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For those planning to trek mountain gorillas in DR Congo, the following information on how to prepare for gorilla trekking in Congo will help you plan and prepare for a great gorilla trekking safari. For Congo Gorilla trekking, the Virunga National Park has 10 Gorilla families habituated. They are the only gorillas available for tracking and tourism purposes. However, due to instabilities in the area, the approximate number of gorillas is not quite known but the last census estimated them to be over 100 with about 7 newborns.
Best time to visit Congo for Gorilla Trekking
How to prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Congo. The best time to visit Congo for gorilla trekking is in May, June, July, August, and September every year. Congo has an equatorial climate with two rainy seasons which occur from March to April with a short rainy season and between October to December with a long rainy season, and the country has two dry seasons the long dry season from May to September and the shorter dry season between January and February. The best time to visit Congo is during the dry season. This is true because when it is raining, it becomes hard to drive through the parks for wildlife viewing because of the heavy rains that make the trails too slippery.
What is gorilla trekking in Congo?
Gorilla trekking in Congo is an activity that involves walking through the forest following a given trail to search and find the habituated mountain gorillas, once you find them in their natural habitat you will spend with them one-hour encounter having an opportunity to take photographs, learn more about their habits and behaviors. Uganda is home to more than 50% of the total number of the only remaining mountain gorillas in the world. Given the fact mountain gorillas don’t survive in zoos for you to see these unique apes you will need to trek into their natural habitats to have an encounter with them.
Where to see mountain gorillas in Congo, Uganda or Rwanda?
In Congo Mountain Gorillas are found in Virunga National Park and Lowland Gorillas are found in Kahuzi Beiga National Park. Mountain gorillas in Uganda are only found in two national parks is Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park whereas in Rwanda these are only found in Volcanoes National Park
Congo is home to over 20 National Parks where you can do a safari, many travelers prefer visiting Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Beiga National Park. Visiting both parks will give you an opportunity to see gorillas in Congo that is both Mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas.
Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is one of the most diverse tropical rain forests and oldest national parks in Africa mostly famous for mountain gorilla trekking in Congo, among other activities that can be done here during your birthday include Nyiragongo volcano hike, bird watching, Nature walks, Chimpanzee tracking and Habituation and these can all be booked for you by contacting us here.
Kahuzi Beiga National Park
Kahuzi Beiga National Park is best known for lowland gorilla trekking, it was gazetted in 1970 and the first lowland gorilla trekking experience was done in 1973, this type of trekking is only done here and this makes the park rank high when it comes to the lowland gorilla trekking. The Park has 12 gorilla families and out of these only 2 gorilla families are habituated and they are open for visitors to trek. The families are called Chimanuka and Mugaruka both named after a dominant silverback, Chimanuka is famous for many visitors given it consist of one of the largest gorilla family in the world with over 36 gorilla individuals.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in the southwestern part of Uganda bordering the districts of Kanungu, Rubanda and Kisoro, the park also borders the Uganda-DR Congo border. It is home to 19 habituated gorilla families open for gorilla trekking which are found in the four main gates/ sections that is Ruhija and Buhoma in the north, Rushaga and Nkuringo in the south.
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is located in the far southwestern part of Uganda in Kisoro district; it shares the border with Rwanda and DR Congo. Mgahinga is one of the 3 main national parks located in the virunga ranges other two national parks include Volcanoes National Park found in Rwanda and Virunga National Park found in DR Congo. Mghainga is home to 2 gorilla families which include Nyakagezi and Hirwa, however the trekking in mainly done in the Nyakagezi gorilla family given the fact Hirwa is unstable and hard to find.
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda is located in northwestern Rwanda, it is home to Mountain Gorillas and five of the eight Volcano mountains found in the Virunga ranges. These include Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Gahinga, Bisoke and Muhabura. Volcanoes National Park is one of the 3 main national parks located in the virunga ranges other two national parks include Volcanoes National Park found in Rwanda and Virunga National Park found in DR Congo. It home to about 380 mountain gorillas and 10 habituated gorilla families open for gorilla trekking
What is the cost to see Gorillas in Congo?
How to prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Congo. The cost to see gorillas in Congo is determined by the style of travel you are interested in that is budget, standard or luxury. Gorilla permits are the most essential when you are planning to see gorillas in DR Congo. Compared to other national parks for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda that is Bwindi and Mgahinga and Volcanoes National Parks respectively gorilla trekking in Congo is much cheaper and affordable. Virunga National Park offers both normal and discounted gorilla permits for trekking mountain gorillas in Congo.
It is during the high season or peak season of the months December, January, February, June, July, August, September and early October that the gorilla permit of Virunga National Park costs 400 USD per person per trek, these months the park receives many visitors because it is holiday season for many travelers and it is as well a dry season which makes it easy for the gorilla trek and walks through the trails in the Virunga forest.
With this if you plan to visit Congo for gorilla trekking during these months we do advise you book your trek in advance atleast 3 months early so that you don’t miss out on the gorilla permits. Then for the discounted gorilla permits trekking in Congo Virunga National park these are offered during the off-season months of early March, April and May then early October, November and early December annually at 200 USD per person per trek and this offer runs from 15th of March to 15th of May and then from 15th of October and 15th of December, the advance booking of the discounted permits is same to the normal permits and we do advice you book your spot in advance at least 3 months before the trekking date.
