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A Glance through the life of a Lowland Gorilla to the Trekking Activity

Gorillas are the largest of the four-great species of the Apes; chimpanzees, Bonobos, and Orangutans. Gorillas are shy, rough with broad chests and shoulders, large human like hands, hairy bodies, hairy faces and small eyes. They are shy and different from monkeys because they are larger, have no tails, have bigger brains and walk upright for a long time. We are closely linked by DNA with the gorillas. They share 98.3% of the human genetic genes which makes them our closest cousins after the chimpanzees and Bonobos which have 98.8% human genes. These have attracted many tourists for Congo safaris just to encounter with the critically endangered gorillas.

The Eastern lowland Gorillas are the largest of the four species and have a more blackish coat. They are spotted in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo in Kahuzi Biega National Park Congo.

How do gorillas move?

Just like any other Ape, gorillas have arms longer than their legs and they have a tendency of walking on their four hind limbs at times. This kind of movement is known as knuckle walking.

What do Gorillas feed on?

Gorillas have flexible diets therefore can live in diversity of environments. Gorillas are herbivores. They eat roots, shoots, vines, pith and fruits. They rarely drink water because they feed on succulent vegetation which comprise of water as well as morning dew. However, some look for water sources and take water although rarely. During a Congo gorilla safari habituation, tourists have chance to watch the gorillas feed, and how they carry on their daily life in the wild.

How do Gorillas behave?

Gorillas display a lot more of humanlike emotions and behaviors. It has been observed that the gorillas laugh, grieve, have a strong family bond, make use of tools for survival in the forests where they reside. This behavior is what amazes tourists on Congo tours as they see humanlike behavior in animals.

Gorilla families live in groups of about 5-10 however they can even live in numbers bigger than that. Just like in a normal human family, the male is always the head. Silverbacks lead their families. They assume leadership and it lead their families for several years.

What are silverbacks?

Adult male gorillas are known as “Silverbacks” because of their silver colored hair on their backs and the hips. The young males are called blackbucks. The females have no special names so they are just called gorillas.

The silverback makes decisions especially where they sleep at night, feeding places, determines their moves. It does so because it must protect the family at all times, even if it costs its life just like human beings do. The silverback tends to be more aggressive, he beats its chest, and charges if he detects any threat. Silverbacks have the right to mate with anyone in the family.

Young males sometimes leave the groups as they become older to start their own lives and family as well as silverbacks heading a family.

When a silverback passes on, the gorilla family disperses to find other groups to join. Getting a group to join is a bit hard so sometimes they wait for a silverback to join them and maintain grooming the young ones.

How do Gorillas communicate?

Gorillas are so intelligent. They have taught themselves a subset of sign language. This helps them communicate with each other. They normally do a nose to nose greeting. Besides greeting, sounds they make may be classified as grunts, and barks. They use this type of communication especially when they are travelling. They scream, make signal alarms especially when warning, most often by silverbacks.

Where do Gorillas sleep?

At the end of the day, each gorilla constructs a nest of leaves and other plant materials in which they will sleep. Mothers normally share their nests with their small infants.

How do Gorillas reproduce?

Gorillas mate throughout the year. Their birth interval is about 4 years. A gorilla’s gestation is 8.5 months and normally give birth to one baby. The young one of a gorilla is called an infant. Just like humans, the gorilla infants are helpless at birth and weigh around 3-4 1bs. They gradually grow and learn how to crawl at about 2 months. Infant gorillas walk at about 8-9 months. Female gorillas nurse their gorillas until they are a round three years after which they are left to become independent.

Where to find lowland gorillas

Safari Congo to the superior Kahuzi Biega National Park and Virunga National Parks that host the unique species and encounter Congo gorilla trekking safaris for perfect memories, photography for remembrances with one of the cousins that all humans share.

What is gorilla trekking!!

Gorilla trekking is a very wonderful experience that gives opportunity to tourists to have a close encounter with these gentle giants of the jungle in their natural habitat.

The Gorilla trekking safari Congo activity involves following gorillas from where they slept last nights to where you will find them either feeding or making their nests for that day. Gorilla trekking is only done in East Africa; Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. At Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd we conduct gorilla trekking tours in Rwanda and Uganda and in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Before gorilla trekking

Before tourists start their Congo gorilla trekking tours, an advanced team of rangers sets off into the forest to find where the gorillas are. They normally start from where the gorillas slept last night following their footsteps until they find them. Rangers do this to make it easier for tourists to find them. Gorillas normally move long distance most especially if they are searching for food or water. Sometimes, if there is a fight between habituated and non-habituated gorillas, they will tend to move far and sometimes become hostile. The work of this advanced team is to establish the state in which these gorillas will be and then, they will communicate to the Park Head Quarters to tell them where the gorillas are. Because of this, chances of seeing gorillas is approximately 95%.

During your gorilla trekking safari congo

Most lodges provide packed lunch as booked, enough drinking water and walking sticks to facilitate your gorilla trek. By the help of your guide, tourists walk or are driven to the park headquarters for briefing about the do’s and don’ts while with the gorillas.

When at the Park headquarters, you will be divided into a group of eight people because the maximum number of people to trek a give gorilla family is eight. After dividing you into groups, a Guide takes you through the briefing session after which you are allowed to ask some questions. After briefing, tourists are driven to the starting point and off you will start your trek.

Gorilla trekking is fairly energetic so a certain level of fitness is always required because Congo Gorilla trekking safaris can take people 2 to 8 hours to find the gorillas. Once your trekking group finds these mountain gorillas, tourists will be allowed to spend one hour with them and then return to your lodge for relaxation as you prepare for other activities of the day or the next day.

Eastern Lowland Gorilla habituation in Kahuzi Biega National Park Congo

Just like the mountain gorillas found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Congo’s Virunga National Park, Eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park are not so different from them because they come from the same family. The only different between the two is the color and the environment they live in.  Mountain gorillas have a typical black fur body and live in mountainous/ hilly areas while the Lowland gorillas have a black and brown fur body and usually live-in lowland areas.

There are only two ways a tourist on a safari Uganda Rwanda Congo can enjoy & interact with these gorillas. Just undertake a gorilla trekking safari Uganda, a gorilla safari Rwanda and a gorilla tour in Congo where you will trek these gorillas together with the park rangers in their natural habitats for about 2-8hours, upon seeing them, you will be restricted to an hour with them, watch them cuddle, play, feed, build their nests and many more. After the one-hour interaction, you will retire form the activity and return to the starting point.

However, gorilla habituation is simply the act of training wild gorillas to become used to the sight of people.  Habituating them involves different groups of people like the conservationists, researchers, park rangers, trackers, among others who normally take a period of about 2 to 3 years complete this habituation experience. It is a learning experience that has just recently become a stable activity in these countries with gorillas. During this process, the people get to understand the gorillas deeper and individually, know their behaviors and even get to the point of naming every single one of them. In the end, if the researchers are certain that the wild gorillas are okay with the presence of people, a mock exercise is done as a way of testing to prove their facts. When the gorillas pass this kind of exercise which now includes journalists and scientists, the gorilla group is then available for trekking. The habituation experience restricts the number of people that do this activity per day, thus bookings for this kind of activity must be done 6 months prior to the actual habituation day.

Unlike Gorilla trekking that limits one’s interaction with the gorillas to only an hour, Gorilla Habituation allows interaction with the gorillas for several hours.

Want to visit Kahuzi-Biega?

Kahuzi-Biega National Park, is a secure area close to Bukavu town in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.