Congo gorilla trekking
Congo gorilla trekking / gorilla trekking in Congo : Congo is one of the African countries harboring the endangered mountain gorillas which are the most visited attractions in the world. Gorilla trekking in Congo in carried out in two national parks which include Virunga gorilla national park and Kahuzi Biega national park. There are other countries in Africa which offer gorilla trekking activity and they include Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda.
Gorilla trekking destinations in Congo
Gorilla trekking is an adventurous activity which involves visitors moving on foot in the forests in search of the habituated gorilla families and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. On your gorilla trekking safari in Congo you will visit gorilla destinations like
Virunga national park is one of the oldest national parks in Africa located in north eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo bordering with Uganda and Rwanda. The national park is the most visited gorilla destination in Congo in that it harbors the highest number of mountain gorillas and highest number of habituated gorilla families. Virunga national park is a home of 8 habituated gorilla families including Humba, Kabirizi, Mapuwa, Rugendo, Lulengo, Munyaga, Bageni and Nyakamwe.
Gorilla trekking in Virunga national park starts in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters where after you will be grouped into 8 people an allocated a gorilla family to trek. You will start trekking at around 8:00am with a park guide who is well conversant with the trails in the jungle and trekking takes 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the location of the mountain gorillas because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. When the mountain gorillas are found, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat learning about their behaviors, lifestyle, habits, watching them carry out their daily activities, take photos and record videos which is a lifetime experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Kahuzi Biega national park, this is another national park in Congo harboring the endangered Eastern lowland gorillas which are larger than the mountain gorillas. Kahuzi Biega national park is located in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo west of Bukavu town in south Kivu province. The national park is a home of over 12 gorilla families and only 5 have been habituated for trekking and they include Chimanuka, Mpungwe, Bonnani, Mugaruka and Marhale.
Gorilla trekking is the major activity in Kahuzi Biega national park and it starts in the morning with a briefing about the rules, regulations, and expectations at the park headquarters. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 people, allocated a gorilla family, park guide and then start trekking in the jungle. Trekking of the gorillas in the park takes 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on the location of the gorillas and once found you will be allowed to spend one hour in their presence which gives you an opportunity to take photos, learn more about their lifestyle, behaviors, habits, record the moments among others.
Cost of a gorilla trekking permit in Congo
A gorilla trekking permit is a legal document or card that is issued to a visitor who is fifteen years of age and above allowing him or her to visit any gorilla family in either Virunga national park or Kahuzi Biega national park. A gorilla trekking permit in Congo therefore costs $400 for foreign non-residents, $150 for Democratic Republic of Congo residents and a discounted gorilla trekking permit which costs $200 in the low season from 15th March to 15th May and 15th October to 15th December. the gorilla trekking permit in Congo is the cheapest compared to other countries like Rwanda where a gorilla trekking permit in the most expensive and costs $1500 per person for all nationalities and Uganda where a gorilla trekking permit costs $600 for foreign non-residents, $500 for foreign residents and UGX 250,000 for East African citizens.
Booking a gorilla trekking permit in Congo
There are two options of booking a gorilla trekking permit in Congo and the first option is booking directly through Virunga foundation which is the government body in charge of permits in Democratic Republic of Congo and when booking directly you will contact the offices in Goma town via telephone calls or email. The second option is booking through a tour operator like Achieve global safaris. When booking through a tour operator, you will contact us with the date, month, year and destination for gorilla trekking, we will check availability of the permits according to the dates and when there are permits available you will be asked to make a deposit for the permit. You will also be asked to send a scanned copy of your passport which will be used to register for your permit. When we receive the money your gorilla trekking permit will be acquired and reserved based on mutual trust because unlike Rwanda and Uganda where you will be sent a scanned copy of the receipt as confirmation, in Congo it’s not allowed therefore the permit is reserved and issued to you on your arrival.
booking through Achieve Global Safaris is however the best option to use in that it saves you all the hustle of going through various processes and we will not only acquire your gorilla trekking permit but also plan for your entire gorilla trekking safari which include transportation, meals, accommodation and other activities that you wish to engage in such as hiking, nature walk among others.
When to book a gorilla trekking permit in Congo
A gorilla trekking permit in Congo should be acquired 3 to 6 months in advance before the trekking date because the permits are competitive and get sold out quickly especially during the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February because that’s the period when visitors prefer travelling to Virunga national park due to less rainfall therefore to avoid last minute disappointments you are advised to book in advance.
Kahuzi Biega national park is however not highly visited like Virunga national park which means that there is no competition for the gorilla trekking permits therefore the last minute travelers can also obtain the gorilla trekking permits in the park at any time.
What to pack for your gorilla trekking safari in Congo
There are various equipment’s that you should pack when goring on a gorilla trekking safari in Congo and they include long sleeved shirt and trouser to keep you warm, insect repellent to protect you from insect bites like tsetse flies, long socks to prevent insects from entering your body, hiking shoes for easy movement and to keep your feet dry during trekking, rain jacket/poncho to protect you from rainfall, hat or sun glasses to protect you from direct sun, backpack to carry your equipment’s, camera to take photos and record the moments so as to show people back home after the thrilling experience with the gorillas.
Best time to go for gorilla trekking in Congo
Gorilla trekking in Congo can be done all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season there is less rainfall in the national parks therefore access roads and gorilla trekking trails in the forest will be passable compared to the rainy season when the trails are muddy and slippery due to heavy rainfall which makes trekking difficult.
Where to stay on your Congo gorilla trekking safari
There are a number of accommodations in Democratic Republic of Congo where you can stay on your gorilla trekking safari ranging from luxury, midrange and budget. The lodges include L’Orchids Safari Club, Hotel Begonias Bukavu, Coco Lodge, Lake Side Hotel Bukavu, Exodus Bukavu Mount Kahuzi Hotel Bukavu, Mikeno Lodge, Tchegera Island Camp, Bukima Tented Camp, Lulimbi Tented Camp, Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelters, Kibumba Camp among others.
Visitors interested in Congo gorilla trekking safari can contact Achieve Global Safaris or visit our website for gorilla trekking packages in Congo