Does Congo offer gorilla habituation experience? Gorilla habituation is when a group of gorillas is trained in about 2-3 years to get used to humans.
This experience, therefore, as an exercise gives a chance to researchers to spend time with a gorilla family until they are familiar with them. Furthermore, this gorilla habituation experience takes about four hours. .
During training, the researchers keep visiting the apes and conduct monk exercises of about 8 months to see how the apes cope up with human beings. Once this is successful, the gorillas are set for gorilla trekking. Gorilla habituation experience gives a chance to only four people including researchers to spend four hours in the presence of the gorillas. Conversely, gorilla trekking gives 8 people a chance to see the gorillas for one hour.
Unfortunately, Congo has no gorilla habituation experience because all the gorillas in Congo are already habituated. Gorilla trekking in Congo takes place in Virunga national park for those who wish to see Mountain gorillas. On the other hand, those who wish to see lowland gorillas, can go to Kahuzi Beiga National park. Also, those who want to take part in the gorilla habituation experience, should make a safari to Uganda with us.
Virunga national park
Virunga national park is one of the most diverse tropical rain forest ( the African amazon) and Africa’s oldest forest famous for mountain gorilla trekking. For those who have interest in gorilla trekking, DRC is one of the only three countries with the world’s remaining Mountain gorilla species.
Gorilla trekking in Congo is done in Virunga national park which has 6 gorilla families open for gorilla trekking: Bageni gorilla group, Nyakamwe gorilla group, Munyaga gorilla group, Lulengo gorilla group, Mapuwa gorilla group, Rugendo gorilla group and Humba gorilla group.
The park is located in the Virunga massif which is comprised of Volcanoes national park of Rwanda, Virunga national park of DRC, Bwindi Impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park of Uganda. The term came about when all these parks were closely located in the Virunga Mountains.
Kahuzi Beiga national park
This park is one of the old parks opened in 1970 with high ranks when it comes to conserving the Grauer’s gorilla species, the Eastern lowland gorillas. The park is located 30kms from Bukavu town and has one of the four gorilla species in the world. These were considered critically endangered species because they haven’t been protected and conserved. There are about 100000 that exist in the world where this park has 2 gorilla habituated families and 10 gorilla families that are not habituated. These two gorilla families are Chimanuka the famous group and Muguruza gorilla family.
There are a number of different activities that can be done in the parks besides gorilla trekking like;
• Lowland gorilla trekking
These are other beautiful creatures that can be seen in Kahuzi Beiga national park of Congo. The apes are slightly different from the mountain gorillas in Virunga national park. A number of tourist get to trek in both the parks and compare the two kinds of gorillas and the experience. Since the park has just 2 gorilla families, the permits are few in number therefore, you are asked to book your permits on time.
• Nyirangongo volcano hike
This is one of the most interesting activity that a number of tourists have embarked into after gorilla trekking. The life time adventure is an unforgettable experience where tourists get to hike an active volcano. Mount Nyirangongo is one of the active volcanoes that still exist in the world. More to that, it has an elevation of 3470m and has erupted at least 34 times since 1882. The volcano can be seen on your gorilla trekking safari in DRC and so are other volcanoes in Congo.
• Chimpanzee tracking and habituation
This is the second most popular activity in Virunga national park. You can see these in the forest where tracking takes place. While there, you get to watch the different feeding and food gathering habits and their natural behaviors in their natural habitat. Additionally, chimpanzee tracking takes one hour. On the other hand, chimpanzee habituation takes a whole day to the tourists to watch the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. You will also need to book chimpanzee trekking permits for this kind of activity in Congo.
• Bird watching
The park is one of the most old and dense forests, there are a number of bird species that inhabit the forest, swamps, river and the grass lands. About 706 bird species are available for watching in the forest, all you need is a guide, a pair of binoculars and book guide to enjoy your safari. This in other wards gives you a vast place to watch and spot different birds making this bird expedition a beautiful activity to engage in while on your safari.
• Nature walks in Virunga national park of Congo
This park has a number of beautiful tree species. Long River has different dense vegetation and a unique land scape. You can see them on your nature through the dense forests. More to that, you will spot some beautiful butterflies and other species in the forest like mammals and reptiles.
Organizing for a gorilla trekking safari in DRC
As a company, Pamoja tours and travel provides all inclusive tour packages for all our clients, which packages depend on your budget and the activities to take place. You don’t have to do anything, let us cater for all your needs as we help you book and plan for all your trips.
You can opt for any tour package as we plan and organize your trip according to your own interest in both Virunga national park and Kahuzi Beiga national park. These inclusive packages include transportation, guide services, accommodation, meals, budget options and in some cases gorilla permits. Our vehicles are 4×4 safari vehicles giving you the comfort as you travel from one park to another. Contact us for more information about packages of gorilla trekking for Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
How much does it cost to see the gorillas?
Mountain gorillas in Virunga national park
Trekking as a daily activity needs prior planning and preparing, this can be easier when you book your gorilla trekking safari with Pamoja tours and travel company. We have different safari packages that can interest you, however, these exclude the trekking permits. Permit for mountain gorilla trekking in DRC for each tourist cost US400$ in the peak seasons which is in the months of January, February, June, July, August and September.
In the other months of the year; march, April, May, October, November and early December , the gorilla permits in DRC cost US200$ per person and this offer runs from 15th March to 15th May and then from 15th October to 15th December.
Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Beiga national park
With Pamoja tours and Travel Company, securing a permit for trekking the lowland gorillas can be so much easier. We also have exclusive and inclusive gorilla safari packages from which you can choose that of your interest. However, the fact that there are two gorilla groups that are available for trekking, you need to book for your permit earlier. Permit costs for lowland gorilla trekking in Congo for each tourist are US400$ for non-residents, US200$ for east African residents and US20$ for national citizens of Congo.
How to book for the permits
You can only go trekking for these magnificent species when you have a valid gorilla trekking permit which you can easily get through us. Trekking permits in DRC are a lot cheaper than any other gorilla national park in East Africa. This is because Congo is trying to promote its tourism sector for now. These need prior booking especially during the peak seasons when a lot of tourists flock the national parks for trekking.
Once you contact us with your confirmed dates of your safari, we shall check for availability of gorilla permits with Virunga national park Congo headquarters. In case the permits are available, we will book for your permits which you need to pay for and send your invoice for your permit payments. After paying for your permit, we will send you copies of your gorilla trekking permits (after scanning) and with these, you are ready for trekking.
When is the best time to visit DRC?
The parks are located in the tropics therefore, throughout the year, the parks are readily available for all your required activities including gorilla trekking. You should therefore expect rainfall at any time of the year. This implies that a tourist should always have waterproof boots, warm dull colored clothes, rain jacket, hat and sunscreen, insect repellants and a torch. These will save your from the cold in case it gets to rain abruptly. The drier months of the year are the best for trekking (December, January, February, June, July, August and September where the vegetation is not thick and the slopes are drier.
The months of March, April, May, October and November are rainy. However, they come with a special discount on the permits and accommodation. Unfortunately, the vegetation is much grown and it’s hard to make way through the thick vegetation.
When to book a safari?
Booking for any safari depends on your planned date of visiting the parks. Congo offers all year around gorilla trekking permits therefore, you can book any safari according to your budget and date. You can consider the different seasons of the year and their own merits i.e. the peak seasons are dry making it easier to trek but the wet seasons come with discounts on the permit and the accommodation. As Pamoja tours and Travel Company we can help you plan for your trip and book your safari.
How to access Congo for trekking?
You can access the two parks by air and road. Fly to Rwanda through Rwanda international airport and connect to Gisenyi which is along the border of Rwanda and Congo. From Gisenyi, connect to Goma in Congo where you get to connect to any of the parks which are in the east of DRC. It’s just a 2 hours’ drive from Gisenyi town to Virunga National park headquarters or Kahuzi Beiga National park of Congo.
Accommodation facilities in Congo
There are different accommodation facilities that are available for all travelers which range from budget to mid-range and luxury accommodation. With Pamoja tours and travel, we can arrange and help you book any lodge which you desire according to your budget and interest. You don’t have to lift a finger to do this, trust us.
Virunga national park
Budget accommodation; Bukima tented camp, Kibumba tented camp
Mid-range accommodation; Tchegera island camp and Lulimbi tented camp
Luxury options; Mikeno lodge.
Kahuzi Beiga national park
Budget accommodation; hotel begonias Bukavu, Exodus Bukavu, lake side hotel Bukavu
Midrange accommodation; Coco lodge Bukavu among others
Luxury accommodation; Orchids safari club.
Being one of the most reliable travel company, Pamoja tours and Travel Company has a full time working staff with professional members to handle your tours. Our safari packages are not only for Uganda but the whole of East Africa at large.
We operate under the guidelines of Uganda Wildlife Authority and with this covid-19 pandemic, we recognize the need for a safe and disease free environment. We therefore ensure social distance and all SOPs for a safe trip. Please contact us for any inquiries and information or visit our website for more information.
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