Straddling the Albertine Rift and the Congo Basin, Kahuzi Biega National Park is an exceptional habitat for the protection of the rain forest and the Eastern Lowland gorilla, Gorilla Beringei Graueri. The park is situated in the eastern part of the country 50km west of the town of Bukavu, near Lake Kivu in south Kivu province. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Democratic Republic of Congo, inscribed in 1980 for its unique biodiversity of rain forest habitat and its Eastern Lowland gorillas.
The park is named after the two extinct volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega. Extending over 600,000 are the dense lowland rain forests as well as Afro-montane forests, with bamboo forests and some small areas of sub-alpine prairies and heather on Mount Kahuzi and Biega. The park is protected by the national park legal status and managed by the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN).
Kahuzi Biega National Park contains a flora and fauna of exceptional diversity making it one the most important sites in the Rift Albertine Valley, it is also one of the ecologically richest regions of Africa and worldwide. The park contains a greater diversity of mammal species than any other site in the Albertine Rift. It is the second most important site of the region for both endemic species and in terms of specific diversity. The park also contains 136 species of mammals among which the star is eastern lowland gorilla and 13 other primates including the threatened species such as the chimpanzee, the Colobus L’Hoest and Hamlyn.
The park can be accessed through Kigali Airport in Rwanda; it is the closest international airport, driving through a decent road to Bukavu. Taxis, buses and car hires can be made to reach the park. In order to have permission to visit to contact Kahuzi Biega National Park and you need a letter of invitation to apply for your Democratic Republic of Congo Visa.
Kahuzi Biega National Park features the lowland gorillas as its tourist attraction in Democratic Republic of Congo. A visit to Kahuzi Biega National Park is high adventure travel to an environment paradise. The lowland gorillas are larger and potentially more endangered than mountain gorillas. They are a bit smaller than the mountain gorillas and have shorter hair and longer arms. They climb trees, and usually they are found on the ground in communities of 5 to 30 members.
The communities are managed by the one dominant silver back. The community is also comprised of juveniles, females and their off springs. The lowland gorilla are predominantly herbivorous, eating mostly leaves. Other than the eastern lowland gorillas, Kahuzi Biega has a range of other animal species including the eastern chimpanzees, forest elephants, owl faced monkey, forest buffaloes, leopard and baboon.
A trip to see lowland gorillas starts with a pick up from Kigali International airport by our company representative who will transfer you to Bukavu. You will be driven to the south-west part of Rwanda to Cyangugu border on the way to Bukavu in Democratic Republic of Congo. Along the way you will have stopovers visiting places like Butare the second largest city in Rwanda with very many universities, here you will visit the national museum of Rwanda to get more information about the history of the country, visit the genocide memorial site, visit the King’s palace among other interesting places.
You will have an en-route lunch break and then you will continue your journey to Bukavu with beautiful views of the hills in Rwanda through the tropical forest of Nyungwe National Park. You will also have a clear view of Lake Kivu the six largest in Africa. Arrive in Democratic Republic of Congo late in the evening having your dinner at Orchid Safari Lodge.
This is the long-awaited day for lowland gorilla trekking safaris in Congo. Wake up early enough and take heavy breakfast after your driver guide will transfer you to gorilla trekking point near the park. Upon arrival, you will get a short briefing by the park ranger guides about the rules and procedures of the gorilla tracking while in the forest. Then trekking starts and your ranger will lead via the undergrowth and thick creepers of the dense rain forest as you trail the lowland gorillas’ whereabouts on the day.
Trekking the gorillas usually involves hiking in the tropical rain forest and following different trails depending on where the gorillas spent their previous night. Searching of the gorillas may range from 30 minutes to 8 hours in the jungle. However, once you come across the lowland gorilla family, you are strictly going to spend one hour observing and interacting with them. Sitting with the most peaceful, very rare and endangered of all apes, is a magical experience. This one hour one is going to provide you with an incredible lifetime experience for the rest of your life. The following day, wake up and have you breakfast after you will be driver back to Rwanda Kigali crossing via Cyangugu border.