Our Congo tours and wildlife safaris are tailor-made and well-crafted to entirely suit your needs and budget. All our Safari packages are all-inclusive of best affordable accommodation properties, 4×4 customized Safari vehicles with pop-up roof for your comfort travel and amazing wildlife viewing on your holiday as well as services of a well experienced driver guide, these as well can be customized to match your interests.
How long does the gorilla trekking take in Congo?
Gorilla trekking in Congo takes about 3 to 7 hours, the time you take to finish your trek is determined by the nature of the trek that day that is where the gorillas are at that moment, their movements and weather that day some time the trek can take you a full day to see the gorillas. Gorilla trekking starts at 7:45am with briefing about the does and don’ts whilst in the forest with gorillas, after the briefing, you are allocated a ranger guide to take you for the trekking in the forest once you find the gorillas you will spend with them 1-hour encounter.
How many people are allowed to visit gorillas in Congo per day?
Gorilla trekking in Congo, only 8 people are allowed to trek each gorilla family this is one of the set precautions to minimize the behavior disturbance of the mountain gorillas as well the risk of spreading various diseases to the gorillas.
What is a Congo gorilla trekking permit?
A Congo gorilla trekking permit is a document or card issued to any visitor interested in trekking mountain gorillas in either Uganda or Rwanda. This gives you a one-hour encounter with the mountain gorillas and is only valid for one day. That is for you to trek mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda for more than one day you will need to purchase more than a gorilla permit. A gorilla permit comes along with a special booking number which determines the validity of the permit specific to a given trekking region.
What is included in a Congo Gorilla Permit
A Gorilla trekking permit in Congo allows to see the gorillas for only one-hour encounter in Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Beiga National Park depending on where you choose to do ypur trek. A gorilla trekking permit includes park entrance fees, park ranger guides and a percentage fee which goes direct to support conservation of the habitats of the mountain gorillas.
Where can I purchase a gorilla permit in Congo?
Gorilla trekking permits in Congo can be directly purchased through Virunga National Park or through a trusted tour operator in Congo like Eco Adventure Safaris. For you to book through a trustworthy tour operator you will need to look at his trip advisor reviews then send an email with your planned dates of trekking, then they will go ahead and check for availability and once they confirm permits are available they will get back to you and then make payment with them after they will purchase for you the permit accordingly.
Can an elderly or a disabled person do gorilla trekking in Congo?
Yes it is possible for an elderly or a disabled person o trek gorillas in Congo, gorilla trekking for elders is now made possible especially through provision of sedan chair carriers, these chairs are used to carry those who feel unfit and are unable to walk into the forest at the time of their trek, you will be carried by potters to and from the forest during your trek, hiring the sedan chair can done in advance or at the day of the trek and price ranges from 400-500 dollars.
What is the minimum and maximum age for gorilla trekking in Congo?
The minimum age limit for Gorilla Trekking in Congo is 15 years and the maximum age depends on your fitness levels. Children below 15 years are prohibited from gorilla trekking given the fact children behavior is unpredictable and uncontrollable which may result in disturbances during the trek, then as well children are prone to diseases which they can acquire from the gorillas.
What is the best time for trekking mountain gorillas in Congo?
How to prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Congo, Gorilla trekking in Congo is possible throughout the year, the best time to do a gorilla trekking is during the January, February, March, early April and June to early September, this is makes it easier to travel to the park and gives a clear view of gorillas given the vegetation cover is not too much high grown. During this time there are less rains compared to the months of Aprils, May and November. Which normally receive rains and it makes the trek uncomfortable.
What to pack and wear for gorilla trekking in Congo
During gorilla trekking in Congo, you will need a comfortable, hard wearing, pair of walking shoes or boots. Conditions are generally very muddy in the forest when it is raining. There are uphill sections which may be quite steep and strenuous. It is also advisable to wear a long sleeve cotton shirt and lightweight long trousers to protect yourself from the undergrowth, stinging nettles and biting ants. Suggested Items to pack for Gorilla trekking in Congo include; Insect Repellent, Torch/Flashlight – and Spare Batteries, Wet Wipes, Water Bottle, Camera, lenses, Gardening gloves for gorilla tracking, Sandals/strops/walking shoes, Hat and Sunscreen, Rain Jacket, Sweater/fleece, Comfortable walking/hiking boots & socks, Swimwear and Binoculars for bird watching among others
Why book with Eco Adventure Safaris your Gorilla Trek in Congo?
At Eco Adventure Safaris our aim is to provide personalized service with the utmost dedication to the safety and enjoyment of our clients during their birding trips, we have discounted and affordable packages for our clients. We are committed to the well-being of our staff and guests as well as to having a positive impact on the communities and wild places that our operations reach. On all our operations and safaris, we embrace the environmental ethic “Take Nothing but Photographs, Leave Only Footprints“. Contact us here for Bird watching Safari packages in Congo and our dedicated safari consultants will help you plan your safari smoothly. How to prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Congo