Congo gorilla trekking permits
If you need to encounter mountain gorillas in Virunga national park or eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega national park in Congo, you need to book gorilla trekking permits in advance. The gorilla trekking permits grant access to one trek and one hour with endangered mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking in Congo takes 2-7 hours depending on where the gorillas are on that day and the speed of trekkers.
Virunga national park has 8 gorilla families and Kahuzi Biega national park has 5 gorilla families all these are visited for trekking purposes. The 13 gorilla families can all be trekked at any time of the year with 104 permits available every day. Gorilla trekking permits for Congo are cards or documents that are offered by Virunga national park or Kahuzi Biega national park authorities to allow a tourist access Virunga national park and encounter gorillas.
To get a gorilla trekking permit for Congo, you must be aged 15 years and above and this is verified by presenting a passport of you or national identity card. These help to find out your actual date of birth so as to know if your age qualifies for gorilla trekking. If the person is under the age of 15 years, their permit won’t be issued.
How much does a Congo gorilla permit cost?
Gorilla trekking permits in DR Congo for both mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas do cost $400 foreign and non-foreign residents and $200 Congolese and East African citizens in the dry season of June to September and December to February. In the rainy season of March to May and October to November, Virunga national park offers discounted trekking permits of $200 per person per trek. Gorilla trekking permits for Congo are the cheapest compared to Rwanda which is sold at $1500 while Uganda each is $700.
How to get a gorilla trekking permit in Congo
To trek mountain gorillas in Congo, a traveler is required to book a gorilla trekking permit in order to trek mountain gorillas and be around them for 1 hour. The trekking permits can be got from Virunga national park or from a trusted local tour operator.
Booking Congo gorilla trekking permits through national parks
To book a gorilla trekking permit, you will have to contact Virunga national park or Kahuzi Biega national park website and send them an email containing the days you want to travel or trek. When they receive the email, they will check for the availability of permits in dates given, and then you will be sent the banking details to make payments for the permits. Once they have received the money, they will secure a permit for you.
Booking Congo gorilla trekking permits through a tour operator
Africa Adventure Vacations limited does organize gorilla trekking safaris in Congo and therefore we can secure a gorilla permit for you. All you need to do is contact us and let us know the dates you want to travel or trek and using these days we shall check for availability of the trekking permits.
When we find the permits available, we shall send you bank details for you to send money for gorilla permits and once we have received the money, we shall book the permits for you. The gorilla trekking permit fees includes park entry fee and does not include transportation or accommodation fees.
Best time to book a Congo gorilla trekking permit
A gorilla trekking for Congo should be booked at least 3-4 months in advance before the final trekking day most especially in the dry season of June to September and December to February because the permits sell out quickly. Booking the permits early save you from last-minute bookings.
How many permits are available in DR Congo?
With 8 gorilla families being habituated in Virunga national park, there are 64 gorilla permits available per day. Each gorilla family in Virunga national park is trekked by 8 people and this is why the total of these permits is 64. The 8 gorilla families in Virunga national park are Humba family, Munyaga family, Kabirizi family, Lulengo family, Mapuwa family, Bageni family, Rugendo family, and Nyakamwe family. Kahuzi Biega national park on the other hand has 5 gorilla families which means there are 40 permits every day in this park and this brings the total of gorilla permits in DR Congo to 104 every day.
Can you cancel a Congo gorilla permit?
With gorilla permits for DR Congo being on high demand and selling out quickly, there are travelers that book the permits in advance of 9 months, 6 months, 3 months, or even a year before the final trekking dates. With future days being unpredictable, there are several issues that can happen and you cancel the safari yet you had paid your gorilla trekking permits.
Congo has a gorilla permit cancellation policy so in case you are out there wanting to cancel your gorilla permit, there is a cancellation policy. Travelers who have paid only deposit won’t receive any refund on cancellation while those that had paid full amount are given back some money depending on the days. There is 75% refund if you cancel your permit 91 days or more before the trek, 50% 46 to 90 days, 25% 9 to 45 days, and 0% refund 0-8 days before the actual trek.
Gorilla trekking in Congo
Gorilla trekking in Congo is one of the most done activities done in Virunga national park and Kahuzi Biega national park. The activity gives participants an opportunity to move deep in the jungle, search for the habituated gorilla families and spend 1 hour with them learning about their habits, taking photos, and watching them do daily activities.
Virunga national park is a home of 8 habituated gorilla families while Kahuzi Biega national park is a home to 5 gorilla families which implies that Congo has 104 gorilla permits of which 64 are for mountain gorillas while 40 are for eastern lowland gorillas. Gorilla trekking starts in the morning and trekkers are briefed about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity. Later armed ranger guides lead them in the jungle and when they locate the gorillas, 1 hour is given to be around these apes, watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits, and take photos.