to the Fallen Rangers Fund, being offered financial support, education, and meaningful employment.

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09.11.2017
Rangers Project
Today, Park Rangers along with the Gorilla Doctors team successfully located the Rugendo group and removed a deadly snare from the arm of yo...

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07.30.2017
Rangers Project
Happy World Ranger Day! We are extremely proud and grateful to all our Rangers. These men and women are deeply committed to Virunga and ensu...

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07.29.2017
Rangers Project
Last week marked the completion of 5 months of incredibly tough training for Virunga's newest Rangers. 6500 applied, 81 made it through.

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01.12.2017
Fallen Rangers Fund
A beautiful selection of napkins made by the widows of fallen Rangers are on sale at Mikeno Lodge.

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Photo Credit: Brent Stirton; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo Credit: Adam Kiefer; Logo Credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Photo credit: Orlando von Einsiedel

Photo credit: Brent Stirton; Logo credit: David Shepard

Explore Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse protected area

Unlike anywhere else in the world, Virunga National Park contains some of the greatest national treasures on earth

About Virunga

Learn more

Stability through sustainable development in the eastern Congo

The Virunga Alliance is working to create an alternative economy that enables surrounding communities to benefit from the National Park

Virunga Alliance

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Meet the heroes who risk their lives to protect the Park’s wildlife and local communities

Rangers’ work is critical to the stability of the Park and the safety of the lives that surround it

Rangers Project

Learn more

Meet the orphan gorillas of Virunga’s Senkwekwe Center

The world’s only sanctuary caring for mountain gorillas separated from their families by poaching or conflict

Gorilla Orphan Project

Learn more

February 8, 2018
Our Stories

The fishing village of Vitshumbi

Virunga National Park is responsible for protecting the waters and fisheries of Lake Edward

On the road from park HQ in Rumangabo to Vitshumbi…
Photo credit: Evelyne Malfliet

The fishing village of Vitshumbi. The two boats in the foreground are Virunga National Park ranger patrol boats.
Photo credit: Evelyne Malfliet

A proud fisherman gives the hull of his boat a fresh coat of paint.
Photo credit: Evelyne Malfliet

Fishing nets need to be repaired on a daily basis and loading them into the boats — without creating a tangled mess — takes skill.
Photo credit: Evelyne Malfliet

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A quick trip to Vitshumbi, a fishing village on the shores of Lake Edward, is easier said than done. It’s a three-hour car ride from park headquarters in Rumangabo and the roads are anything but smooth. Bumps and potholes aside, the landscape along the route is ever-changing and stunningly beautiful. This is African savannah at its best, with antelopes, buffaloes, elephants and even lions!


Vitshumbi is situated in Virunga’s central sector. It’s a small, quiet town where people live exclusively off of the fish they catch. Lake Edward is the smallest of the African Great Lakes, and apart from hippos, Nile crocodiles and an array of birds on its shoreline, it’s most known for Nile tilapia and catfish. Mornings in Vitshumbi are spent preparing fishing nets, after which the men go out onto the lake in their fishing boats called pirogues. A normal fishing day involves 8+ hours on the lake. While the men are away fishing, the women take care of the children. That changes when the men return, though, for women are the ones that sort, weigh, and sell the fish. The subsistence fishing life is difficult for all here, but it’s the life they choose and love.


Virunga National Park is responsible for protecting the waters and fisheries of Lake Edward. “Sustainable fisheries” is one of the four pillars of the Virunga Alliance, which aims to create social and economic prosperity for the four million people living within a day’s walk of the park border. The park has invested heavily in building strong relationships with the local fishing communities. These investments have taken the form of improved roads (which enable villagers to get their perishable products to market quickly) and robust protection of the fishery. Electricity is also coming, which will enable fishermen to refrigerate their catch and thereby open up more distant markets.


There is an inextricable link between the fisheries of Lake Edward, the well-being of the local population, and Virunga National Park itself. The Virunga Alliance is doing it’s best to serve all parties in this tightly-knit web of life on Lake Edward.

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May 8, 2018

Chief Warden of Virunga National Park launches a $1 million marathon fundraising campaign

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May 8, 2018

Virunga National Park merchandise now available online!

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February 8, 2018

The Rugendo family of gorillas in Virunga National Park is slowly regaining its former size.

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February 8, 2018

A personal note from Emmanuel de Merode

Join the Effort to Protect Virunga National Park

You can make a difference by joining our community of dedicated individuals who aim to protect Africa’s oldest national park and bring peace and prosperity for the four million people who depend on it.