Home » Congo Safaris, Gorilla Trekking in Congo Safari Virunga National Park, Congo Tours
Congo Safaris, Gorilla Trekking in Congo Safari Virunga National Park, Congo Tours
Congo safaris/Gorilla trekking in Congo safari and Congo Gorilla safaris take you for Gorilla watching in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Among the East African safari destinations, trekking Gorillas in Congo safari tours offer the most fascinating experience worth exploring on your African safari. The Democratic Republic of Congo is blessed with a touch of tourism resources to make the Congo safari extraordinary.
When you come on a Congo Gorilla safari, you get the best opportunity to encounter the endangered Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park the oldest national park in Congo, and the Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the Kahuzi Biega National Park which is their natural habitat.
Other major attractions to see on a Congo tour are the tropical rainforests, Mountains, crater lakes, birds, and animals, and it has so many primates as some are even rare like Pygmy Chimpanzees (Bonobos) within the great Virunga Conservation Area.
On your Gorilla trekking safari in DR Congo, you will encounter Virunga National Park which borders Volcanoes National Park and for a memorable adventure, you can enjoy Eastern Lowland Gorilla trekking similar to Western Lowland Gorilla trekking safari in Congo Brazzaville.
For a great experience on top of your gorilla experience Congo tour or Congo Gorilla safaris, you’re advised to undertake other charming adventures on your Congo safaris! This offers you a golden opportunity to explore this gem of Africa.
Among the other Congo safaris are hiking Nyiragongo Volcano, birdwatching, and Chimp trekking. Congo Gorilla safaris can be combined with other Congo safaris to give you remarkable African safari memories, especially in the dry season.
Where to Go for Congo Gorilla Safaris?
There are 2 Congo Safaris sites where one can see Congo Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The two national parks Gorilla tours are Virunga National Park which is Congo’s oldest national Park near Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, and the other park is Kahuzi Beiga National Park home to the Lowland Gorillas.
Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is the oldest national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was formerly known as Albert National Park, and it changed its name after DR Congo got its independence in 1969 from Belgium and was renamed Virunga National Park.
It is situated in eastern Congo lying between Lake Kivu and Lake Albert. Virunga Park is prominently known for Mountain Gorilla tours. It also has 2 active volcanic mountains (Mount Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira).
Virunga National Park is within the Virunga Conservation Area which is home to half of the world’s surviving Mountain Gorillas.
Most tourists coming for African gorilla tours, want to experience a Congo Gorilla safari in Virunga National Park because it is a cheaper destination compared to other Mountain Gorilla safari destinations.
During your Gorilla trekking safari in Virunga Park, you can spot other attractions like monkey species including Central African Red Colobus, Golden Monkeys, the Dent’s Mona Monkey, Chimpanzees, and Red Colobus Monkeys.
On Gorilla tours, tourists can track any of the 10 habituated Gorilla families within the park.
Virunga National Park Gorilla families are Bageni, Munyaga, Mapuwa, Kabirizi, Lulengo, Nyakamwe, Rugendo, Wilungula, Baraka, and Humba Gorilla family.
Virunga Foundation and the ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) is the conserving body of Virunga National Park.
Kahuzi Biega National Park
Kahuzi Biega is an amazing destination, especially for those on a Lowland Gorilla trekking experience. It is a thrilling park situated near the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwanda border.
It is the best destination for tracking Eastern Lowland Gorillas in their natural setting in the Democratic Republic of Congo when on Gorilla tours in Congo safaris. This is because this UNESCO World Heritage Site has the highest population of Eastern Lowland Gorillas.
There are about 250 Lowland Gorillas within Kahuzi Biega Park. The Eastern Lowland Gorillas look like to Western Lowland Gorilla groups that are found in Odzala National Park in Congo Brazzaville in Central Africa.
There are about 12 Eastern Lowland Gorilla families in Kahuzi Biega National Park though only 3 are habituated for Lowland Gorilla trekking safaris.
Kahuzi Biega is not only for Gorillas, it also holds about 136 animal species with 13 primates including Chimpanzees, Dent’s Mona Monkey, Red-tailed Monkeys, Central African Red Colobus, etc.
Other animals to see here are Forest Elephants, Buffaloes, and the Giant Forest hog and it is also home to over 349 bird species that bird lovers can enjoy watching during their nature walks. Although there are Chimpanzees, they are not available for Chimpanzee trekking.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking in Congo?
Gorilla tracking during Gorilla tours in Congo’s Virunga National Park takes about 2-6 hours as you search for the giant apes when on a Congo tour. The endangered species move long distances in the jungle just like any other wild animals in Kahuzi Biega and Volcanoes National Park.
