Gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega national park; Gorilla trekking is an adventurous and extra ordinary activity in Kahuzi Biega national park which involves visitors moving on foot into the tropical rainforest in search of the habituated eastern lowland gorillas and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Kahuzi Biega national park is located in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo, on the western bank of Lake Kivu close to Bukavu town. Kahuzi Biega national park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 due to its unique biodiversity and it’s a home of the endemic eastern lowland gorillas, other primates like black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, animals like bush elephants, forest hogs and over 350 bird species.
Kahuzi Biega national park is a home of 9 gorilla families and 5 gorilla families are open for trekking namely Chimanuka, Mugaruka, Mpungwe, Bonnani and Mugahuka gorilla families. It is the major activity that attracts big number of tourists to visit the park and trekking starts very early in the morning with a briefing about the rules and regulations at the park headquarters. After the briefing, you will be sub-divided into groups of 8 people where each group will be allocated a habituated gorilla family to trek and an experienced park guide.
Trekking of Eastern lowland gorillas takes about 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on where the gorillas are located because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will be able to view other primates, different plant and tree species, birds among other. Once the eastern lowland gorillas are found, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to learn more about their behaviors, habits, watch them carry out their daily activities like feeding, breastfeeding, grooming young ones, take photos and record videos to show people back home after the Congo safari.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Kahuzi Biega national park
A gorilla trekking permit in Kahuzi Biega national park is a legal document or card that is issued to any visitor above the age of 15 years allowing him or her to visit a habituated gorilla family and spend one hour with the eastern lowland gorillas in their natural habitat. A gorilla trekking permit in Kahuzi Biega national park costs 400 USD per person for all nationalities. Kahuzi Biega national park also offers discounted gorilla permits in the low/ rainy season which cost 200 USD per person.
How to book a gorilla trekking permit in Kahuzi Biega national park
A gorilla trekking permit in Kahuzi Biega national park can either be booked directly through Virunga reservations office whereby you will contact the offices by telephone call or email inquiring about the availability of the permits on your desired dates. They can also be acquired through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris whereby you will contact us with the date, month and year when you wish to visit the eastern lowland gorillas. After contacting us, we will check for permit availability and if there are permits available on your preferred dates, you will be asked to make a deposit. Once we receive the payment, we will purchase the permits on your behalf.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega national park
This can be done all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season, there is less rainfall in the national park therefore gorilla trekking trails will be dry and passable compared to the wet season when the trails are muddy and slippery which make trekking difficult.
What to pack for your gorilla trekking safari in Kahuzi Biega national park
There are a number of items to pack including hiking boots, garden boots, long sleeved shirt and trouser, insect repellent, camera and extra batteries, energy snacks and drinking water, waterproof rain jacket/ poncho, back pack among others.
Where to stay during your gorilla trekking safari in Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega national park has a number of accommodation facilities ranging from budget, midrange and luxury where you can stay during your gorilla trekking safari including L’orchids safari club, Coco lodge, Exodus Bukavu budget, Hotel Begonias Bukavu, Lake Side Hotel Bukavu, Mount Kahuzi Hotel Bukavu among others.
How to get to Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega national park is located in the eastern part of Congo and can be accessed by road transport means whereby you will drive from Goma to the park headquarters which takes about 5 to 6 hours’ drive.
You can also access the park from Kigali in Rwanda whereby you will fly to Kigali international airport and then connect to the park headquarters which takes about 6 to 7 hours’ drive.
Kahuzi Biega national park can also be accessed by air transport means whereby you will book a domestic flight from Kigali international airport to Kamembe airport and then connect to Kahuzi Biega national park through Bukavu.