The Democratic Republic of Congo is blessed to be home to both the mountain and lowland gorillas. The mountain gorillas are habituated in Virunga national park and the Eastern lowland gorillas are habituated in Virunga national park. The Eastern lowland gorillas are a sub species of the of the Eastern gorilla endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its also known as the Grauer’s gorilla and the largest living primate. This 1-day gorilla trekking safari to Kahuzi Biega national park takes you to a full day search of the Eastern Lowland gorillas.
Kahuzi-Biega is derived from the 2 dominant mountains that form the park namely Mont Kahuzi (3,308m) and Mont Biega (2,790m). The park has 12 gorilla families but only 5 are habituated for gorilla trekking by tourists on Congo gorilla trekking tours.
This safari starts and ends in Bukavu town south of Lake Kivu in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Crossing the border in the morning is not recommendable since the border with Rwanda opens at 8:00am and gorilla trekking starts at the same time. If you cross from a different province, you are required to pay toll fees. From Bukavu to Kahuzi Biega National Park it covers a drive time of about 1 h 30min. The park entrance for Congo gorilla safaris is at Tshivanga on the Eastern side. The drive to the park starts as early as 6:00am and requires a 4×4 safari vehicle for transportation.
Upon arrival at the park, you will meet other tourists on gorilla tours in Congo ready for briefing about the Congo gorilla trekking rules. A total of 8 tourists are allowed to trek a particular group of gorillas distributed in the morning during briefing. The gorilla group allocation depends on the physical fitness of the tourist, tourists with physical problems are allocated to trek gorillas that can be found easily and at a lower altitude. The activity is unpredictable and lasts about 1-5 hours but after meeting the gorillas only one hour of close contact is allowed.
After meeting the lowland gorillas, you are allowed to take photographs using a non-flash light camera. Your trek ends and you return to the park headquarters where you find your driver guide waiting to transfer you back to Bukavu or place of residence.
You can decide to do a tour in Bukavu town depending on when your trekking ends.
When you contact Congo gorilla safari companies to plan your trip, the general tour package is inclusive of;
- Gorilla trekking permits
- All park entry fees
- Government taxes
The tour package is exclusive of Air fares, personal expenses and all tips.