General Protection and Park Management
Kahuzi Biega National Park is currently protected by the National Park legal status and managed by the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation.
Due to the armed conflict in the DR Congo, there was a reduced level of protection by the National Park legal status and good park management of the properties by the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, causing a very serious threat to the wildlife.
However, with the military involvement in 2015, there has been an improvement in the surveillance and management plan of Kahuzi Biega National Park even though there are still some concerns of insecurity due to the presence of some illegal armed groups/armed forces in these lowland regions.
Bodies like the Wildlife Conservation Society have one of the most established programs to save the country’s wildlife in this ecological corridor, especially those that are rare worldwide.
Challenges in Conservation at Kahuzi Biega National Park and How to Change it
Conservation measures and the management plan at Kahuzi Biega National Park have been both advantageous and disadvantageous, especially to the local communities that live inside this World Heritage area.
Although gazetting and conservation were meant for the greater good of protecting wildlife, especially the mammal species, many people were displaced and various conservationists argue that there could have been a better way of compensating the individuals. Additionally, the previous wars and the presence of some illegal armed groups caused insecurity in a vast area of the Kahuzi Biega National Park.
While many people like the Batwa indigenous peoples were forced to lose their land as they were expelled from living in the forests of the Kahuzi Biega National Park, some people’s homes were burnt and some people were killed in the process.
To transform this, park authorities involved in the management plan should apply measures that aim at the peaceful coexistence that protects both mammal species and promotes community development in the neighboring local communities to the park.
A new paradigm shift should focus on ways in which humans and wildlife can have peaceful coexistence in this ecological corridor for inclusive nature conservation by both the wildlife and the local communities in the protected areas.
This is being made possible by the Wildlife Conservation Society which aims at protecting the country’s wildlife to stop the very serious threat of their extinction.
Kahuzi Biega National Park Congo - Gorilla Trekking Tours-Safari Guide
Gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park first occurred in 1973.
Many of the tailor-made safaris in Kahuzi Biega National Park will lead you on Gorilla trekking to meet the Eastern Lowland Gorillas and watch other rare species in other protected destinations for example Mountain Gorilla trekking in Congo Virunga National Park.
There are various things and important information to guide you during your Gorilla trekking adventures in Kahuzi Biega National Park and some of them will include;
1. The Eastern Lowland Gorilla trekking experience
2. What to pack and wear for Gorilla trekking
3. The Democratic Republic of Congo tourist visa
4. How to get to Kahuzi Biega National Park for Gorilla trekking safaris
5. Where to stay during your Gorilla trekking adventures
6. Lowland Gorilla trekking rules and regulations in Kahuzi Biega Park
Let us look at these factors for amazing Gorilla trekking at Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Eastern Lowland Gorillas, also known as the Grauer’s Gorilla are the largest of the four Gorilla subspecies and you can see them in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
In this thrilling adventure to encounter the last remaining group of the Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park, you are free to trek one of the only two habituated Gorilla families in Kahuzi Biega Park that are available for trekking by travelers.
The Eastern Lowland Gorilla trekking at Kahuzi Biega National Park costs $ 400, the same cost for trekking Mountain Gorillas at Virunga.
The trek at this ecological corridor begins at around 7:00 a.m. with a briefing and finding a group will take about 4 to 6 hours depending on the movement or the location of the Eastern Lowland Gorillas.
Having been habituated, it is comfortable to stay with the Eastern Lowland Gorillas for the designated 1 hour during your Gorilla trekking trips at the Biega National Park. The Grauer’s Gorilla species in the park feed on bamboo shoots, fruits, and several herbaceous materials.
What to Pack and Wear for Gorilla Trekking
A packing list is an important consideration when going for the Eastern Lowland Gorilla trekking in the Democratic Republic of Congo, found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ensure that you carry with you the most important and necessary things for example your camera and extra batteries for it, a pair of binoculars, a phone and your charger, and important documents like passport, visa, and medical report.
Also, items such as insect repellents, sunscreen, sunglasses, guidebooks, notebooks, water bottles, and packed snacks, among others are important for your tours in this region of sub-Saharan Africa.
On the other hand, a traveler may want to consider the clothes to wear for their tours and these should be long trousers and long sleeves, a sturdy pair of comfortable shoes for a Gorilla trekking through the lowland region, a hat or cape, poncho or rain jacket in case it rains, etc.