Gorilla treks start with a briefing from Virunga National Park headquarters at 8 a.m. On a lucky day, Gorilla trips in Virunga National Park or Kahuzi Biega can take less than 2 hours and you are only permitted 1 full hour with a Gorilla family.
Along the way, you can see a Golden Monkey Community which is rewarding and there is no Chimpanzee trekking.
Gorilla Trekking Permit Price/Cost in Congo | How Much Is A Gorilla Permit in Congo
You require Gorilla tracking permits for Gorilla tours in Congo. Gorilla trek permits allow you to enjoy Gorilla tours and track either the Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park or Congo Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park close to Volcanoes National Park, and you present them at the park headquarters.
Below is the price of a Mountain Gorilla trekking permit;
What Is Included In The Gorilla Trekking Permit In Congo?
The Gorilla trek permit is inclusive of park entry fees and rangers who protect you during Gorilla trips on your Congo safari. You should know that Congo Gorilla permits are exclusive of transportation costs and accommodation during Gorilla tours.
Where to Buy a Congo Gorilla Trekking Permit?
The ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) is responsible for pricing and selling Gorilla trek permits. Tourists can purchase the Gorilla trekking permits by themselves or they can use the services of a licensed tour operator.
As of now, there are over 12 habituated gorilla families living in Virunga National Park- the main area for gorilla safaris in Congo. Therefore, there are over 96 Congo Gorilla permits for tracking Gorillas in Congo available per day.
Is Gorilla Trekking Worth It in Congo? | Is Gorilla Trekking Worth the Money in Congo?
Yes, Gorilla trekking in DR Congo is worth it and worth the money. You get to meet the endangered Mountain Gorillas which share over 95% DNA with humans which is a lifetime experience during Gorilla tours.
When you buy a Gorilla tracking permit, you contribute to the conservation of the Mountain Gorillas.
A percentage of the money from the permit is used in the development of local communities.
Encountering the rare gentle giants in their natural environment ranks as one of the most exciting adventures on the African continent.
How hard is the Gorilla Trek in Congo? | How Difficult Is Gorilla Trekking Congo?
Gorilla tours in Congo are fairly challenging and require some physical fitness as you go through challenging terrains, hills and valleys, thick undergrowth, as well as muddy places.
Always carry good hiking boots and walking sticks for your gorilla tour and if you cannot go for Gorilla tracking, then you can hire porters who carry you to meet the Mountain Gorillas.
For the best Congo Gorilla safaris, at least work on your physical fitness before you come for a Gorilla tour.
Is Congo Gorilla Trekking Safe? | Is It Safe to See Gorillas in Congo?
Yes, Gorilla safaris in Congo are safe.
A Gorilla trek safari in Congo is safe in the following ways;
On Gorilla treks, you are escorted by trained armed ranger guides who ensure your safety in the jungle on your Gorilla tracking adventure.
Gorilla trekking tours in Congo are done on fully habituated Gorilla families
However, be vigilant of your safety and always inquire with your tour operator about the safety of your Congo Gorilla safari.
Gorilla Trekking Rules to Follow on Your Congo Gorilla Tour
On your Gorilla safaris in Congo, there are rules to follow and these are for the safety of the Gorillas and tourists. They work both on a Gorilla trek of Mountain Gorillas and the Eastern-lowland Gorillas.
Gorilla-watching rules before setting into the jungle;
The gorilla-watching age limit in Congo is 15 years.
If you want to ease yourself, waste should be buried 30cm deep.
Only 8 people are allowed to trek a Gorilla group per day.
If you have any illness, you are prohibited from visiting Gorillas as they can contract your illness.
Gorilla watching rules when with Congo Gorillas;
Always maintain maximum silence on the trekking trail though this doesn’t limit you from asking the ranger.
Littering in the park is prohibited.
You should maintain a 7m distance from the Gorillas.
Tourists are not allowed to touch the gentle giants.
Eating, drinking, and smoking around gorillas are strictly not allowed.
You shouldn’t sneeze around the Gorillas.
You are only limited to one hour in the presence of the Gorillas.
Tourists shouldn’t use a flashlight when in the presence of Gorillas as they relate it to danger.
What Is the Best Time for Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Gorilla trekking safari trips in Congo safaris are good all year round making the Democratic Republic of Congo a good destination. However, the most ideal time is during the dry season or in the dry months which are from December to February and from June to August.
