Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking is undoubtedly a magical on-foot-walk primate experience holidaymakers on Congo safari shouldn’t miss to be part. It is a remarkable wildlife encounter offering you a great opportunity to get up close to Africa’s distinct Eastern Lowland gorillas while in their natural habitat. This is a unique sub-species of gorilla from the mountain gorillas.
Eastern Lowland gorillas in Africa range within the jungles of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Maiko National Park, Tayna Gorilla Reserve, Itombwe Massif and Usala Forest Reserve. They are massive creatures compared to the mountain gorillas and they have short muzzle, large hands and teeth. They can stand 4 to 5 feet tall with weight of up to 200kgs.
Where to go for Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking in Africa
Trekking to see the Eastern Lowland Gorillas is possible in the Congo’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park. This is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and it derives its name from the 2 dormant volcanoes that are found within the park; the Kahuzi and Biega Volcanoes.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park extends up to 6000sq.kms of land area in Congo and shelters an estimated population of about 250 Eastern Lowland Gorillas. Treks to see the Eastern Lowland gorillas are done in any of the park’s 5 habituated gorilla groups with notable ones being Mugaruka gorilla family and Chimanuka.
Congo Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking permits
The Congo Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking permits can be purchased at $450 per person. They can be booked by service of reliable/reputable ground tour company or directly through the Kahuzi-Biega National Park authorities in Congo.
Packing for your Congo Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking
Pack wisely, appropriately when it comes to Congo Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking experience. Some of the essential items you shouldn’t miss to carry include the Long-sleeved shirt, daypack, trousers, socks, camera without flashlight, yellow fever certificate, visa, lowland gorilla permit, sun glasses, valid passport, rain jacket, insect repellents, sun hat, sunscreen, gardening gloves, first aid kit or medical kit, sweater.
Dos and don’ts to follow on Congo Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking
- 10 meters should always be observed away Lowland gorillas
- Once you have found a group of Eastern Lowland Gorillas, you will be allowed to have a magical encounter with them for only one hour.
- A flashlight camera is highly prohibited for taking photos of gorillas.
- You should be 15 and above to trek the Congo Eastern Lowland gorillas.
- Leaving rubbish in the lowland gorilla habitat is highly prohibited.
- Each Eastern Lowland Gorilla family is trekked by only 8 visitors.
- Holidaymakers who prove to be sick/ill won’t be allowed to trek gorillas.
When to go for Congo Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking
Congo Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking experience in Kahuzi-Biega National Park can be done at any time of the year. This is due to the favorable weather and climatic conditions the park enjoys throughout the year. But the best time to be Kahuzi-Biega to trek Eastern Lowland Gorillas is preferably the dry season which runs from June to September and December to February. Very little or no rain is recorded during the dry months of the year in Kahuzi-Biega National Park compared to the wet or rainy season that begins from March to May and October to November.
Compared to most gorilla destinations, Kahuzi-Biega National Park has fewer places of stay. However, the available ones include L’Orchids Safari Club, Coco Lodge and Exodus Bukavu Hotel.
Access to Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park for gorilla trip
There are many ways to access Kahuzi-Biega for your gorilla safari holiday; firstly, by road or by air. By road, the park is reachable 40kms West of Bukavu and this is approximately 1.5 hours’ drive. You can also take the Kavumu Airport road up to Tschivanga Visitor Centre or begin your trip from Rwanda about 6-7 hours through Cyangugu city. First, before you begin your road trip to Kahuzi-Biega, know which route is safer-seek advice from your tour operator or check through current safety/security affairs of Congo.
By air: Flight services are available from Kigali International Airport Rwanda up to Rusizi border/Kamembe airport where you can easily be dropped by 4WD vehicle to Bukavu town in Congo.