Maiko National Park Congo
Maiko National Park congo, Congo wildlife safaris tours, congo gorilla trekking safaris to Maiko national park, congo safaris tours. Maiko National Park Congo is found in the Democratic Republic of Congo which is located on the African continent along the geographical co-ordinates of 0o24’S 27o34’E. Maiko National Park Congo is bordered by Mabondo in the north, Osele in the west, Mondini, Bikule in the south and Burako and Ngele in the north east.
Maiko National Park Congo stretches to cover an area of about 10885sqkm or 4203sqmi extending into 3 state provinces i.e. Nord Kivu, province Orientale and Mainema. Maiko National Park Congo was created in 1949 when the Belgian colonial government gazatted this park but it was named Bakumu hunting reserve. The reserve was named after the “Kumus” people who the natives of this area. On 20th November 1970, the then president of Congo named Mubuku Joseph declared the reserve as a national park by signing a presidential decree no 70-312. Maiko National Park Congo grappled and still grapples with insecurity right from the early years off its formation as the Simba mai mai rebels based their camps within the park especially after them being defeated by the Congolese army.
To fully understand and conserve the bio diversity of Maiko National Park Congo, many international organisations such as Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and European Community have funded and carried out research work in this park in various areas like the north sector in 2005, southern sector in 2006, west and southern forests in the park in 2010. All these research projects highlighted the importance of this national park as an area with rich bio diversity that was slowly getting extinct and required agent interventions from the international community for its preservation.
Being largely covered by tropical rainforests, Maiko National Park Congo experiences a tropical rain forest climate pattern with high rainfall amount of about 1800mm being received in 2 peak seasons between the months of March- May and September- November with average annual temperatures ranging at a minimum of 14-16oc while the maximum temperatures range around 20-25oc.
Maiiko National Park is commonly notable as a habitat for unique wildlife species such as the eastern lowland gorillas, okapi and Congo peacock. Other attractions in Maiko National Park Congo include the forest elephants
A Presidential Decree no.70-312 signed by Joseph Desire Mobutu was declared on the 20th November 1970 clearly asserting Maiko as a nature protection area. All the migrants were to leave the area of the park following the presidential decree. In 2005, a non-government organization, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund; which was put in place to commemorate and carry on the act of conserving Gorillas and protecting wildlife from poaching; initiated by Dian Fossey; conducted the first Surveys in the park, in the southern sector; and documented a gorilla population increase compared to the past years of study. Dian Fossey was an American Anthropologist, primatologist and zoologist, who operated mainly in Rwanda. She was based in the Volcanoes National Park, north of Rwanda, along the Border with DRC in the East. She was murdered on the 26th December 1985 at the age of 53. She is believed to have been murdered by poachers who saw her as a threat to the abolishing the act.
Attractions in Maiko National Park Congo
The main attractions of Maiko National Park include the okapi, Congo peafowl, eastern gorillas and forest elephants.
Although it’s so easy to think of an okapi as a close relative of the zebras due to the presence of striking similar white stripes on both the hide and front legs of the okapi hence it’s called so many names with reference to zebras such as Congolese zebra, forest zebra and zebra giraffe, the okapi in fact is closely more related to the giraffe than it is to the zebra and both the okapi and the zebra are the only living mammal species in the giraffidae family. The okapi has a chocolate reddish brown coat that distinctively defers from the horizontal white stripes on all its legs, a long neck and large flexible ears.
The male okapis have horn like protuberances which are called ossicones just like those of the giraffe and they have about 15cm or 5.9in length and they are absent on the female okapi’s head. The okapi weighs between 200-350kg or 440-770ib with a standing height of 1.5m or 4.9ft and a body length of 2.5m or 8.2ft. The okapis are primary diurnal animals that feed mostly in the morning and late evening hours but may also feed during a few hours of the night fall. They are herbivores animals that feed on tree leaves, fruits, buds and ferns. These animals are found in elevated areas ranging between 600m to 1500m or 1600-4900ft. The okapis are usually loners that only get together during mating seasons. the okapi has a gestation period of about 440-450 days and normally give birth to a single calf. The female okapis reach sexual maturity after 1 and ½ years while males attain sexual maturity after 2 years.
The forest Elephants
These are relatively smaller than their cousins the bush elephants. The forest elephants have an average height of 2.5m or 8.2ft with 900kg or 1980 Ib as average body weight their tusks are longer and narrower than the those of the bush elephants growing up to 1.5m or 5ft and weighing between 45-100Ib or 23-45 kg. this is because they need these tusks to navigate through the thick undergrowth in the forest jungles where they habituate.
Eastern low land gorillas
Eastern lowland gorillas are the largest of the 4 existing gorilla species with a male eastern lowland gorilla having an average weight of 210kg or 460ib while females weigh less with an average weight of 100kg or 220ib. The males have an average standing height of 1.85m or 6.1ft while females stand at an average of 1.6m of5.2ft. The eastern lowland gorilla has large stocky arms and a short muzzle with less fur on the head. These gorillas have a jet black coat similar to that of mountain gorillas. The male eastern gorillas still have a grey coat which will eventually turn into a silver grey coat especially on the back hence the terming silver back. Just like their mountain cousins, lowland gorillas live in large groups called families which are headed by an alpha dominant male, whose main responsibility is to offer protection to his family.
The family can consist of members ranging from 2-35 on average including a number of adult females and their off springs. When these off springs mature especially the male, they are likely to leave their natal family, become bachelors for a time being as they try to attract females to join them and form their own family. These gorillas are usually calm giants who will even shy away when directly contacted. These gorillas are normally herbivores eating leaves, fruits, stems and small insects such as termites and ants.
They are not usually seen drinking water and its believed that this is so because they foliage mostly on leaves that are highly succulent with high water content. Eastern gorillas have a gestation period of about 8 and ½ months and will breast feed their young ones for around 3 years’ time. Male infants will only reach maturity at 12 years while the female babies will attain maturity at 10 years.
Congo peafowl/ peacock
The Congolese peacock also strikingly resembles its Asian counterpart and they were once referred to as similar birds but after some extensive research on their classification it was quite evident that the 2 species had some striking differences hence they were classified as different birds. The Congo peacock(male) is coloured with deep blue feathers with a metallic green colour and a violet tinge. The neck of the male peafowl neck is bare and has a red skin, its feet are grey while the tail is black with 14 tail feathers.
The crown of this species of peacock has elongated hair like feathers a description that can’t match with the impressively coloured Asian peacocks. These males have a body length of 64-70cm or 25-28in. Female congo peafowls on the other hand have on chestnut brown colour with a black underbelly and a metallic green back. These birds resemble while they are still immature. They are omnivores birds feeding mainly on insects and fruits. The congo male peafowl makes a voice call with a high pitched gowe sound while the peahen makes a voice call with a low pitched gowah sound. They can also emit duets with a rro-ho-ho-o-a sound.
Leopards are some of the big cat family predators that roam the plains of Maiko National Park and they are at the top of the food chain together. Leopards are usually taken to be the same with cheetahs but they are completely different as cheetahs have tear marks on their faces small round spots while leopards have no this distinctive mark on their faces and have larger rosettes on their body. The skin color of leopards ranges from pale yellow to golden or yellowish brown with rosettes and this enables these super predators to camouflage so that they can stalk their prey without ever being noticed.
Male leopards are muscular with short limbs and a broad head, the males have an average shoulder height of 60-70cm or 24-28in and weigh in at 37-90kg while the females have an average shoulder height of57-64cm or 22-25in and weigh in between26-60kg. the cheetah has a very long tail that’s white tipped with a length of 60-100cm or 24-39in and this enables the leopards make quick sharp turns at high speed while on a chase. Leopards can sometimes have black color and this is caused by melanism which is a recessive gene in these animals and when a leopard is having this phenomena, it turns from being called a leopard to a black panther. Leopards are usually solitary animals, they have a gestation period of 90-105 days and can live in their natural habitat for 12-17 years.
Activities in Maiko National Park Congo
Activities in Maiko National Park include gorilla tracking and game viewing
Believed to the proud habitat of about 800 eastern gorillas, Maiko National Park is a prime destination for anyone who would like to track these elusive lowland giants as they go about their natural rounds in their natural habitat here in Maiko National park.
Being home to a variety of wildlife species such as the okapi, Congo peafowl and the forest elephant, Maiko national park gives a different dimension of game viewing as you get to see some really beautiful wildlife mammals that are quite unique to this park almost alone in the entire eastern Congo region.
Accessing Maiko National Park in D.R. Congo
Maiko National Park can generally only be accessed by road transport means.
This park lies about 515km or 320miles from Kisangani town. while travelling to Maiko National Park please ensure to use a 4×4 wheeled jeep that is in a proper mechanical condition as the roads here are really in a bad conditions and move with some basic spare parts or lubricants so as you able to fix simple mechanical breakdowns as the park is remote and you may not easily access services of a mechanic in case of break down.