Gorilla Trekking in Congo
Gorilla trekking safaris in Congo is an amazing activity that has thousands of travellers visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo to encounter the endangered and rare species of gorillas. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the few gorilla destinations in the world from where travellers can encounter the large primates in their wild. The Congo is blessed with two taxa of gorillas; mountain gorilla in Virunga National Park and the Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park, which offer gorilla trekking safaris throughout the year. Gorilla trekking in Congo is one of the most sought after tourist activity in the Congo, and thus attracts large travellers into the gorilla destinations in large numbers. When you talk about gorilla trekking Congo however, most travellers only rush to think of Virunga National Park, and it’s only natural for them given not many know about eastern lowland gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Virunga National Park is the prime of all gorilla trekking in Congo safaris. Virunga National Park has about over 250 habituated mountain gorillas. mountain gorillas can only be found in four gorilla destinations which include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which hosts more than half the total world population of mountain gorillas, with the rest of the gorilla population being shared amongst the other three destinations which include Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, all three of which make up the Virunga Conservation Area.
Though the Congo is feared as a tourist destination by many travellers, and has not been fully explored and developed, the most authentic wild and jungle experiences are best experienced here than anywhere else in Africa, for the country is still so virgin and not so much as exploited as most other safari destinations in Africa.
The eastern part of the Congo, where the Virunga National Park famous for hosting the endangered mountain gorillas is, is one of the best places to visit while in the country. The most sought after tourist activity in Virunga National Park is gorilla trekking; and you shall be rewarded with the most raw and memorable gorilla trekking safari experience.
Virunga National Park has about 8 habituated gorilla families which travellers can trek for their gorilla trekking in Congo experience. Gorilla trekking in Congo is done safely and in a conservational manner, keeping in mind that the gorillas are endangered, and need conservation as well as their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking in Congo is done the same way as it is in the other three gorilla destinations. Gorilla trekking in Congo starts very early in the morning, at 7:30am with a briefing from the park officials and then have travellers embark on the search of the Congo gorillas at 8am. Gorilla trekking in Congo can take about 2-6 hours, depending on the location of the gorillas as well as the terrain. Once travellers have encountered the gorillas, they are allowed only up to 1 hour with them, and interact with them. Only those above the age of 15 years can take part in gorilla trekking in Congo.
Congo gorilla permits
For one to be able to take part in gorilla trekking on Congo safari experiences either in Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Biega National Park of Congo, one needs to purchase a Congo gorilla trekking permit. A single entry Congo gorilla permit costs only $400, which is much cheaper compared to other gorilla destinations which have their gorilla trekking permits at $700 in Uganda and $1500 in Rwanda, per person per trek. Gorilla trekking in Congo therefore offers a much cheaper alternative.
Getting to Congo to enjoy gorilla trekking in Congo
The Congo can be accessed by both air and road. By air, travellers get to fly into Goma International Airport and then get transferred to Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Biega National Park for great Congo safari experiences. By road, travellers can fly into Kigali International Airport and then transfer to the Congo via Gisenyi and get to enjoy their much anticipated gorilla trekking in Congo safari experience. Be sure to have applied for your Congo visa before your travel date. Also, important documents like a valid passport and a yellow fever card should be with you at the immigration desk lest you shall not be allowed into the country.
What to pack for your gorilla trekking in Congo safari experience
Gorilla trekking in Congo is an activity that involves travellers hiking through the dense forest and mountainous cover in search of the gorillas. For this, travellers should include good hiking shoes with a strong grip and preferably waterproof given the rains do fall at any time in a rainforest, a rain jacket, long sleeved shirts and trousers, gloves to protect your hands when you hold onto grass during the hike, a hat and a waterproof back pack to safe keep your important gadgets like phones and cameras. An insect repellent cream should be included on your packing list for your gorilla trekking in Congo safari. Energy gibing snacks like chocolate should be carried as well. At the start of the gorilla trekking in Congo safari activity, you shall be given a hiking stick, be sure to take it for you shall make use of it. You may also hire a porter to help you with a pull or push during your gorilla trekking in Congo activity.
When to go for a gorilla trekking in Congo safari
Gorilla trekking in Congo can be done throughout the year, for the weather in the parks is rather unpredictable given the nature of the environment (rainforests!). Even during the dry season, rains can still fall, and it can also shine during the supposed wet season. Travellers are therefore advised to visit anytime they are available for a gorilla trekking in Congo safari. To many past travellers however, the dry season is the best time to visit for a gorilla trekking in Congo safari experience, though you just may still have rains falling though not as heavy as it could have been in the wet season months.
Where to stay while on a gorilla trekking on Congo safari
While on a gorilla trekking in Congo safari, travellers in Virunga National Park can stay in Mikeno Lodge, Bukima Tented Camp which are inside the park, while those outside the park include Lac Kivu Lodge among others.
Asides from gorilla trekking in Congo, other tourist activities like mountain climbing of say Mount Nyiragongo, nature walks, community visits among others can still be enjoyed. Gorilla trekking in Congo is however still the very best activity to do. Reach out to your preferred tour operator to help you put together a memorable gorilla trekking in Congo safari experience.