lowland gorilla trekking in Congo – Kahuzi Biega national park is located in the Eastern Democratic Republic of congo just 50 kms away from Bukavu town which is known among the biggest towns in the eastern part with developed accommodation facilities including the orchids safari club , Coco lodge with modern amenities.
Kahuzi Biega national park is listed under the world heritage sites as its known to be the home for the most endangered species of the eastern lowland gorillas which are only found in democratic republic of congo in the entire world. The 75,000 ha eastern sector is entirely montane. The massif is part of the Mitumba Mountain range, the western mountains of the Great Rift Valley. The two main peaks, Mount Kahuzi (3,308 m) and Mount Biéga (2,790 m) are extinct volcanoes.
Eastern lowland gorilla tracking – The western zone is forested by equatorial rain forest, with transition forest between 1,200 m and 1,500 m. In the eastern zone, six different primary vegetation types have been distinguished: mountain rainforest, high-altitude rain forest, swamp forest, bamboo forest, sub alpine heather and swamp and peat bog. Kahuzi Biega National park covers an area of 60000 square kilometers with the Eastern part being the smaller mountainous region measuring 600, and the largest part measuring 5600 square kilometers consisting of mainly lowland stretching from Bukavu to Kisangani, drained by Luuka and Lugulu Rivers which flows into the Lualaba River.
Kahuzi biega national park was published in 1970 t0 conserve and preserve the Eastern Lowland gorillas (the world’s largest gorilla species. The park was also inscribed in 1980 as the UNESCO World’s Heritage site or its unique biodiversity of the Rain forest habitat and its eastern lowland gorillas.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park operated and managed by the Institut Congolese Pour La Kahuzi Biega National park has rich diversity of flora and fauna protecting both plants, mammals and bird species, among which the Eastern lowland gorillas are the most prominent among the mammals found. Other primates include Chimpanzees, owl faced monkeys, elephant, Bush buffalo, Alexanders Bush squirrel.
Kahuzi -biega national park is famous for eastern lowland gorilla trekking in Congo. The Eastern lowland are distinguished from all other gorilla types by their stocky bodies, large hands and short muzzles and mainly feed on fruits and other herbaceous materials. Kahuzi -biega national park has two eastern lowland gorilla families exposed for tracking while others are still undergoing habituation process. These are the most peaceful and social primates featuring about 5-30 members with an alpha male being the dominant in the family who is always responsible for the protection and establishing the home for the rest of the family members.
With lowland gorillas, kahuzi- biega becomes is off the beaten tracks whereby your time and money spent will make agreat difference in your life that you will never regret.
Trekking involves hiking in the tropical rainforest following different trails depending on where they slept the previous night. Trekking lasts for about 30 minutes to 5hrs and most visitors feel the real family experience within the 1hr spent in the presence of the primates.
You don’t only stop at trekking the eastern lowland gorillas, but also the stunning views of the Park that is clearly seen from the two peaks of the volcanic peaks of Mountain kahuzi and Mount biega that are situated within the heart of the park. These mountains are inactive with Mount kahuzi standing at an elevation of 3308 meters above sealevel and Mount biega at 2790m showing the park’s entire view alongside the wildlife , neighboring communities and other countries not forgetting the bamboo and sub-alpine vegetation which harbor various animals hence providing chances of encountering owl faced monkeys and variety of birds.
Kahuzi biega is a paradise for bird lovers with approximately 342 bird species of which 42 are endemic to the park. Among these sported birds include; yellow crested-helmet shrike, African green broad bill, Congo peafowl, Rockefeller’s among others. The park is now one of the threatened sites put under the protection of the International Union Conservation Area (IUCN).
Nature walkers have to follow trails in the tropical rain forest to different tourism sites, including the Tshibati water falls which also leads to other three water falls. The walk takes trekkers through different vegetation types, different wildlife as well as beautiful sounds from the birds singing up on the trees, which brings up great relaxation of the mind. By the time travelers leave the forest; they have clear minds and more knowledge about wildlife in the national park hence a memorable experience.
The chimpanzee is the other species of the ape in Kahuzi Biega National park. The chimpanzee is so shy that they are encountered only by chance. They live mostly in the low parts of the Kahuzi biega national park where their pant hoots can be heard over a distance of 3 km.
It is difficult to recommend the best time to go and visit Kahuzi Biega National Park because the park is located in a region with vast rain forest. The months between January and February are believed to be relatively dry while May to October is a period with more rains
Kahuzi-Biega National park offers accommodation though in form of camping but for visitors who do not wish to go camping way, there is accommodation offered by the nearest city of Bukavu which is high class, midrange, budget and basic accommodation during the safaris while in Congo. The standard luxury facilities will offer the visitors services that are extraordinary and these lodges are located usefully with attractive views of Lake Kivu such as L`Orchids safari club which offers a mix of contemporary and traditional African Style decorations.
Kahuzi Biega National Park is located 30 Kms from Bukavu Town and it takes one and Half Drive to enter into the National Park and its can be accessed by road and by air however travelers have to understand that from kavumu airport and at Miti, take left and keep going straight until you reach the visitor center