Gorilla trekking in DR Congo is done in Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park which is located in the Eastern part of DR Congo. It lies in the border of Uganda and Rwanda. DR Congo is the only country in the world that inhabits both mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas. However much tourism is not well developed in DR Congo due to many setbacks at the country but Gorilla trekking in Congo is on high gear. The Virunga national park is the most visited due to a combination of the active volcano and gorillas in the park.
Virunga national park has 8 habituated Gorilla families with Rugendo Gorilla family being the oldest which was habituated in 1989. Other Gorilla families include the Humba gorilla family, Nyakamwe gorilla family, Lulengo gorilla family, Kabirizi gorilla family, Muyanga gorilla family, Mapuwa Gorilla family and Bageni gorilla family. The Gorilla trekking packages are sold by Virunga national park Authorities. Gorilla trekking in DR Congo is unique in that the package is combined together with the Visa entry to Congo. Due to several insurgencies which made the park to be closed till this year that the park was reopened for the tourists. The activity is done under strict security convoy which escorts tourists’ vehicles to the park.
Gorilla trekking in DR Congo is different from all other countries where by the Virunga park authorities organize everything for the guests. The tour operators drive the guests a midst the convoy of Virunga national park security team and rangers. The gorilla trekking cannot be done in one day its recommended 3 days’ package as you’re not sure whether gorilla trekking can be done on day one or day two.
On the other hand, Lowland gorillas are found in Kahuzi Biega national park, their population is more than the mountain Gorillas in Virunga national park. Kahuzi Biega national park is located in the Eastern part of DR Congo next to Bukavu town. The park got its name from the two volcanic mountains in the park those are Mount Kahuzi and Mount Bienga. Mt Kahuzi is 3308 meters high and Mt Biega is 2970 meters high. The locals combined the names of the two mountains and named the park.
Kahuzi Biega is the park where lowland gorillas can be tracked in Congo. The park has over 125 gorillas with around 12 gorilla families which are fully habituated and can be visited by the tourists. Gorilla trekking starts at 8 am like all the parks where Gorilla trekking is done. Its only in Kahuiz Biega that Gorilla trekking is very simple and nicknamed as Gorilla trekking for the lazy people. The Gorillas are found in the open forests not very thick or even high where a certain level of physical fitness is required. Kahuzi Biega national park is also very unique in that it’s the only park where Gorilla habituation in Congo. The Gorilla habituation is done in Nganwa and Chimanuka Gorilla group which is consist of 10 group members (Gorillas) Other Gorilla families are:
Mugaruka gorilla family, Chimanuka gorilla family, Bonnani Gorilla family, Mpungwe Gorilla family mention but a few. Mpungwe Gorilla family is the largest gorilla habituated family in Kahuzi Biega national park.
Gorilla permit in Congo
Congo Gorilla permit is the cheapest upon all the three countries that have Mountain Gorillas. The Gorilla permits in DR Congo costs 400 USD per person for one-hour gorilla trekking. Gorilla habituation in Kahuzi Biega National Park costs 600 USD. All the gorilla permit packages come with Congo Visa and they are all managed by Virunga park Authority. You can book your gorilla permit through Virunga park Authority or through reputable tour operators.
Gorilla habituation in Kahuzi Biega is one of the most exciting experiences one can ever get. Spending 4 hours together with the Gorillas in their natural habitats researching and studying more about the gorillas.
What to bring for your Gorilla trekking in Congo
It is always important to get the right packing list for the right trip. Generally, the parking list for all Gorilla trekking trips are the same in any of the three countries those are Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo.
Long waterproof trousers such as Khakis, sport wares and others that give your legs maximum protection at the forest.
Long sleeved shirts: The cloth must be warm cotton with long sleeves which will protect your hands against thorns and small insects in the forest.
Hiking Boots: This is more of the key packing list for anyone planning, the hiking boots should be waterproof so that in case of rain your still ok. Some times after rains the place can become very muddy.
Gardening gloves: This is more valuable as some times you will be tempted or accidentally touch different plant species at the forest during your trip. This will make your hands safe and protected incase of any allergy.
Insect Repellent: There many small insects in the forests some are harmful while others no but your advised to carry your insect repellent.
Raincoat jacket: The rains are unpredictable even if its dry season any time rain can fall since the area is covered by rainforests. Carrying your rain jacket will save you not only in rain but also early morning coldness at the forest.
Gorilla trekking in Congo is one of the best experience that is packaged together with hike of the only active mountain at the country that is Nyirangongo. The packages of Gorilla trekking are organized by Virunga park authorities that offer tight security for the guests. All the packages are packaged together with the Congo visa. One can start his or her trip from Kigali or Goma.
Book your tour to Congo through the available trusted tour operators and be able to go gorilla trekking in Congo.