Congo Gorilla Trekking Safari-Travel Guide to African primates
Welcome to the Ultimate Gorilla Trekking Guide in Congo featuring most important information like how to book the gorilla permit, which gorilla species are you going to trek ( Eastern Lowland Gorillas , Mountain Gorillas) Trusted Tour Operators, how to get there, Safari lodges and Accommodations in Congo.
Gorilla trekking in congo is a wonderful experience, providing a close encounter with these gentle giants of the forests, in their natural habitat. Trekking can take place either in Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo or Republic of Congo and congo is the only destination where you can visit the Mountain Gorilla in Virunga National Park and Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park & Maiko National Park. Gorilla Permits are heavily restricted, so early booking is vital for the two national Park of Kahuzi biega and Virunga National Park but impossible for the maiko national Park as ICCN hasn’t opened up the tourism offices in the park.
You need not feel that you are exploiting these animals by paying to see them in their natural habitat. In fact, tourism is an important factor in their survival in congo as there are various projects in the national park funding the conservation of the Parks. The income from permits is used to help set up and finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers.
How close to the gorillas do you get?
Officially, seven metres. It is very important that you adhere to the guidelines laid down by your guide during the pre- trek briefing and its always done in the morning hours before entering the jungle to search for the endangered species like the Mountain Gorillas , Eastern Lowland Gorillas . The rules are designed for the benefit of both humans and gorillas, particularly to reduce the reduce the spread of infection.
Whilst it can be difficult to keep to this distance (the gorillas have never been told of this particular rule), please be aware of your guide’s comments and follow these to the letter while on Gorilla trekking adventure in Africa either on Mountain Gorilla watching or Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking. The gorillas are usually spread out in the forest, sometimes out in the open, other times hiding in the shadows, so you may only catch glimpses of them. You may be very lucky and see them all out in the open while feeding or playing with the young ones in the wild.
Gorilla Species in Africa.
Gorillas are the largest of the primates and the rare primates to be seen anywhere else in the world except in African Countries of Rwanda, Uganda and Congo Plus Central Africa Countries like Cameroon, republic of congo, Chad. with two species, the western gorilla and eastern gorilla.
These are then divided into four sub-species; western lowland gorilla, eastern lowland gorilla (also known as Grauer’s gorilla), mountain gorilla and Cross River gorilla.
Eastern Gorilla – Gorilla beringei
These Eastern Lowland gorillas are believed to be only found in Democratic republic of congo where it only visible in two national parks of Kahuzi biega national Park, Maiko National Park located in South Kivu and north kivu respectively . Estimated to be left with the population of 2000-5000 and its reported as the most endangered species in Africa on the world heritage site.
The Eastern Gorilla of Males weigh on average 163kg (359lbs) and have a standing height of 1.69m (5ft 7ins) whilst females are slightly shorter at 1.58m (5ft 3ins) and are half the weight of the males and in various places they have been habituated for tourism and they are open for Trekking however there are still wild eastern gorillas but relax once seen on the trekking day as the Ranger guide will take control of the situation at hand.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking Destination, While planning a Eastern Lowland gorilla Trekking adventure , check with the Kahuzi Biega National Park as its the most recommended destination that has 4 Gorilla Families that are open for trekking & Watching whoever there are various efforts to increase the number of Families open for trekking .
Mountain Gorillas in Africa
Mountain Gorillas are only still existing in the virunga massif that makes up three national parks of Virunga national Park Congo, Volcanoes national park Rwanda, Mgahinga National Park Uganda and the Famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest national Park in Uganda. These four national parks serve as the home to the endangered mountain gorillas in Africa with the population left estimated to be less than 900 species.
Mountain Gorilla trekking adventure is open in all the four destinations and its requires to secure the Gorilla permits which are sold at expensive price in Rwanda and Uganda but cheaper in Congo in the Virunga National Park . In rwanda the gorilla permit costs usd 1500, Uganda has low season and peak season where its 450 USD and 600 USD respectively , yet for Democratic republic of congo the permit costs USD 400 and special discounts offered by park to secure the gorilla permit at 200 USD. Always check to see if the special discount can be offered to you during the travel time .
The Mountain Gorillas has the following features, longest and thickest hair for warmth in colder, higher altitudes, generally very shy creatures, Males can weigh up to 195kg (430lbs) and can stand at 1.5m (4ft 11ins) whilst females are about half that weight and stand at 1.3m (4ft 3ins)
The Behaviors of the Gorillas can be best understood by the conservation approach that was used by the given conservationists like Dian Fossey and Adrien Deschryver that conserved the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi biega national park.
For the Mountain Gorillas , Dian fossey used the approach of looking down and sitting down once he found the gorillas in Volcanoes national Park Rwanda which was a sign for respect of the endangered mountain gorillas in their jungle and this approach is still valid to be followed by the Gorilla trekkers in Rwanda & Uganda Plus Democratic republic of congo.
Where as the Adrien Deschryver the conservationist for the Eastern Lowland gorillas, the approach is that he looked straight into the eyes of the lowland gorillas once he found them and this practice is still valid for gorilla visitors in Africa mainly watching the Eastern Lowland gorillas in the jungles of Democratic reoublic of congo.
With broad chests and shoulders, large, human-like hands and small eyes set into hairless faces, gorillas display many human-like behaviors and emotions, such as laughter and sadness and even make their own tools to help them survive in the forest. In fact, gorillas share 98.3% of their genetic code with humans, making them our closest cousins after chimpanzees and bonobos but never beat the chest once your in interaction with the silverback gorillas but its okey for the young ones as they keep playing and showing a sign of joy.
Where to Stay in congo while on Gorilla Trekking Adventure.
- Mikeno Lodge, this safari lodge is located in Virunga National Park and its luxury hotel in congo that is recommended while going for mountain gorilla trekking adventure in Congo.
- Lac Kivu Hotel is located in Goma Town and its recommended for budget travelers that are seeking overnight stay in congo while going for Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park.
- caltus hotel.
- In kahuzi Biega National Park , the most recommended lodge that will reward you great experience is the coco lodge that is located in the south of Lake Kivu . Planning for Eastern Lowland gorilla Trekking , book a night in Bukavu town.