Gorilla trekking in Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo has very rich and diverse adventure and has always drawn the attention of adventure lovers from around the globe. From the Virunga mountain ranges , the marshy lands , the mountain and Eastern gorillas, to the peak of Nyiragongo. Congo is home to gorillas families(Virunga National Park & Kahuzi Biega National Park) and other primates. These places offer some of the best gorilla tracking experiences to its visitors.
This beautiful country is rightly famous for the presence of its Mountain Gorillas, Eastern Lowland Gorillas, Western low land Gorillas, among others. If you want to get up to close to some of these magnificent beasts in their natural habitat then where should you go and how should you do it?
Gorilla trekking in Congo takes place in Virunga national park, ( home to over 250 habituated mountain gorillas), Kahuzi Biega National park(Eastern lowland Gorillas),senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage, and Nouabale-Ndoki National Park(for Western lowland gorillas).
Congo is now a very safe destination to be visited by all nature enthusiasts, despite its past insecurities.
Mountain Gorillas Trekking
Mountain gorillas in Virunga have been the most prominent attraction in every travelers bucket list of adventures. Gorilla Trekking is a highlight of all visits done in Congo and certainly mountain gorillas is the major reason as to why very many people visit this destination.
Being the most famous activity in Virunga national park, Mountain Gorillas at Virunga is classified into 8 habituated families, all of which have been are exposed for tracking every year, with Kabirizi family as the highly tracked every year, because of the large number of gorillas(contains about three dozens of individual gorillas).
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking
Not only Mountain Gorillas are tracked in Democratic Republic of Congo, but also Eastern lowland gorillas. Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking, like Mountain gorillas is another form of gorilla trekking only done in gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Kahuzi Biega National Park, a tropical rain forest that is dominated by two outstanding extinct volcanoes of Kahuzi and Biega. The park is known to be the home of one of the last groups of Eastern Lowland Gorillas which contains of 250 individuals.
Western Lowland Gorilla Trekking
With variety of tree species and plants to be viewed, Nouabale Ndoki national park , among other parks in Democratic Republic of Congo contains other primates including the Western Lowland gorillas , Chimpanzees, Monkeys among others.
The group sizes of the western lowland gorillas varies from two to sixteen, with an average group size of 9.4 individuals. The females often transfer to other related groups before breeding, especially when they become adolescent at around eight years of age, and sometimes transfer several times during their life. The females do not always form bonds with other females, but create a strong bond with their children, and the silverback whose influence is to hold the group together. When a silverback dies, groups typically separate and females immigrate into new groups.
Gorilla Trekking Experience
While trekking gorillas, each group consisting of 8 members, is a signed a single group to track per day. The groups trekking on a particular day is briefed, before they set off for the day trekking activity which starts at 8:00am. The trekking period ranges between 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on the type of family , strength of the group, and the region where the gorilla group spent the previous night. Each group is assigned an hour to stay in the presence of the gorillas.
While trekking,, trekkers constantly look at the mountain gorillas with both fear and excitement. This is due to the fact that mountain gorillas are aggressive animals, and easily attack someone.
While on mountain gorilla treks in volcanoes national park in Rwanda, tourists constantly look at the mountain gorillas in their natural habitats with feelings of fear and excitement. They have a little fear because mountain gorillas are dangerous and strong animals that when disturbed could easily attack someone. However fear does not last long as the continuous looking in the eyes of the mountain gorillas and the young mountain gorillas playing is very exciting and offers exclusive experiences that cannot be experienced anywhere on the planet.
Cost of Gorilla Permits.
The Congo Gorilla permits costs $400 per head, per day. The Congolese citizens are subjected to paying $200(half the foreigner’s price).Trekking Gorillas is the dream of trekkers, until they realize the price that has to be paid monetarily, physically and mentally. Everyone can afford the gorilla trekking permits.
Just like any other gorilla trek, in either Uganda or Rwanda, the gorilla trekking permit is a must have, for it is the genuine identity to accessing the gorillas. The permits are proved to be the cheapest compared to Uganda gorilla permits (currently at $600, but change has been made that the gorilla permits be issued at a total price of $750 ), and Rwanda permits(currently at $1400).
Rules and Regulations
Perhaps you keep asking yourself questions, about the do’s and don’ts, when it comes to gorilla trekking. Definitely you will have to follow some rules and regulation, when trekking gorilas. Including
The maximum number of trekkers per day, for per gorilla group amounts to 8 personels.
The recommended age for trackers must range from the age of 15 and more, while the elderly are always urged to carry along porters who will help them carry their luggage.
Thoroughly wash your hands before getting close or touching the gorillas, since they are very susceptible to human illnesses
Don’t litter the forest park with garbage during trekking and endeavor to carry the trash in your bags.
Always Keep a distance of about 7 meters away at all times from the gorillas. The further you are from them, the more relaxed they are and hence the best experience with them.
Always remain in the company of your group members, to avoid inconveniences
Do not eat or smoke while with the gorillas.
The maximum time spent in the presence of the gorillas is strictly an hour for every group.