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Are you planning a trip to DR Congo to visit the Gorillas and you would like to know the Difference between Gorilla trekking in Virunga and Kahuzi Biega National Park so that you decide which park to go for gorilla trekking? In this article we explain in details, Gorilla trekking in DR Congo is a popular activity in both Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park, both located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Difference between Gorilla trekking in Virunga and Kahuzi Biega National Park:
- Gorilla Species:
- Virunga National Park is home to the critically endangered mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei). These gorillas are known for their high-altitude habitat and can only be found in a few locations in Central Africa.
- Kahuzi-Biega National Park, on the other hand, is home to the eastern lowland gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri), which are a different subspecies of gorillas compared to the mountain gorillas found in Virunga.
- Terrain and Altitude:
- Virunga National Park is situated in the Virunga Mountains, a volcanic mountain range. Gorilla trekking here involves hiking at higher altitudes, often in rugged terrain. Treks can be physically demanding due to the mountainous landscape.
- Kahuzi-Biega National Park is located in a lowland rainforest, so the trekking terrain is generally less strenuous compared to the mountainous environment of Virunga.
- Group Size and Cost:
- In Virunga, the group size for gorilla treks is usually smaller, with a limit on the number of visitors allowed to visit each gorilla group. This can lead to a more intimate and personalized experience but may also require booking well in advance and paying higher permit fees.
- In Kahuzi-Biega, larger group sizes are often permitted, and permits may be more readily available. This can make it a more affordable option for travelers who may have difficulty securing permits in Virunga.
- Virunga National Park is relatively more accessible, with established infrastructure and a history of gorilla tourism.
- Kahuzi-Biega National Park, while accessible, may have less developed tourism infrastructure, and transportation to the park can sometimes be more challenging.
- Cultural and Ecological Diversity:
- Kahuzi-Biega National Park offers not only the opportunity to see eastern lowland gorillas but also to explore a diverse lowland rainforest ecosystem. Additionally, the park is known for its cultural heritage, including the Bashi people and their traditions.
- Virunga National Park provides a unique opportunity to explore the volcanic landscapes and diverse wildlife of the Virunga Mountains.
In summary, the choice between gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park depends on your preferences, budget, physical fitness, and the specific gorilla species you wish to encounter. Both experiences offer the chance to see gorillas in their natural habitat but offer different environments and characteristics. Regardless of your choice, gorilla trekking in the DRC is a rewarding and unforgettable experience. Make sure to research current conditions and permit availability before planning your trip, as circumstances can change over time.
What is the best time to visit Congo?
Congo is located in the tropics and with this it experiences tropical climate and weather throughout the year, both Virunga and Kahuzi Beiga National Parks experience the same weather, with this both national Parks are prone to receiving uncertain rains any time of the day or week, good months to visit Congo for gorilla trekking are dry season months which occurs in the months of December, January, February, June, July, August and September during these months it always easy to walk through the trails which are drier compared to the wet months then as well the vegetations is not fully grown and this makes sighting of gorillas easy and more clear. Other months which are slightly wet that is March, April, May, October and November most travelers avoid visiting gorillas during these months because the vegetation is fully grown and trails are much slippery making the trekking much harder.
For tourists interested in visiting Congo for gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park have a special gorilla trekking offer during the wet season that is low season, during this time the gorilla permit costs USD200 per person per trek during the months from Mid-March to May and Mid-October to Mid-December (15th March to 15th May and 15th October to 15th December every year).
Where to stay in Congo for Gorilla trekking
Accommodations in Virunga National Park. This ranges from budget, mid-range to luxury. Budget options include Bukima Tented Camp and Kibumba Tented Camp among others fares range from 90-100 dollars a night per person, mid-range options include Tchegera Island Camp and Lulimbi Tented Camp among others fares range from 100-200 dollars a night per person and then Luxury options include Mikeno Lodge fares range from 200-400 dollars a night per person. You let us know the best option that works for you and we will for availability and book you according.
Accommodation in Kahuzi Beiga National Park. This ranges from budget, mid-range to luxury. Budget options include Hotel Begonias Bukavu, Exodus bukavu, Lake Side Hotel Bukavu among others fares range from 90-100 dollars a night per person, mid-range options include Coco Lodge Bukavu among others fares range from 100-200 dollars a night per person and then Luxury options include L’Orchids Safari Club fares range from 200-400 dollars a night per person. You let us know the best option that works for you and we will for availability and book you according.
How to access Congo for gorilla trekking?
Gorilla trekking in Congo is done in Kahuzi Beiga National Park and Virunga National Park which are both located in the Eastern Part of Congo. You will fly to Kigali International Airport then connect to Gisenyi town; from Gisenyi town you will cross the Rwanda-Congo boarder to Goma town in DR Congo then drive towards the park headquarters of Kahuzi Beiga National Park and Virunga National Park from where you will do start the gorilla trek from, it is approximately a 2 hours drive from Gisenyi town to reach the park headquarters.
Visiting Congo Through Eco Adventure Safaris
Eco Adventure Safaris is experienced in organizing amazing gorilla safari experiences to Uganda and Rwanda. We are also highly rated and reviewed on trip Advisor. We combine gorilla trekking safaris with eco-friendly and unforgettable high-end adventure and wildlife safaris that help preserve biodiversity, conserve wildlife and uplift local communities, these include chimpanzee trekking, Big 5 safaris and game viewing, Mountain Hiking, Boat cruises excursions and Cultural encounters to give you a memorable and best African Safari experience including popular and great African safari destinations Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia. Feel free to contact us about the Difference between Gorilla trekking in Virunga and Kahuzi Biega National Park.