Mountain gorilla tours are only in three countries including Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. Democratic republic of Congo is fully endowed with the vast natural resources including several mountains, fresh water bodies, bubbling crater lakes and beautiful wildlife, birds and rare primate species. Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest country in Africa with exceptional riches in other rightful mineral resources including Gold, Diamond and oil. This makes this country one of the top destinations on the African continent.
Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the 3 countries where one can do gorilla trekking in Africa. The country is internationally recognized as one of the exceptional homes for the remaining mountain gorillas in the world, habituated in its renowned conservation area of famous Virunga mountains. The country also shelters a wide range of famous national parks in Africa that are always on every travelers’ list.
Among all the 800 mountain gorillas remaining in the whole world, 350 of them are being sheltered in Democratic Republic of Congo. Interesting enough is how these endangered mountain gorillas can be sighted at a chance of 95%. Passionate travelers can anticipate to have a life time gorilla trekking safari experience in Congo.
The slopes of Virunga mountains homes almost half of the remaining mountain gorillas of the world including the renowned Virunga National Park. Kahuzi-Biega National Park is prominent for as the only National Park hosting the Eastern lowland gorillas in Congo. Unlike Rwanda and Uganda that homes only the endangered mountain gorillas, Democratic Republic of Congo homes both the east lowland gorillas and the mountain gorillas too hence making the country the best for seeing east Africa lowland gorillas in the whole world.
Recommended Congo Safari Packages
GORILLA TREKKING IN RWANDA.
Virunga National Park is one of the gorilla trekking destinations situated in the eastern side of Democratic Republic of Congo bordering Uganda and Rwanda. The park is close and a neighbor of Lake Kivu. It shelters about 200 gorilla individuals and the bigger percentage of them settles in the southern part of the Virunga National Park that covers an area of about 7800 km2.
Visitors are advised to carry warm clothing and other essential items for trekking and hiking especially because of unpredictability of weather in Congo. Carry garden gloves, rain jackets, stockings and hiking shoes. Ancillary to that, legal gorilla trekking permits and visitor passports should also be carried as a must so visitors can be able to engage in this life time and fun activity.
Visitors are advised to report at the park’s offices in the early morning for coffee and a simple briefing on how, where and what should be done while on the trek. Groups of visitors are divided into small groups of eight members each assigned to one particular gorilla group family. The briefing involves sharing informative knowledge including geography, history and some interesting facts about these rare primates to the visitors so they carry a hint about these endangered mountain gorillas before they can dive into this life time experience.
While on the trek for these beautiful apes, visitors shall have such a tremendous experience to sight other comely and stunning rare wildlife, bird and other primate species of Virunga. Once the gorillas are located, each group of guests is offered one hour with the gorillas while during this time, they can be able to take pictures of the beautiful apes, learn their behaviors both around humans and other wildlife, feeding habits and how they breast feed and treat their young ones. A bigger percentage of the visitors on African gorilla tour testify this a breath taking moment worth more visits.
The dominant male silverback protects the family from threats in fact while visitors arrive it’s the one to be encountered first. Tourists shall mostly be enticed by how these humble gorillas behave almost the same way as humans.
For those going to Virunga national park by road can enter the country through Goma city, which is 32 kilometers from the park. That’s about one hour to the park from the Goma town. From Kigali City to Gisenyi the neighbor of Goma town is a four-hour drive. Visitors on a double gorilla trekking tour from Uganda also use this same route through Rwanda. Other people to Virunga might opt for water means of transport by speed boats that charge from about $300 USD to $400 USD.
EASTERN LOWLAND GORILLA TREKKING IN KAHUZI-BIEGA NATIONAL PARK.
Besides trekking the Eastern lowland gorillas as a famous tourist activity in Kahuzi-Biega, for passionate travelers into genuine African culture, beautiful wilderness and landscapes then the park is the right spot on an African safari to be at. Another natural habitat for Eastern lowland gorillas but just a few number of them is Maiko National Park, also situated in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. There are 3 habituated gorilla family groups in Kahuzi-Biega National Park and while some unfit visitors who don’t prefer to trek for long can track the group just close at the park’s office, other gorilla family groups tend to move deeper in thick forests in search for food. Therefore, the whole Eastern lowland gorilla trekking process can take about one to four hours. Tourists and guests are given a maximum of one hour with the beautiful eastern lowland gorillas once they are being tracked.
Eastern lowland gorillas are close in appearance with the mountain gorillas but the former is a bit larger than the Eastern lowland gorillas. While the mountain gorillas can only survive in wilderness, Eastern lowland gorillas are sometimes seen in these zoos. They both feed on tree shoots and fruits.
THE PROCESS OF BOOKING A GORILLA TREKKING PERMIT IN CONGO.
The process of booking and accessing gorilla trekking permits in the Democratic Republic of Congo is actually not a complicated one. Visitors and tourists can reach out to the Virunga National Park’s office in town of Rwanda via email or a telephone call. This is where the visitors will be guided on the proper legal means of securing the gorilla trekking permit. Permits are advised to be purchased in advance. Gorilla trekking permit is a legal document allowing you to access the park and engage in gorilla trekking tour. Only visitors above the age of 15 can have the trekking permits. Other means of accessing the gorilla trekking permit is by through a trusted and professional tour agency, something that will save one’s time.
Visitors are therefore advised to prepare in time, call the tour operator and provide information on when, how, where, the date, month and year they want to trek gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo. The tour operator can then go ahead and check the tickets availability after they will instruct the visitor to deposit a certain amount of money, scan the receipts and passport then send it back at the offices so the gorilla trekking permit can be reserved and secured.
A distance of about 7 meters is maintained while in contact with the gorillas. Sick travelers or those with infections are not allowed to get in contact with gorillas in Congo as diseases from humans to these apes can easily be transmitted. Unnecessary noise and flush lights are also prohibited while in contact with the gorillas.
GORILLA TREKKING TICKETS COST IN VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK.
Democratic Republic of Congo has the most affordable gorilla trekking tickets in comparison with the only two countries that shelter the endangered mountain gorillas namely; Rwanda and Uganda. Whereas Rwanda has the most expensive gorilla trekking permits at $1500 USD, Congo has the cheapest at only $400 USD even compared to Uganda that costs $700 USD.
BEST TIME TO GO FOR GORILLA TREKKING TOURS IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.
Democratic Republic of Congo can actually be visited all year round and the gorilla trekking activities in both Kahuzi-Biega National Park and Virunga National park can also be done all year around. However, visitors are advised to go for gorilla trekking in Democratic Republic of Congo during the dry season. Drier months of June, July, August, December, January and February remain a better option for gorilla trekking tours in Congo. During this period the gorilla trekking trails in both Kahuzi-Biega and Virunga national parks are dry with short vegetation making the routes accessible unlike in rainy season where the routes are inaccessible with lush vegetation, mud and floods hence making the gorilla trekking safari quite complicated.