The trails for Mountain Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park are dry and accessibility is easy as little, or no rainfall is received. It is also easier to see other primates in the jungle like a Golden Monkey community.
Also, undertaking a Gorilla trip in Congo in the wet season is worth undertaking in the wet season as it is easier to spot Mountain Gorillas as they hardly move in higher altitudes in search of food and treks can be short.
What Are the Best Months for Safari in Congo?
The best months for safari in Congo are the dry months and these are December to February and from June to August.
What to Wear for Congo Gorilla Trekking? | Wear for Congo Safaris
All travelers wishing to come for the Democratic Republic of Congo tour should put on clothes that blend easily with the environment.
Below is what to wear;
Light long-sleeved shirts and trousers
Light hiking boots
A hat or cap
A poncho or rain jacket
What To Pack and Carry for Congo Gorilla Safaris?
There are essential items you need to carry with you at all times when going on Congo Gorilla safaris in Virunga Park or Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda.
Below are some of the items to carry for your Congo Gorilla tour;
Gorilla trek permits and you present them at the park headquarters
A good camera with extra batteries and memory cards
How Much Does a Gorilla Safari Cost? | How Much Does It Cost to Go on a Safari in Congo?
The price of the Gorilla trekking experience or a safari in Congo in Virunga National Park depends on tour factors. Below are some of the factors that determine the cost of a Congo Gorilla safari.
Gorilla trekking permits; truly affect the price of the Congo Gorilla safari as the Mountain Gorilla trekking permit costs $400.
Accommodation style; the type of accommodation can also determine the cost of a Congo safari as they are classified into luxury, midrange, and budget facilities.
Mode of transport; you need a good vehicle to reach Kahuzi Biega and Virunga National Park for your Gorilla trekking tour and are hired daily.
Considering porters; help you carry heavy equipment during your Gorilla trekking.
Expect a 3-day Gorilla trekking safari to be between $2000-$5000 including all the Congo Gorilla safari components.
Why Go for Congo Gorilla Trekking? | Why Go for Congo Safaris?
Congo Gorilla safaris or Congo safaris should be on everyone’s bucket list as they give you lifetime experiences.
Below are some of the reasons why you should come for a Congo safari;
Congo is home to Mountain Gorillas; on your Congo tour, you will go to Virunga National Park home to the endangered Mountain Gorillas not easily spotted in other destinations.
Congo is home to the Eastern Lowland Gorillas; apart from mountain Gorilla trekking, you can also trek the Eastern-lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Trekking Gorillas in Congo contribute to the conservation of Gorillas; when you buy a Gorilla trekking permit, a percentage is used in the conservation of Mountain Gorillas. This is done through paying rangers who chase away poachers.
Gorilla trekking contributes to supporting local communities; 10% of the Gorilla tracking permits is given to the local communities to use for their development.
What Wildlife Is in the Republic of the Congo?
The Democratic Republic of Congo has amazing wildlife species ranging from its flora and fauna to a large biodiversity of rainforests, seasonally flooded forests, and grasslands.
It is taken to be one of the richest African countries with the most flora. These rain forests of DR Congo boast rare and endemic species like Chimpanzees and Wild Bonobos within the forests south of the Congo River.
It has 1,000 bird species, 280 reptile species, butterflies, and 400 mammal species including the endangered Gorillas, Forest Buffalo, Bongo, and Okapi.
Most of the unique wildlife species in the Congo are threatened animals, especially the Mountain Gorillas ideal for Gorilla tracking, Chimpanzees, Okapis, and Golden Monkeys also found in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
If keen enough you can see the Giant Forest Hog, Buffaloes, Forest Elephants, Leopards, Giraffes, Monkey species, Grant’s Zebras, Bush Pigs, several antelope species, and snake species.
What is Congo Famous For?
DR Congo is famously known for Gorilla tours within Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Tourists can visit Congo and spot Mountain Gorillas which are also found in Uganda’s Bwindi and Mgahinga and Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda.
You can also spot the Eastern Lowland Gorillas, spot birds, and other wildlife species like Pygmy Chimpanzees and Okapis, hike the Nyiragongo volcano, and explore the River Congo.
What Is the Best Safari Park in Congo?
There are 9 national parks where you can enjoy your Congo safaris with attractions and safari activities. The best park is Virunga National Park in eastern Congo known for Mountain Gorillas and the Nyiragongo hike where you can see the largest lava lake.
There is also Kahuzi Biega National Park where you can track Eastern Land Gorillas. DR Congo also has savannah national parks that offer amazing animal viewing like Garamba and Upemba national parks.
Are there Gorillas in Congo?
Yes, there are Gorillas in Congo. You can spot both Mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas and it is one of the best countries in East Africa for seeing the gentle giants.
Mountain Gorillas are also within Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park.
How Many Gorillas Are Left in the Congo?
The Democratic Republic of Congo has about 604 Mountain Gorillas within the Virunga Conservation Area which is an amazing tourist attraction. Congo’s Virunga National Park in eastern Congo has the highest number of gentle giants within the Virunga Mountains.
Others are within the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Mgahinga National Park of Uganda. On your Congo trip, you can also visit Kahuzi Beiga National Park which has about 250 Eastern Lowland Gorillas that you can see on nature walks.
Congo has no Western Land Gorillas as they are found in Odzala National Park.
Can you see Gorillas in Congo?
Yes, you can see the endangered species in Congo when on your Gorilla tours. You can go for Mountain Gorilla tracking in Virunga National Park in eastern Congo and Kahuzi Biega National Park for the Eastern Lowland Gorilla trekking experience.
To enjoy the Congo Gorilla safaris, you require a Gorilla tracking permit.
Which Country Is Best for Gorilla Trekking?
Uganda is the best country for the Gorilla trekking experience or Gorilla tour as it holds almost half (459) of the Mountain Gorilla population on earth (1,063). The Gorilla safari trips in Uganda are enjoyed in Mgahinga and Bwindi national parks.
The two destinations have 20 habituated Gorilla families. However, Gorilla safaris are also amazing in Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda and Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
All in all, Uganda remains the best country for Gorilla tours.
Where Is the Cheapest Place to See Gorillas? | Where Is the Cheapest Place to See Mountain Gorillas?
The cheapest place for seeing the endangered Gorillas is the Democratic Republic of Congo. A Gorilla trekking permit in Congo costs $400. In Uganda, it costs $700, and $1,500 in Rwanda.
This makes a Gorilla permit in the Democratic Republic of Congo almost half price of gorilla trekking in Uganda. Therefore, tracking Gorillas in Congo is more affordable!
Uganda has a high gorilla population compared to other Gorilla destinations.
In summary, the gorilla tracking Congo price is ideal for a budget traveler!
Other Memorable Safari Activities to do in Congo on top of the Gorilla Safari
For a memorable Gorilla trip in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you can combine it with other adventures and some of these are;
Undertaking the Nyiragongo Hike
Mount Nyiragongo is one of the major attractions in Virunga National Park and it is one of the active Volcanic Mountains. Among the active volcano mountains in DR Congo, Nyiragongo is more active as it has erupted more times than any other Mountain making it an amazing tourist attraction.
Hiking the incredible active volcano can take 2 days and you can get views of the world’s largest lava lake. It is the best way to end your Gorilla safari in Congo.
Chimpanzee Trekking Tours in Congo
From Gorilla trekking, you can also enjoy the Chimpanzee trekking experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This thrilling adventure gives you a golden opportunity to meet the Chimps in their natural environment on your nature walks.
Chimpanzee tracking is best enjoyed in Virunga National Park in eastern Congo and you spot other wildlife species on your encounter like the colorful birds and if lucky a Golden Monkey community. Other unique wildlife species in this park are Okapis and small antelopes.
Bird watching in Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo is also a birders paradise for bird lovers besides Gorilla tours as it has amazing birds. This country has one of the richest bird checklists on the African continent with over 1,188 bird species.
You can find West African birds, Albertine endemics, wetlands, rivers, lakes as well as savannah birds. You can enjoy birding during nature walks in Virunga National Park and the most sought-after birds include;
Red-billed dwarf Hornbill
Piping Hornbills and,
Safari Lodges in Congo to Use during Your Safari
On your Gorilla Congo safaris, there is no need to worry about the accommodation. There are different classes of accommodation ranging from budget, midrange, and luxury facilities.
10 Days Congo Safari – Uganda & Rwanda, Lake Kivu, Wildlife, Chimpanzee Trekking
12 Days Uganda Rwanda Congo Safari, Gorillas, Chimpanzee Trekking, Lake Kivu & Wildlife Safari
In conclusion, Congo Gorilla safaris offer the best thrilling experience that is worth undertaking. You get the best opportunity of encountering both the Mountain Gorillas and Eastern Lowland Gorillas.
Gorilla trekking safari trips are enjoyed within Virunga National Park in eastern Congo and Kahuzi Biega National Park. You can also enjoy the Nyiragongo volcano hike on your Congo safari.
Congo tours are worth the adventure as you will get full excitement!
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