Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking in Congo
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking in Congo: Eastern lowland gorilla trekking in Congo is conducted in only Kahuzi Beiga national park in the southern part of the country in the Bukavu district. Kahuzi Beiga national park is the largest park in the Democratic Republic of Congo covering an area of 6,000 square kilometers. Congo is blessed harbor both of the 2 subspecies of Eastern Gorillas is the Eastern lowland gorillas that thrill in Kahuzi Beiga national park as well as Mountain Gorillas that are trekked in Virunga national park making it possible to trek both Mountain Gorillas and Eastern lowland gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Eastern lowland Gorillas as mentioned earlier on are a sub specie of Eastern Gorillas and larger in size their the mountain gorillas and as well live in bigger clans that makes trekking them more fascinating. In East Africa, these Eastern Lowland Gorillas are only trekked in Kahuzi Beiga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo unlike Mountain Gorillas that are found in 3 countries of Uganda, Rwanda as well as Congo.
Eastern lowland gorillas are termed as endangered primates with less than 4,000 individuals still thrilling in the wild though they are almost 4 times the population of mountain gorillas that is slightly more than 1,000 individuals remaining. The Eastern lowland Gorillas thrill in areas of low elevation thus the name lowland and are endemic to the central African region but mostly trekked in Kahuzi Beiga national park in Congo. Other destinations where Eastern lowland gorillas are found include in Usala forest, Maiko National park among others.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking tour still remains the top tourist activity done in Kahuzi Beiga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo just like the way Mountain Gorilla trekking is the top activity in Virunga national park, Mgahinga gorilla national park as well as in volcanoes national park which are the only destinations that harbor these endangered primates.
The permit to trek Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Beiga national park costs $400 allowing only 1 hour with these gorillas in their habitat. This implies that after long walks searching for these gorillas, you are entitled to a maximum duration of 1 hour with these gorillas taking photos, recording videos and learning about their habits. While with the Eastern lowland gorillas or any other sub specie of gorillas, ensure that your flight is switched off till you exit the park for safety purposes and security purposes in the park.
How is Eastern lowland gorilla trekking conducted?
Eastern lowland gorilla trekking starts early in the morning with briefing where all trekkers are supposed to report at the park headquarters ready to undergo a session of briefing by the armed rangers who are well experienced in how best to handle these gorillas. During briefing, you will acquire the basic knowledge about Eastern lowland gorillas, what they eat, and possible encounters during the trek, the dos and don’ts during the trek and many more.
After briefing, trekkers are allowed to hire porters to assist in carrying some heavy backpacks and off to the jungle trekkers are led amidst tight security of armed rangers to search for the gorillas. The entire trek is unpredictable since gorillas are wild animals are can keep moving as trekkers follow them up until they finally settle. During the gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Beiga, trekkers are rewarded with stunning encounters with other park dwellers including mammals like Elephants, Forest hogs, Buffaloes, Bongo, other primates like Olive baboon, Colobus monkey, bush babies and several species of birds like Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Red-eyed Dove, Grey-cheeked hornbill, Golden-winged Sunbird, African Thrush, Handsome Francolin, Elliot’s woodpecker, White-tipped Crested-flycatcher, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Bar-tailed Trogon, Rufous-vented Paradise-flycatcher, Black Cuckoo, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, African pipit, Grauer’s broadbill, Black-billed Turaco, Albertine Sooty Boubou, Yellow-bellied waxbill, Martial Eagle, Yellow-billed barbet, Eastern Nicator, African Yellow White-eye, and many more plus beautiful butterflies.
Once the gorillas finally settle after following them for several hours, trekkers are offered only 1 hour in their presence taking photographs and closely interacting with them within this 1 hour. One hour is the maximum duration allowed to spend with primates including Gorillas, chimpanzees and even Golden monkeys in their natural habitats.
As soon as an hour elapse, trekkers are led out of the jungle and returned to the park headquarters to obtain their trekking certificates before exiting the park.
Packing list for Eastern lowland gorilla trekking,
While planning a Congo safari to trek Eastern lowland gorillas, ensure that you inquiry about what to include in your back pack. Some of the things that shouldn’t miss out in your pack include;
- Long sleeved attire to protect your arms from scratches and insect bites
- A pair of long trouser for protection of your legs
- Appropriate hiking boats that are light and water proof
- A hiking stick (Usually provided during briefing)
- Insect repellant
- A cap, sun glasses and garden gloves
- Sunscreen for protection against sunburns
- Enough drinking water
- Enough snacks
Other things to do in Kahuzi Beiga national park
Apart from being the top destination for Eastern lowland gorilla trekking, Kahuzi Beiga national park also offers other stunning tourist activities that can be alongside the gorilla trek and they include;
- Birding since the park is a home to over 350 species of birds including species like Handsome Francolin, Martial Eagle, Bee-eaters, woodpecker, Black Cuckoo, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Red-eyed Dove, Elliot’s Yellow-billed barbet, Black Cuckoo shrike, African pipit, White-tipped Crested-flycatcher, Albertine Sooty Boubou, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, and many more.
- Hiking and nature walks are also other fascinating things to do in Kahuzi Beiga national park since park offers well defined hiking trails to Mount Kahuzi at 3308 M and Mount Beiga at 2790 M. There are also other trails that lead to different attractions in the park like the waterfalls, Lake Kivu, Mount Bugulumiza and many more stunning views of the park.
Gorilla trekking remains the major tourist activity in Democratic Republic of Congo. Check out our itineraries about gorilla trekking and lets us know when you will to take part in the gorilla trekking adventure.