Is Kahuzi Biega national park safe?
Is Kahuzi Biega national park safe? Kahuzi Biega national park is one of the most visited national parks in the DR Congo popular for hosting eastern lowland gorillas. The national park is also famous for hosting 2 dormant volcanoes Kahuzi and Biega. Eastern lowland gorilla trekking is the most done activity in this park and it’s mostly done by those that want to compare mountain gorillas with eastern lowland gorillas.
Kahuzi Biega national park has 5 fully habituated eastern lowland gorilla families and each of these groups can trekked by a group of 8 people. Apart from eastern lowland gorilla trekking, another activity that can be done in Kahuzi Biega national park is hiking and this is done on Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega. Birding is another common activity in Kahuzi Biega national park where birders get an opportunity to encounter over 349 bird species.
Kahuzi Biega national park has attracted so many travelers from across the globe and these normally ask about the safety of the park before traveling to the country. Safe of the park matters very a lot when it comes to people’s lives and their properties. Most travelers know DR Congo where Kahuzi Biega national park is located as a war country.
If we go by our question to find out if Kahuzi Biega national park safe, we will say; Yes, Kahuzi Biega national park is safe for different tourism activities. DR Congo might be regarded as a country with prolonged wars but most of the places in the country like towns, cities, and tourism areas including Kahuzi Biega national park are free from all insecurities. There are a lot of security measures inside and around Kahuzi Biega national park and these are put in place to protect the tourists during their safaris in the park. Before entering the park, you must be checked at the gate to ensure that you don’t enter with harmful gadgets. Kahuzi Biega national park has a lot of armed ranger guides and military that keep the park safe for tourism activities.
While carrying out activities such as eastern lowland gorillas trekking, birding, hiking and nature walks, etc. In Kahuzi Biega national park, you are accompanied by security personnel such as armed ranger guides, and military personnel through different trails in the park. These protect you from dangerous wild animals and rebels. All activities in Kahuzi Biega national park start with a briefing at the park offices and participants are asked to keep following the armed ranger guides so that they don’t get any harm while in the jungle.
Activities that can be done in Kahuzi Biega national park
Eastern lowland gorilla trekking: Kahuzi Biega national park has the highest number of eastern lowland gorillas on the whole and this has attracted a lot of travelers to this park. Trekking eastern lowland gorillas is the most done activity in Kahuzi beiga national park and it’s a safe activity done with the armed ranger guides protecting you throughout the whole trek. Trekking permits for eastern lowland gorillas are $400 for foreign non-residents, and foreign residents while for East African citizens it is $200.
Eastern lowland gorilla trekking starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where wardens teach about the rules and relations of the activity. Grouping is done and armed ranger guides lead the trekkers in the jungle through different trails looking for the biggest gorilla subspecies. The trekking activity takes 2-5 hours and this depends on the location of the gorillas as well as the speed of the trekkers. When the gorillas are located, 1 hour is given to the trekkers to learn about the gorilla behaviors, watch them do daily activities, and take photos.
Hiking: Hiking in Kahuzi Biega national park is done on Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega which are both located in the park. These are all dormant volcanoes in this park with mount Kahuzi having an elevation of 3,317m and Mount Biega at 2,790m. Mount Kahuzi and mount Biega can be hiked within a single day and making it to the summit of any of these mountains take 4 hours.
Hiking any of the mountains in Kahuzi Biega national park requires a hiking permit that you can get from the park offices. The hiking starts in the morning with a briefing and later armed ranger guides lead the hikers to the summit. Trekkers have opportunities of meeting different park mammals, primates, birds, and vegetation throughout the hike. At the summit of any of these mountains, the participants will enjoy great views of the surrounding areas such as Bukavu town, mountains, Kahuzi Biega national park, and Lake Kivu.
Birding: Birding is another most done activity in Kahuzi Biega national park DR Congo. The national park is a home to birds such as baglafecht weaver, black cuckoo shrike, mountain oriole, blue-headed coucal, African golden oriole, red-faced woodland warbler, grey cuckoo shrike, masked apalis, petit’s cuckoo shrike, equatorial akalat, African hobby, grauer’s broadbill, black saw-wing, mountain thrush babbler, red-throated alethe, cattle egret, black-headed heron, northern grey-headed sparrow, white-backed vulture, crowned eagle, black-faced rufous warbler, pied kingfisher, white-browed crombec, northern double-collared sunbird, martial eagle, and narina’s trogon.
Other notable bird species in Kahuzi Biega national park are Albertine sooty boubou, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, mountain buzzard, grey woodpecker, barred long-tailed cuckoo, common cuckoo, bar-tailed trogon, grey-headed bush-shrike, grey-backed camaroptera, black-headed waxbill, common barn owl, speckled mousebird, double-toothed barbet, chestnut-throated apalis, white-starred robin, bracken warbler, golden-breasted bunting, bronze mannikin, yellow-throated longclaw, black-collared apalis, luhder’s bush-shrike, grey crowned crane, green wood-hoopoe, olive long-tailed cuckoo,blue-and-white crested-flycatcher, eastern mountain greenbul, western citril, and brown chested alethe among others.
What to pack for Kahuzi Biega national park safari?
To have the best safari in Kahuzi Biega national park, you are advised to carry waterproof hiking shoes, a pair of gaiters, cotton stocks, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a rain jacket, scarf, a hat, sunscreen, a camera, a pair of binoculars, insect repellents, facemask, sanitizer, first aid kit, toiletries, drinking water bottle, and energy-giving snacks.
Accommodation in Kahuzi Biega national park
Depending on your travel budget, there are a lot of accommodation facilities available in and around Kahuzi Biega national park incase you want to stay a night or more. They do include Mount Kahuzi Hotel, Coco Lodge Bukavu, Lakeside Hotel Bukavu, Hotel Begonias, Orchids Safari Club, and Exodus Bukavu among others.
Best time to visit Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega national park is open for tourism activities at any time of the year however there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months are the best to visit this park and they do happen from June to September and December to February. These months are characterized by little or no rainfall, the trekking/hiking trails are dry, the vegetation is thin with clear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers can take a visit to Kahuzi Biega national park in the rainy season of March to May and October to November to enjoy huge discounts on gorilla permits and accommodation facilities. Travelers should however note that in the rainy season, there is plenty of rainfall, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is thick with unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable.