Facts about Kahuzi Biega national park
Facts about Kahuzi Biega national park- Kahuzi Biega national park is one of the national parks in DR Congo located in the eastern part of the country. The national park is located a few kilometers from Bukavu town and is situated on the southwestern shores of Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is Rwanda’s largest freshwater lake but it extends to DR Congo.
Kahuzi Biega national park covers a total area of 6000 sq. km making it the second-largest national park in the country after Virunga national park. There are a lot of attractions in Kahuzi Biega national park but what has attracted most of the travelers are the eastern lowland gorillas. There are a few places in DR Congo where these gorilla subspecies are found but the highest population is in Kahuzi Biega national park.
Facts about Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega national park is among the few places in the world where endangered eastern lowland gorillas can be found. The other places to find eastern lowland gorillas in the world are Maiko national park and Maiko national park, Tayna gorilla reserve, Usala forest, and Itombwe Massif.
Kahuzi Biega national park was gazetted in 1970 to protect the remaining species of eastern lowland gorillas and the rainforest vegetation cover. Surprisingly the park was not used for any tourism activity until 2015 when the government decided to open it for eastern lowland gorilla trekking and other activities. When the park was not yet open, they were habituating gorillas and as of today, it has 5 fully habituated eastern lowland gorillas.
Kahuzi Biega national park is the second-largest protected area in DR Congo covering a total area of 6000 sq. km. The whole park comprises rainforest vegetation, bamboo vegetation, and subalpine vegetation.
Over 600 eastern lowland gorillas were estimated to be in Kahuzi Biega national park in 1990s but after the census that was carried out in 2011 there were about 180 eastern lowland gorillas in the park. The population of these eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega national park reduced as a result of civil wars that happened in the country between the 1990s and 2000s.
Kahuzi Biega national park is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites protected by the national park’s legal status and managed by the Congolese Insititute of Nature Conservation. Kahuzi Biega national park harbors a lot of flora and fauna making it one of the most important sites in the Rift Albertine Valley region.
Kahuzi Biega national park has 5 fully habituated eastern lowland gorilla families that are open for tourism purposes at all times of the year. Each eastern lowland gorilla family in Kahuzi Biega national park is trekked by 8 people.
Kahuzi Biega national park is a protected area managed and protected by Congolais pour la conservation de la Nature together with the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Kahuzi Biega national park is dominated by 2 spectacular dormant volcanoes from which the park gets its name. Inside the park is Mount Kahuzi standing at an elevation of 3308m above sea level and Mount Biega standing at an elevation of 2790m above sea level. Climbing these dormant volcanoes takes 4 hours and hiking takes 3 hours depending on the speed of hikers and the nature of the terrain.
Kahuzi Biega national park doesn’t only have eastern lowland gorillas but also other animals such as elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, leopards, bongo, 342 bird species, owl-faced monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, and golden monkeys among others.
Kahuzi Biega national park can be visited at any time of the year but the drier months are the best to take a visit to this park. The drier months occur from June to September and December to February and they are characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is short with clear views of the animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
The possible activities in Kahuzi Biega national park are the eastern lowland gorilla trekking which gives you an opportunity to encounter these ales for 1 hour, birding where you have chances of spotting over 439 bird species, and hiking where you get to the summit of Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega.