Kahuzi Biega national Park, Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking
Kahuzi Biega National park located near Bukavu town is a protected area that was gazetted to conserve the Eastern lowland Gorillas-the world’s largest gorilla species.
Kahuzi Biega National Park is one of the biggest National parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a total area of 6000km2 and is set in both lowland and mountainous terrains. The park is named after two dormant volcanoes of Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega.
Mount kahuzi Biega with an Altitude of 3308m is the highest among other mountain in Mituma which stretches long the Albertine rift, south of Rwanda, Northwards into Rwenzori Mountain , West of Uganda. Whilst Mount Biega with an elevation of 2790m is an extinct volcano in Mitumba Ranges as well. The Mitumba Ranges lies west of Bukavu town, near Lake Kivu, along the borderline of both Rwand and Uganda
Mount Biega was gazetted to a zoological and forest reserve in 1937, and was later upgrade and integrated with Kahuzi to the day today status of a national park in Congo. The park now contains a rich diversity of land features and wildlife species, and hence Kahuzi Biega national park is a home that shelters a number of wildlife species, 1178 plant species, 136 mammals and 349 bird species.
The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the last refuges of the rare species of Eastern lowland gorilla also known as Gorilla beringei graueri, an endangered category under the IUCN Red List, which makes it a safe destination that is managed by the Wildlife Conservation society.
Besides eastern Lowland Gorillas, kahuzi biega National Park also has other wildlife species including the; Eastern needle clawed galago, MClaud’s horseshoe, bat, Alexander’s Bush Aquirrel, Mount Kahuzi’s Climbing Mouse, the bongo antelope, bush elephant, the Eastern chimpanzee among others, whgile some wildlife species that are facing threat to their existence.
How to get To Kahuzi Biega National Park
Getting to Kahuzi Biega National Park: Kahuzi Biega National Park is located about 30km from the Bukavu town. It takes a 90 minutes drive from Bukavu town into Kahuzi Biega national park. The park can be easily be accessed by both road and air transport.
Car rental Congo, an official supplier of rental vehicles offers rental cars to all self drive travelers to Kahuzi biega national Park at affordable rental rates.
Whereas other travelers can opt for air transport via domestic flights that operate safaris in various safari destinations of Congo. Domestic flights like aero link will transfer travelers from Goma international airport to kavumu airstrip then traveler will be transferred to the park few hours. This is an alternative for travelers who have less time to spend in Congo, yet wants visit Eastern lowland gorillas.
Attractions and things to do in Kahuzi Biega national park
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking
Kahuzi biega national park is famous for its Eastern lowland Gorilla Trekking, and it is an all year round activity in Democratic republic of Congo. Eastern lowland gorilla trekking is considered the cheapest and easy activity to do in Congo compared to Virunga’s Mountain gorilla trekking, for adventure experience seeking visitors.
The best time to trek gorillas is during the drier months of May, June, July, August November December, December and January. This is because the grounds are drier and the movement is easier compared to the hectic movement during rainy season.
However, Only gorilla groups of Eastern Lowland gorillas are conserved for trekking in Kahuzi biega national park, which can only be accessed by a valid Eastern gorilla permit.
The Easter Lowland gorilla trekking permits are goes for $400 dollars compared to Uganda’s gorilla permits at $600(but $700 from 1st July 2020), and Rwanda’s at $1500.
Gorilla trackers visiting Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi biega national park are advised to spend a minimum of 3 days, as the standard package being offered to every traveler to Congo.
Being the largest gorillas, the trekking experience lasts for about 2-6 hours depending on the location of the gorillas, including an hour provided for direct interaction between the gorillas and the trackers.
Nature Walks at Kahuzi biega national Park:
The park also offers Nature walks through the established trails that takes nature enthusiates to watch other primates and the forest birds. These trails are those that are used for gorilla trekking and border patrols by the park ranger guides.
By the help of the skilled and experienced ranger guides, nature enthusiates are led either through Marais Musisi or Tsibati water falls trail that goes through the swamps, bamboo forests and 3 other waterfalls. Along the trails, chances are high to encounter other primates such as monkeys, chimpanzees.
All nature walks at kahuzi biega national park costs $35.
Mountain Climbing At Kahuzi Biega National Park
Khauzi Biega national Parkalso provides hiking adventures to Mount Kahuzi. Mount kahuzi offers abreath taking picturesque of the town of Bukavu and lake Kivu. Hiking to the summit takes approximately 4 hours while the descent lusts for 3 hours. During both ascent and descent, you will bypass sub-alpine vegetation and bamboo forests filled with birds and other creatures.
Whereas Mount Biega’s hike to the summit and back is about six hours. The vegetation spotted while climbing up mount Biega is quite different from that found in Mount Kahuzi.
Mount Bugulumiza at 2400, is yet another mountain to be hiked in Kahuzi biega national Park. Hiking it offers great views of the surrounding landscape including the mountains Biega and Kahuzi and the wide tropical rain forests of the park as well. Climbing up to the summit of Mount Bugulumiza and back to the ground takes about 3 hours.
Climbing each mountain costs $100.
Kahuzi biega national Park is also abirders paradise for avid birders. The birding adventure is scheduled for both morning and evening session to spot bird species including the African green broad bill, Congo peafowl and yellow crested helmet-shrike among others. Birdwatching can be done during the forest and nature walks.
Visiting Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation center.
Vising primates in Lwiro primates/chimpanzee sanctuary, located near Kahuzi Biega national Park Headquarters, is another ways to spend your days around orphaned primates. The sanctuary takes care of both chimpanzees and monkeys who have their parents and family, and also offers opportunities of volunteering and learning more about primates and conservation.
Accommodations in Kahuzi biega national Pak
There are currently no accommodations within the park, except outside. The Lodges around Kahuzi biega national park ranges from budget, to Mid-range to Luxury(high-end) lodges including; Coco lodge, Lake side hotel Bukavu, Orchids safari Club, Hotel Begonias bukavu among others . The accommodation options from travelers depend on their budgets.
What to wear .
Kahuzi Biega National Park gorilla trekking comes handy with the what to wear or packing list. It is always advised to know what to park for a gorilla tracking of any adventure activity at the park should mindful of what to bring for that safari.