Bageni gorilla family in Virunga national park
Bageni gorilla family is one of the gorilla groups in Virunga national park staying in areas of Gatovu and Bukima. Bageni gorilla family started in 2013 after breaking away from his father Kabirizi. He was a silverback in his father’s group (Kabirizi group) but when he wanted to take over the leadership of Kabirizi gorilla family from his father it led to a fight in 2013.
From the fight, Bageni managed to take a huge number of gorillas from his father’s group including his own mother called Mapendo. Other gorillas that left with Bageni are Kamoso who was sexually mature, Kanamahalagi a silverback, Ntamuvulira a male subadult, and other 8 females. In 2015, Bageni went back to his father’s group and managed to get another female for his own group.
In 2019, Bageni went and stole more 2 adults from a group that was led by Willungunla at a time of habituation and this made his group keep on increasing. Bageni gorilla family as of today has a total number of 36 gorillas among which include the other 3 silverbacks. The numbers kept on increasing due to births and stealing some of the gorillas from other groups.
Encountering Bageni gorilla family
Trekking Bageni gorilla family starts with trekkers waking up very early in the morning and taking breakfast. The driver guides do transfer them to the briefing point where they meet with other trekkers to get a briefing from the park wardens. During the briefing, the trekkers are able to learn about the dos and don’ts of the gorilla trekking activity, and later when grouping is done you will be grouped with those going to trek Bageni gorilla family.
Armed ranger guides lead the group into the jungle and they start searching for mountain gorillas. During the search, the trekkers are able to meet different park animals such as leopards, topis, duikers, buffaloes, aardvark, kobs, olive baboons, giant forest hogs, birds, and different vegetation covers. When Bageni gorilla group is located, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around the group, learn about their habits, take photos, and watch them do daily activities such as coupling, breastfeeding, hunting, coupling, feeding, and much more. later you will trek out of the jungle, meet your driver to take you to the lodge or your next destination.
Gorilla trekking permits for Bageni gorilla family
There are 8 gorilla trekking permits for Bageni gorilla family in Virunga national park and this is because only 8 people are allowed to trek a single gorilla group in this park. The gorilla trekking permits for Bageni gorilla family are issued out by Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature at a fee of $450 foreign non-residents and foreign residents and $200 Congolese and East African citizens in the high season. In the low season, the gorilla permits go for $200 foreign non-residents and foreign residents while Congolese and east African citizens pay $100.
Booking gorilla permits for Bageni gorilla family
Africa adventure vacations limited is one of the trusted local tour operators that can book gorilla trekking permits for Bageni gorilla family in Virunga national park. All you will have to do is send us an email containing the dates you want to travel or trek and we shall use these dates to check for the availability of the permits with Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature.
When the gorilla permits are available, we shall send you an email containing the banking details so that you send us money. When money is received, we shall go ahead and book the permits for you. On the final trekking day, the wardens will be aware that you want to trek Bageni gorilla group.
Best time to encounter Bageni gorilla family
Travelers can visit Virunga national park to trek Bageni gorilla family at any time of the year however there are months that are better than the rest. The drier months are the best to visit Virunga national park and trek Bageni gorilla family because they are characterized by little or no rainfall and this leaves the trekking trails less muddy, the vegetation is thin giving clear views of park animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers most especially the budget travelers cab still visit Virunga national park to trek Bageni gorilla group in the rainy season of March to May and October to November. During the rainy season, the gorilla trekking permits are cheap and accommodation facilities do give huge discounts however travelers must know that it’s during this period that rainfall is plenty, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, vegetation is thick with unclear views of the animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
What to pack for Bageni gorilla family trekking?
Travelers intending to visit Virunga national park for Bageni gorilla family trekking are advised to come well prepared in order to enjoy the activity. Gorilla trekking requires one to pack waterproof hiking shoes, garden gloves, a pair of gaiters, a hat, rain jacket, long-sleeved clothes, sunscreen, insect repellents, a camera, a pair of binoculars, reusable drinking water bottle, energy-giving snacks, face mask, and sanitizer.
Accommodation during Bageni gorilla family trekking safari
Intending to visit Virunga national park to trek Bageni gorilla family? You don’t have to worry about where you will stay because the national park has lodges ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options situated in and around the national park. Virunga national park lodges include Lulimbi Tented Camp, Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelters, Bukima Tented Camp, Mikeno Lodge, Tchegera Island, Kikumba Tented Camp, and much more
Other things to do before or after trekking Bageni family
Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking is another activity that can be combined with Bageni gorilla trekking. To trek the chimpanzees, you need to book the permits before arriving in the country. Trekking chimpanzees in Virunga national park is done in the southern sector of the ark and the activity starts with a briefing.
During the briefing which is done early in the morning, the trekkers are able to learn about the dos and don’ts of chimpanzee trekking. Armed ranger guides do lead the trekkers into the jungle and in the process, the trekkers are able to meet different mammals, primates, birds, and vegetation types.
When the chimpanzees are located, the trekkers are given 1 hour according to the rules of the permit and during this time they are able to learn about their habits, take photos with cameras that have no flash and watch them do daily activities such as hunting, feeding, breastfeeding, coupling and much more.
Birding: Bird watching is another activity that can be combined with trekking Bageni gorilla family. The activity is led by armed ranger guides who take the birders around the best birding spots in the park. Some of the birds that can be spotted in Virunga national park include African goshawk, strange weaver, red-chested cuckoo, grey crowned cranes, grey-throated barbet, African thrush, white-eyed slaty flycatcher, speckled mousebird, and western tinkerbird.
Other bird species that can be encountered in Virunga national park include thick-billed seedeater, olive sunbird, bronze sunbird, doherty’s bushshrike, grey-headed negrofinch, green sandpiper, rufous thrush, cardinal woodpecker, white-necked raven, diederik cuckoo, blue-spotted wood dove, tambourine dove, and Rwenzori turaco to mention but a few.
Hiking: Hiking that can be done alongside trekking Bageni gorilla family. The hiking activity needs one to have a hiking permit which can be bought from the park offices even on the final day of hiking. Hiking is done at a fee of $300 and the activity takes place on mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamuragira.
Hiking starts early in the morning with a briefing and armed ranger guides lead the hikers to the summit of these mountains going through steep slopes and rugged terrain. Hikers that have excess luggage can hire porters at a fee to help them carry their luggage during the hike. During the hike, there are chances of meeting different park mammals, primates, birds, and vegetation cover. At the summit if nyiragongo and Nyamuragira, you will find lave lakes, you will get great views of Virunga national park, Kahuzi Biega national park, Virunga volcanoes, Lake Kivu, Mountain Rwenzori, plantations and homesteads.