Gorilla trekking in Congo
Gorilla trekking in congo : Gorillas are the most visited attractions in Congo and they are found in 2 national parks namely Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park. Gorilla trekking is an activity where you will move into the forest in search of the habituated gorilla families and when found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat.
Where to go for gorilla trekking in Congo
Virunga national park
The national park is located in the Albertine rift valley in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo. Virunga national park is one of the oldest national parks in Africa that was gazetted mainly to protect the endangered mountain gorillas. The national park was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 due to its ecological importance. Virunga national park is the best and one of the most visited protected areas in Congo in that it harbors the endangered mountain gorillas. There are about 8 habituated gorilla families in Virunga national park which are available for trekking on a daily basis.
Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega is another gorilla destination that is located in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo near Lake Kivu bordering Rwanda. The national park was also listed among the UNESCO World heritage sites due to its unique rainforests and wildlife species such as the endangered Eastern lowland gorillas which are larger than the mountain gorillas. Kahuzi Biega national park is a home of about 12 gorilla families and about 5 families have been habituated hence open for trekking.
Gorilla trekking experience in Congo
Gorilla trekking in Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park is done in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters about the rules and regulations. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 people to trek each habituated gorilla family and grouping is done according to age, physical fitness and personal preferences. At around 8:00am, you will start trekking in the jungle with a park guide who will be sharing information about the gorillas and also showing you the trails to follow.
Gorilla trekking in Congo takes about 3o minutes to 6 hours depending on the location of the mountain gorillas and once they have been found, you will be able to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat learning about their lifestyle, habits, behaviors, watching them carry out their daily activities, take photos and record the moments.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Democratic Republic of Congo
A gorilla trekking permit is a document that is issued to any visitor allowing him or her to visit the habituated gorilla families in either Virunga national park or Kahuzi Biega national park for one hour. Congo is the only destination that offers a cheap gorilla trekking permit which costs $400 for foreign non-residents compared to other destinations like Uganda where a gorilla trekking permit costs $600 for foreign non-resident, $500 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens and Rwanda where it costs $1500 for all nationalities, therefore visitors who want to trek the endangered mountain gorillas at a cheap price should book a gorilla trekking permit in Congo. A gorilla trekking permit in Congo allows you to spend one hour with the habituated gorilla family in its natural habitat though trekking itself takes about 30 minutes to 6 hours.
How to book a gorilla trekking permit in Congo
There are two options of booking a gorilla trekking permit in Congo for example booking directly through Virunga foundation by contacting the offices via email or telephone calls or booking through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global safaris. When booking through a tour operator, you will contact us with the date, months, year and destination where you want to visit the gorillas. We will check for permit availability depending on the date’s provided and if the permits are available, you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit. Once the deposit has been made, you will be asked to send a scanned copy of your passport for registration. We will then purchase the permit for you and unlike Uganda and Rwanda where they send a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation, Congo doesn’t therefore we will reserve your gorilla trekking permit based on mutual understanding.
Gorilla trekking permits in Virunga national park should be booked 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because they are competitive and get sold out therefore in order to avoid disappointments at the last minute, you are advised to book in advance. However a gorilla trekking permit in Kahuzi Biega national park can be booked even at the last minute because the national park doesn’t receive many visitors like Virunga national park.
What to park for a gorilla trekking safari in Congo
- Gorilla trekking in Congo is done in tropical rainforests therefore it can rain anytime of the day regardless of the season hence visitors are advised to carry various gorilla trekking equipment’s including
- Gorilla trekking permit which allows you to visit a habituated gorilla family in any of the national parks for one hour.
- Garden gloves to protect your hands from thorny trees and germs
- Insect repellent to protect your body from biting insects like tsetse flies, mosquitos
- Long sleeved shirt and trousers to keep you warm especially during morning hours
- Hiking shoes which are comfortable to allow you trek in muddy and slippery grounds
- Rain jacket/poncho to protect you from rain
- Energy snacks like drinking water and packed lunch which give you energy during hiking in the jungle since it takes 30 minutes to 6 hours.
- Walking stick to give you support when hiking in steep and slippery terrains.
- Camera and extra batteries to take photos and record the moments
- A pair of binoculars to view far wildlife species such as birds, other primates among others
Where to stay on your gorilla trekking safari in Democratic Republic of Congo
There are a number of luxury, midrange and budget accommodation facilities in Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park where you can stay on your gorilla trekking safari including Mikeno Lodge, Tchegera Island Tented Camp, Bukima Tented Camp, Lulimbi Tented Camp, Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelters, Kibumba Camp, Lac Kivu Lodge, Ihusi Hotel, Exodus Hotel Bukavu, Coco Lodge, The L’Orchids Safari Club, Hotel Begonias Bukavu, Mount Kahuzi Hotel, Lake Side Hotel among others.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking in Congo
Gorilla trekking in Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park can be done anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. during the dry season there is less rainfall in the forest therefore access roads to the national parks will be passable, there will be short bushes in the forest which allows you to clearly view the gorillas and take photos and the gorilla trekking trails in the jungle will be dry and passable hence making gorilla trekking successful.
Gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo is the major activity that gives you breathtaking and unforgettable experiences.