The Democratic Republic of Congo Tourists Visa
DR Congo sells cheap tourist visas to enable you to enter the country for your safaris including Gorilla trekking. Get a reliable Congo Gorilla trekkking tour operators/Congo gorilla trekking safari companies like Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd to lead you through the best experiences in this ecological corridor and the country at large.
How to Get to Kahuzi Biega National Park for Gorilla trekking safaris
Kahuzi Biega National Park is in Eastern DRC, located 30km from Bukavu Town on the Lake Kivu. The distance from the town is a one-and-a-half-hour drive to the vast ecological corridor to meet the Gorillas of lowland regions.
Most connections to this World Heritage Site begin from Rwanda in Kigali City or from Cyangu Town.
You can also access the park using air transport from the Goma International Airport, Kavuma Airport, or Miti, where a professional guide will be waiting to lead you to your destinations.
You can either do a self-drive or have a car rental hire with a professional driver guide to lead you through the different protected areas.
Where to Stay during your Gorilla Trekking safaris in Kahuzi Biega National Park
All travelers should note that there are no established accommodations in the park but they can findaccommodation in Kahuzi Beiaga Park in Bukavu Town, which is the nearest town on the south of L. Kivu.
However, budget travelers can get camping facilities at the park headquarters at Lwiro. Your tour operator will help to arrange for the best accommodation that will allow you to arrive early for your Eastern Lowland Gorilla tracking.
However, some of the renowned accommodation facilities around the lowland regions of this World Heritage Site include
i. Mount Kahuzi Hotel
ii. Lodge Coco
iii. Hotel Begonias
iv. Orchids Safari Club
v. Hotel Exodus Bukavu
vi. Lakeside Hotel Bukavu, etc.
Lowland Gorilla Trekking Rules and Regulations
The Gorilla trekking rules and regulations are put in place to protect the Eastern Lowland Gorillas and also to keep the trekkers safe during their adventures in the forests. Note that these rules apply when you are visiting any of the four Gorilla subspecies like the Mountain Gorillas or the Western Lowland Gorillas.
Below are the different rules and regulations to follow while Gorilla trekking at Kahuzi Biega National Park.
1. Ensure that you carry your Gorilla permit and all your receipts to the Gorilla trekking point because they will be verified before you go to meet the Lowland Gorillas.
2. At the park headquarters, you will be grouped in a set of a maximum of 8 people to avoid stressing the Eastern Lowland Gorillas with a high number of people coming to meet them.
3. In case you are to ease yourself in the forest, do it away from the tracks and bury any waste deep in the ground.
4. Follow the guidelines given by your park rangers to remain safe during your Gorilla trekking adventures at Kahuzi Biega National Park.
5. Only individuals who are 15 years and above are allowed to go for the Gorilla trekking experience in the park and also for the Gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega Park adventures at Virunga NP to watch the Mountain Gorillas.
6. Silence along the trails will give you more experiences like identifying some birds or finding one of the Gorilla families much faster.
7. Eating, drinking or smoking is not allowed while with the Eastern Lowland Gorillas as they may need some of your eats.
8. Always keep an 8-meter distance from the Lowland Gorillas upon meeting one of the Gorilla families.
What Can You Do at the Kahuzi Biega National Park? | Other Activities Done at Kahuzi Biega National Park
Apart from Gorilla trekking of the Eastern Lowland Gorillas/Grauer’s Gorilla, Kahuzi Biega National Park also boasts other amazing activities to enjoy in its lowland terrain as seen below;
1. Chimpanzee habituation at Lwiro Sanctuary:
Travelers to Kahuzi Biega National Park, one of the World Heritage sites can also participate in visiting the habituated Chimpanzees at the Lwiro Sanctuary, one of the rare sites for primate watching. Visiting this sanctuary will allow you to learn about the history of the place and how you can contribute to supporting protected areas in this center.
Visiting these Chimpanzees will cost every person $ 40.
2. Hiking Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega:
These two spectacular extinct volcanoes are part of the Mitumba mountain ranges and hiking in Kahuzi Biega Forest Park them is an adventure to experience the captivating scenic views of the continuous vegetation and wildlife.
Additionally, travelers can also hike the beautiful Kibata waterfalls for $ 25 per person and $ 100 for hiking the two spectacular extinct volcanoes of Kahuzi or Biega ranges.
3. Bird watching:
Bird watching in Kahuzi Biega Park will offer a thrilling experience at Kahuzi Biega National Park as the park is an important endemic bird area. Kahuzi Biega National Park is home to over 349 bird species with various endemic birds identified to liven your Gorilla trekking experiences.
Common examples of birds identified in this park include the Rwezori Turaco, Congo Pea Fowl, and the Trogons, among others.
4. Boat cruise safaris on Lake Kivu:
This lake lies on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda and it is a beautiful place to enjoy amazing boat cruises.
A boat cruise on L.Kivu is usually done after the Gorilla trekking adventures and each tourist pays $ 50 for this amazing activity.
While at the lake near one of the world heritage sites, tourists can also participate in other activities for example sport fishing to explore the different species of fish fauna.
5. Visiting local communities:
Meeting the local communities is an opportunity to learn about the new cultures and ways of the people in and around the Kahuzi Biega National Park.
You can join these local communities in their cultural performances for example as they dance, sing, tell stories about their ancestries, and make local crafts like bags, baskets, jewelry, and clothes among others.
You may also participate in learning how to cook the Congolese local delicacies and then have a meal with one of the families in these local communities.
6. Wildlife Viewing:
Apart from the Eastern Lowland Gorillas and the Eastern Chimpanzees, Kahuzi Biega National Park also boasts many mammal species for thrilling game-viewing trips. Some of the animals to watch on this continuous vegetation include the Eastern Needle-Clawed Galago, Bush Elephant, The Bongo Antelope, Alexander’s Bush Squirrel, Bush Buffalo, Maclaud’s Horseshoe Bat, and the rare Dwarf Buffalo, etc.
7. Camping safaris in the park:
Since there are currently no established accommodation facilities in Kahuzi Biega National Park, camping is a one-of-a-kind activity of its own that allows you to spend a night with the wild nature.
Wake up to the beautiful sights of the primary tropical forest vegetation of the Congo basin and the sounds of the chirping birds and they sing upon the glorious sunrise.
Camping in Kahuzi Biega Park takes $ 50 and travelers on this trip can either bring their tents and bedding or hire them from the park at $ 5.
Is Kahuzi Biega Safe?
Because of the armed conflict between armed groups which caused different instabilities in the country, safety is a primal concern for all travelers to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
For maximum safety, it is important to choose a tour operator who will safely guide you through the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their firsthand knowledge about the different statuses of the country will avail you of the best tips to keep safe while you enjoy your Gorilla trekking and other safari activities in the park.
Also, the Kahuzi Biega National Park rangers and the new management plan ensure that you are well taken care of during your tours for example during Gorilla trekking or hiking.
Additionally, Gorilla trekking is done on habituated Gorilla groups to prevent the very serious threat of them hurting you.
Although self-drives are possible at Kahuzi Biega, it is advisable to not have them since it is still considered risky.
Assessment Information | Full Assessment
Militias surrounding this World Heritage region have been a significant threat to the natural resources of the environment in and around the Kahuzi Biega National Park.
However, due to the efforts of the ICCN and the Congolese government to eliminate the rebels, the security levels through legal armed forces have greatly improved since 2019.
Current State and Trend of Values
There is still a large sector of wildlife, especially the forests and the biotopes in the lower altitude of the basin in the park.
However, some neighboring villages with over 90,000 illegal farmers in the parkland have been relocated. More about these agricultural activities is yet to be assessed to learn about their general impact at Kahuzi Biega National Park.
How Much Does it Cost to Go to Kahuzi Biega National Park?
Going to the Kahuzi Biega National Park to meet the Lowland Gorillas/Grauer’s Gorilla is among the cheapest safaris in Africa. This is partly because of the reduced costs of the major activity which is the Eastern Lowland Gorilla tracking.
However, the cost of your safari to Kahuzi Biega National Park is dependent on different factors including the cost of your Gorilla permit activity costs, accommodation fees, using a tour operator, park entrance, meals, tips, number of days to spend during the tour, among others.
However, the cost of your safari at Kahuzi Biega National Park will range between about $ 600 to $ 4000 or more depending on the above factors.
These factors applied for determining the cost of visiting the Lowland Gorillas at Kahuzi Biega NP are also important for determining the cost of your safaris to other destinations like Virunga NP to watch the Mountain Gorillas.
Best Time to Visit Kahuzi Biega National Park
Since visiting Kahuzi Biega National Park can be fruitful all year round, a traveler can choose any season of the year depending on the experiences that they would like to have.
The dry season (June to September and January to February) usually makes the tracks drier and easier for Gorilla trekking, making activities less challenging.
However, the rainy season (October to November and mid-March to May) is also great, especially for Gorilla trekking in both Kahuzi Biega National Park and Virunga National Park. This is because this season comes with abundant fruits for the Lowland Gorillas/Grauer’s Gorilla, thus making them easily found as they will not move too far distances.
Apart from visiting the Lowland Gorillas, these seasons are also applicable for visiting the Mountain Gorillas in Virunga.
Best Tour Companies for Your Safaris in Kahuzi Biega National Park
Below are the recommended tour operators that you can use for your Gorilla trekking adventures in Kahuzi Biega National Park and other adventures like trekking Mountain Gorillas in Virunga NP, also one of the World Heritage sites.
a. Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd
b. Wild Gorilla Safaris
c. Africa Safaris Tours
d. Congo Gorilla Safaris Tours
Frequently Asked Questions About Kahuzi Biega National Park
1. What is Kahuzi Biega National Park Known For?
Kahuzi Biega National Park is famous for protecting the last surviving Eastern Lowland Gorillas in its forests. The Eastern Lowland Gorillas of Kahuzi Biega are one of the most threatened species of the world, thus one of the places you should not miss for your Gorilla trekking experiences.
2. Why is Kahuzi Biega National Park a top Attraction? | Why is Kahuzi Biega National Park a Tourist Attraction?
Kahuzi Biega National Park is a top attraction because of its large diversity of mammal species compared to the protected areas in the Albertine Rift.
The diverse and abundant fauna of the park also holds a large biodiversity of some of the most endangered and endemic wildlife in the world for example the Eastern Lowland Gorillas and the Red Face Chimpanzees.
3. Why is Kahuzi Biega National Park in Danger?
Due to the political instabilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the conservation measures that hurt former inhabitants of the forest, many of the local population have been displaced from the region and various mammal species have greatly declined in number.
This fact is thus a significant threat to the existence and effective conservation of the Lowland Gorillas or other animals and the people in the neighboring local communities for their peaceful coexistence.
However, the current management plan aims to rectify these issues to protect both the Eastern Lowland Gorillas and the local population. This in turn will promote the best Gorilla trekking experiences and community tours in and around the park.
4. What Animals are in Kahuzi Biega National Park?
The common mammal species in Kahuzi Biega National Park include
-The Eastern Lowland Gorillas,
- Faced Chimpanzees
-African Bush Elephant,
-Maclaud’s Horseshoe Bat,
-Mount Kahuzi Climbing Mouse,
-Albertine Owlet, etc.
5. How Can We Help the Eastern Lowland Gorillas?
We can help the Eastern Lowland Gorillas by supporting protected areas in which they stay away from environmental degradation.
Additionally, the management plan should aim at international marketing and promoting tourism of these lowland Gorillas to help collect money for conserving these Eastern Lowland Gorilla subspecies.
By conserving Lowland Gorillas, we also contribute to the effective conservation of other animals in this habitat for example the African Bush Elephant, Bush Buffalo, etc
The Wildlife Conservation Society is implementing important measures to protect these wildlife species for more enjoyable Gorilla trekking and game-viewing adventures.
Top Safari Packages to Kahuzi Biega National Park
a. 7 Days Congo Safari-Mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorilla Trekking in Congo
b. 6 Days Congo Safari - Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Virunga National Park and Eastern Lowland Gorilla Tracking in Kahuzi Biega National Park
c. 5 Days Safari in Congo - Gorilla trekking (Mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas in the DR Congo) & Nyiragongo Volcano Hike/ Climbing Trip
d. 3 Days Lowland Gorilla Trekking in Congo Safari - Kahuzi Biega National Park
Visiting Kahuzi Biega National Park is thus a great experience and one that every tourist should look forward to having. This experience will allow you to visit one of the richest wildlife destinations in Africa, and the only place in the world to watch the Eastern Lowland Gorillas, among other experiences like visiting Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park, birding, hiking, camping, vising local communities, etc.
By inquiring and booking with Prime Safaris and Tours, you are guaranteed a true African Gorilla trekking experience to meet the lowland Gorillas in this park and explore neighboring protected areas.
Let us help plan your trip today!