Gorilla Trekking in Congo
Gorilla trekking in Congo is an activity that takes travelers into the rainforest jungles of the Congo, to encounter the gorillas in their natural habitat. Gorilla trekking in Congo is one of the best and most sought after tourist activity in the Congo, booked by most travellers who go on Congo safari tours. Whereas the Democratic Republic of Congo is a great and diverse Central African country with a lot to offer to travellers including great and amazing attractions mong others the Nyiragongo Mountain which just erupted yet again early in the year, gorilla trekking in Congo is the most sought after, with more and more travellers choosing to visit the gorillas in Congo.
The Congo is one of the few African countries with gorillas, with three taxa of gorillas. The two most visited taxa of gorillas in Congo are the endangered mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas. the mountain gorillas can only be found in the Virunga Massifs which encompasses the Virunga National Park of the Congo, Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda; as well as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda which hosts over half the total world population of the mountain gorillas. In the Congo, mountain gorillas can be found in Virunga National Park, while the eastern lowland gorillas in Congo can be found in most especially Kahuzi Biega National Park as well as other national parks in Congo.
the following are the national parks of Congo which host the three taxa that re hosted in the country say mountain gorillas, western lowland gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas.;
Virunga National Park
Gorilla trekking in Congo takes travellers to Virunga National Park to encounter the mountain gorillas which in the Congo can only be found in Virunga National Park. Virunga National Park is the most visited national park in Congo, especially for gorilla trekking safaris to see the endangered mountain gorillas. Virunga National Park has about 250 gorilla individuals, with about only 8 habituated gorilla families that travellers can encounter with gorilla trekking safaris. Asides the gorillas in Virunga National Park, the Nyiragongo mountain is a great addition to one’s gorilla trekking in Congo safari in Virunga National Park, to see the largest lava lake in the world at the summit of the Nyiragongo.
Kahuzi Biega National Park
Kahuzi Biega National Park is another commonly visited gorilla destination of the Congo. Kahuzi Biega National Park inhabits the eastern lowland gorillas, and allows encountering them on gorilla trekking safaris all throughout the year.
Maiko National Park
The eastern lowland gorillas of Congo can also be found in Maiko National Park, located in the remote forests of the Congo. Asides the eastern lowland gorillas, endemic animal species like the Congo peafowl can also be spotted in Maiko National Park of Congo.
Ntokou Pikounda and Noubale Ndoki National Parks
Western lowland gorillas can be found in both Ntokou Pikounda National Park and Ndoki National Park inhabit western lowland gorillas, with the highest number of western lowland gorillas in Ntokou Pikounda National Park.
A gorilla trekking in Congo experiences typically involves travellers waking up early in the morning and being transferred to the starting point of your gorilla trek. Here, you shall be briefed about what you should expect during your gorilla trekking adventure, as well as rules and guidelines you should follow during your gorilla trekking activity. After, you shall be placed in groups of 8 and then allocated gorilla families to trek. When gorilla trekking in the jungles, travellers are advised to look out for other wildlife in the park like elephants, chimpanzees, among others as well as a number of bird species and plant life. Once you encounter the gorillas, you are allowed only one hour with the gorillas, watching them do different activities like feeding, grooming each other, breast feeding should you visit a gorilla family with an infant, among so many other things you may find them doing, including building nests. After, you shall trek back to the starting pint of your gorilla trekking in Congo activity.
While in the rainforests which inhabit the gorillas, travellers have a number of rules and regulations that they are obligated to follow and they include among others;
- Persons below 15 years are not allowed to take part in gorilla trekking in Congo
- Tourists with illnesses, especially contagious illnesses like flue and cough should not visit the gorillas. This is because gorillas are very susceptible to human infections.
- Maintain a 7 meter distance away from the gorillas at all times
- Avoid direct eye contact with the gorillas. Direct eye contact is a threat to gorillas and can thus charge at you when they feel threatened.
- Keep within your group at all times; during gorilla trekking as well as when you do encounter the gorillas.
- Keep calm and follow all your guide’s instructions when a gorilla charges at you. Do not be tempted to run; instead stand still with your head bowed down and gaze low.
- Do not touch the gorillas
- Do not eat or drink near the gorillas. Eating should be done at least 200m away from the gorillas.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not use flash cameras when photographing the gorillas.
- Do not throw rubbish in the park while gorilla trekking. Keep all your rubbish including food wraps with you until you get to a point with a rubbish bin.
To be able to do gorilla trekking in Congo, travellers need to purchase gorilla trekking permits which cost only $400 per person per trek. Asides a gorilla trekking permit, travellers also need to have a valid visa and a yellow fever vaccination card to be allowed entry into the Congo.
Booked your gorilla trekking in Congo safari and wondering on what to pack for gorilla trekking? Good hiking shoes with a grip, long sleeved shirts and long trousers, waterproof jacket, garden gloves, waterproof backpack for your gadgets, as well as energy giving snacks and insect repellent creams should be carried to make your gorilla trekking in Congo activity much easier.
When to go for gorilla trekking in Congo
Gorilla trekking in Congo is available all throughout the year. Gorilla trekking in Congo is however best done during the dry season which falls in the months of June to October and mid-December to February, when the roads are dry and thus easily passable and the vegetation is not so over grown thus making gorilla viewing and photography easy enough. It is however important to note that rains fall at any time of the year in the rainforests that inhabit the gorillas in Congo. Carrying warm clothing as well as using 4WD vehicles should be considered. The wet season is however a great time to visit for gorilla trekking in Congo especially for budget travellers because of availability of discounted gorilla permits and sometimes accommodation.
While gorilla trekking in Congo, there are a number of accommodation you can choose to stay in both inside the park and outside. In Virunga National Park, Bukima Tented Camp and Mikeno Lodge are the most opted for by travellers who do visit the park.
Whereas gorilla trekking in Congo is the most sought after tourist activity in the Congo, there are a number of activities that travellers can take part in like chimpanzee tracking, hiking Mount Nyiragongo, volcano climbing, birding safaris, nature walks, among so many others, including wildlife safaris as well as beach holidays in Tchegera Island which is a perfect way to relax after a gorilla trekking in Congo activity. Some travellers can choose to have gorilla trekking in Congo as a climax activity after their wildlife safaris in Tanzania, Kenya wildlife safaris, as well as Uganda wildlife safari tours. Get in touch with a reputable tour operator to help you put together an amazing gorilla trekking in Congo safari for an opportunity to see the gorillas in their natural habitat, and beyond.