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Are you a photographer or filmmaker and you are interested in Silverback Gorilla Photography in DR Congo, photographing silverback gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a remarkable and unique experience, as the DRC is home to some of the last remaining wild populations of Mountain and Eastern Lowland Gorilla species. However, it’s essential to approach this opportunity with great care and respect for the gorillas and their natural habitat. Here are some steps and tips for Silverback Gorilla Photography in DR Congo:
- Obtain Necessary Permits:
- You’ll need to obtain permits and permissions to visit and photograph gorillas in the DRC. This usually involves securing a gorilla trekking permit from the appropriate national park or conservation authority. Ensure you meet all the requirements and obtain the necessary approvals in advance.
- Hire a Local Guide:
- Local guides are essential for your safety and the well-being of the gorillas. They are knowledgeable about the gorillas’ behavior and can help you find them while minimizing disturbances.
- Use Appropriate Equipment:
- Use a good quality camera and lens for wildlife photography. A telephoto lens with a long focal length (200mm or more) is highly recommended for capturing gorillas from a safe distance without disturbing them.
- Respect Wildlife and Environment:
- Gorillas are wild animals, and it’s crucial to respect their space and behavior. Keep a safe distance from them to avoid causing stress or aggression. Follow your guide’s instructions closely.
- Stay Quiet and Calm:
- Gorillas are sensitive to noise and sudden movements. Keep your voice down and avoid loud noises or sudden gestures. Speak softly when communicating with your fellow photographers.
- Observe Ethical Photography Practices:
- Avoid using flash photography, as it can disturb the gorillas. Capture natural and candid moments without interfering with their daily activities.
- Be Patient:
- Gorillas may not always be visible, and their movements can be unpredictable. Be prepared for extended periods of waiting and observing.
- Stay Healthy:
- Gorillas are susceptible to human diseases, and even minor illnesses can be deadly to them. If you are unwell, postpone your visit to protect the gorillas.
- Follow Park Regulations:
- Familiarize yourself with all the rules and regulations of the national park or reserve you are visiting. This includes guidelines on group size, visitation hours, and other specific rules to protect the gorillas and their habitat.
- Support Conservation Efforts:
- Consider donating to or supporting organizations that work towards the conservation of gorillas and their habitats. Your visit fees often contribute to these efforts.
Remember that the primary goal of gorilla trekking and Silverback Gorilla Photography in DR Congo is to contribute to their conservation and raise awareness about these endangered animals. It’s essential to prioritize their well-being and the preservation of their natural environment over capturing the perfect photograph.
A gorilla permit in Virunga National Park costs $400 per person per trek for the high season months of Mid-December to mid-march then June to October and then $200 for the low season months of mid-march to mid-May and then mid-October to mid-December every year. A gorilla permit in Kahuzi Beiga National Park costs $400 for foreign non residents, $200 for East Africa Residents and $20 national resident. Getting gorilla permits in Congo can be done directly by booking them through Virunga National Park or through a trusted tour operator like Eco Adventure Safaris.
Safe places for Silverback Gorilla Photography in DR Congo include Virunga National Park for mountain gorilla trekking or Kahuzi Beiga National Park for Low Land Gorilla trekking.
About Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is one of the most diverse tropical rain forest and oldest national park in Africa mostly famous for mountain gorilla trekking in DR Congo, among other activities done here include Nyirangongo volcano hike, bird watching, Nature walks, Chimpanzee tracking and Habituation. It should be noted that there three countries that have mountain gorillas in the whole world. These countries include Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Rwanda mountain gorillas are found in Volcanoes National Park, Uganda gorillas are found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park while Congo mountain gorillas are located in Virunga National Park. All these national park are close to each other in what is termed as the virunga massif.
About Kahuzi Beiga National Park
Kahuzi Beiga National Park was created in 1970 and the first Lowland Gorilla trekking was done in 1973, when it come to Lowland gorilla trekking it ranks high, it was gazzeted to conserve the Grauer’s gorilla species the world’s largest gorilla species. The Eastern Lowland gorillas also known as Grauer’s gorillas is the largest of the largest of the four gorilla subspecies, trekking Eastern Lowland gorillas is done in Kahuzi Biega National park located in Congo 30kms from Bukavu town the can be accessed by road and air. The park was gazetted in 1970 and the first lowland gorilla trekking 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 silver back, Chimanuka is famous for many visitors given it consist of one of the largest gorilla family in the world with over 36 gorilla individuals.
How much is gorilla trekking in DR Congo?
Gorilla trekking in DR Congo is done in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Beiga National Park, like gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, you will need a gorilla permit for you to be allowed to trek the lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park and Mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park. Eco Adventure Safaris provides relevant gorilla permit booking information for Congo to enable you plan your gorilla safari well. You don’t have to hassle booking your gorilla permit if you choose from our Congo gorilla tours. We will check for you availability of gorilla permits for your requested dates, book and purchase them for you once you have made payment and book all services on your behalf. Usually you have to obtain a gorilla permit several months in advance. We always advise at least 5 months in advance or prior to your visit given they are only 2 groups available for trek in Kahuzi Biega National park. While booking a gorilla tour, always pay your gorilla permit fee in advance to enable us acquire it for you.
Lowland Gorilla trekking permit price in Congo Kahuzi Biega National park are as follows;
East African Residents-USD200
National Citizens of Congo-USD20
Gorilla trekking is a daily activity done in Virunga National Park in Congo, a gorilla permit costs USD400 per person per trek for the high season months of Mid-December to mid-march then June to October and then USD200 for the low season months of mid-march to mid-May and then mid-October to mid-December every year. As Eco Adventure Safaris we do provide all-inclusive gorilla tour packages for all the visitors with no hidden costs. The most essential and priority cost is the gorilla permit price that you will incur to secure your trek in Virunga National Park. All our tour packages range from budget safaris to Luxury safaris and you can opt to do any as we tailor your trip together according to your interest. We do have Gorilla tour packages that start in Kigali for the DR Congo mountain gorilla safari from Kigali. For a 2day Trip from Kigali costs USD1100 per person in a group of two inclusive of Gorilla permits and as a budget option, transportation, accommodation, Meals, guide services are inclusive as well.
What is the best time to visit Congo for Gorilla Trekking?
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.
Why book Silverback Gorilla Photography in DR 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 Silverback Gorilla Photography in DR Congo.