Bukavu city in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Bukavu city / town is one of the cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The town is located in the eastern part of the country at the southwestern edge of Lake Kivu. Bukavu city is located near the border of Rwanda and DR Congo and it has more than one million residents making it one of the most populated areas in DR Congo. The area was initially not populated until it received thousands of refugees from Burundi and Rwanda. Bukavu city is the main capital of South Kivu province in DR Congo.
Bukavu town is separated from Rwanda by Lake Kivu and river Ruzizi which are natural borders. The name Bukavu came from a local word “Bu Nkafu” which means a region of cows according to the Shi people who are believed to be the inhabitants in the eastern part of DR Cong, The Shi people for a kingdom called Bushi. The Shi people were mainly cattle keepers and they used to look for pastures in this area until the coming of the king of Belgians who took over the area.
Bukavu town is located about 10kms from Lake Kivu the largest freshwater lake in Rwanda. Lak Kivu is one of the places to g relax or fish, swim, boat cruise, paddleboarding, kayaking, and much more. You can also visit some of the islands on the lake and get to interact with the local people.
Bukavu city is a business area, industrial center, lakeport, and a city for tourism. Bukavu area is also known for agricultural products such as coffee, tea, strawberries, tobacco, quinine, and all of these are transported through the port. The nearest airport to Bukavu town is Kamembe airport and it is located just 8 km away from the city.
Visit Kahuzi Biega national park from Bukavu city
Kahuzi Biega national park is a closed tourist area located 31 km from Bukavu town. The national park is a world heritage site and a home to the endangered eastern lowland gorillas in DR Congo. Kahuzi Biega national park was gazetted in 1970 to protect the eastern lowland mountain gorillas, other wild animals, bords, and the rainforest.
Kahuzi Biega national park is home to over 342 bird species, eastern lowland gorillas, mammals, and 2 dormant volcanoes (Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega). Tourists staying in Bukavu town can visit Kahuzi Biega national park for the following activities.
Gorilla trekking: Staying at Bukavu ton, gorilla trekking is done in Kahuzi Biega national park a home to eastern lowland gorillas. Kahuzi Biega national park is the only place you can trek eastern lowland gorillas in the whole of DR Congo The national park is located just 31 km from Bukavu which means trekkers can even stay in the town and trek gorillas in the park the next day.
Trekkers will have to wake up early in the morning and drive to the park offices where they will meet other trekkers for a briefing from the park wardens. During the briefing, the trekkers are able to learn about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity as well as get grouped. Those with heavy luggage can hire porters and the armed ranger guides lead them to the jungle.
The trekking activity takes 2-4 hours of meeting different park mammals, primates, birds, and vegetation. The activity takes you through different steep slopes using different trekking trails. When the gorillas are located, the trekkers are allowed to be around them for 1 hour, take photos, learn about their habits and watch them do daily activities such as hunting, nesting, traveling, playing, coupling, and much more. Later the armed ranger guides lead you out of the jungle and you met your driver back to Bukavu or your next destination.
Birding: Are you a bird lover staying in Bukavu region, well Kahuzi Biega national park is the best birding destination you need to try out? The national park that is located a few km from the city is home to over 349 bird species of which 42 are endemic to the park. Travelers intending to visit Bukavu city and combine it with birding activities should come well prepared with birding equipment such as a camera, a pair of binoculars, a notebook, and much more.
Birding in Kahuzi Biega national park from Bukavu city exposes you to birds such as long-crested eagle, African Olive Pigeon, Eurasian buzzard, White-naped Pigeon, lemon dove, hadada ibis, red-eyed dove, western banded snake eagle, African green pigeon, tambourine dove, mackinnon’s shrike, Rwenzori turaco, scarce swift, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, mottled swift, great cormorant, black-headed heron, black-billed turaco, ayres’ eagle, African black swift, Senegal coucal, African goshawk, tawny eagle, black kite, and black-winged kite.
More birds to see in Kahuzi Biega national park from bukavu are African emerald cuckoo, northern fiscal, western green tinkerbird, common waxbill, African firefinch, crowned hornbill, yellow-billed barbet, white-necked raven, African paradise-flycatcher, double-toothed barbet, black-casqued hornbill, diederrik cuckoo, Albertine sooty boubou, golden-winged sunbird, rufous-vented paradise-flycatcher, bronzy sunbird, common bulbul, strange weaver, cassin’s honeybird, black cuckoo, regal sunbird, and red-faced crimson-wing among others
Hiking: Hikers on a visit to Bukavu city have mount Kahuzi and mount biega in Kahuzi Biega national park for them to hike. Travelers in Bukavu going to Kahuzi Biega national park for hiking activities should have a hiking permit which they can get from the national park offices or a trusted local tour operator.
Hiking any of these mountains starts in the morning hours by gathering up at the briefing offices. Hikers will have to wake up early in the morning, take breakfast and drive to the park in time. Hikers are first briefed about the rules and regulations of the hiking activity and then armed ranger guides lead them to the summit.
Hiking Mount Kahuzi takes 4 hours of ascending and 3 hours descending while hiking Mount Biega takes 3 hours of ascending and 3 hours descending. All these are dormant volcanoes and have no signs of eruption in the future. They are all hiked in a single day and during the hike, the hikers are able to meet different wildlife. At the summit of any of these mountains, the hikers are able to have great views of the summit, Lake Kivu, Bukavu town, Kahuzi Biega national park, and neighboring volcanoes.
Where to sleep on a visit to Bukavu city?
Travelers visiting Bukavu city can choose where to sleep depending on their budget. The accommodation facilities in this area do range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and they include Hotel Begonias, Hotel Riviere, Hotel La Roche, Elizabeth Hotel Bukavu, Hotel Horizon, Hotel Panorama, Hotel Orchid, and many more.