All tourism activities within the Virunga Mountains or Virunga national Parks and even beyond, needs to be sustainable regardless of whatever motivation- holidays, adventure, conservation education, conferences, business, ecotourism, Geo-Tourism and Voluntourism. Sustainable ecotourism refers to a concept of visiting a place as a tourist and ensuring to make only positive impacts on the environment, society and economy. It is committed to making a pleasant, enjoyable experiences and meaningful connections with local environment, people, host communities, tourism companies and tourists themselves. For sustainable ecotourism to thrive, it requires responsible planning and management, informed participation of all relevant stakeholders and strong political leadership and good will to widen participation and consensus building.
The Virunga Ecotours acknowledge conservation as a prerequisite for sustainable ecotourism and economic development. Trekking mountain gorillas is undeniably a highly treasured unique experience which attracts many tourists globally. It is has been an overwhelming conservation and economic success for Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The Greater Virunga Trans-boundary Collaboration (GVTC); an initiative set up by the three countries sharing the mountain gorilla population within the three countries- have been assisting us in safeguarding the endangered species, as well as other biodiversity contained within and outside the protected Area Network of the greater Virunga landscape, particularly their fragile habitat. The large Virunga forest area and biodiversity outside the protected national parks is the home of many unique species of flora and fauna- including Mountain gorillas in the Virunga area, and Grauer’s gorillas in the areas further west in the community forests and Kahuzi- Biega National park. The Mountain Gorilla population is still incredibly low, only around 604 individuals inhabit the Virunga Massif. The major challenges facing conservation efforts are extreme poverty which compels communities to rely on forest for food and other resources, mining activities, rebel groups, hunting and deforestation. The Virunga Ecotours aims to encourage research on the threatened ecosystems and conservation education, and also providing assistance to local communities through education, health, training and economic development initiatives.
The Virunga Ecotours strive to promote the idea of social enterprises in the areas around Virunga to develop local social entrepreneurs. We work closely with local communities to help improve their livelihoods by generating financial and social profits through training, resource management, conservation and mentoring.Sustainable ecotourism and conservation is to balance the protection of the natural resources and development initiatives for both the present and the future generation. Empowering communities living nearby the Virunga Massif parks by funding development projects related to good conservation practices enhances the quality of life and the well-being of wildlife in general.
Connecting people to the wildlife and nature and inspiring them to treasure it and conserve it.
Promote cultural and ecological diversity and human rights through research, public education, and advocacy with a focus on sustainable ecotourism.