Kabirizi gorilla family
Kabirizi gorilla family is one of the Virunga national park gorilla families living in the areas of Bukima. The gorilla family started the habituation process in 1994 in Bukima area of the park. in the start, most of the family members of this group were part of Zinguruka gorilla group which is no more in this park.
Zinguruka gorilla family was led by a strong silverback called Zinguruka who died due to old age. By the time of his death, he had his son called Ndungutse who took over the leadership of the group immediately his father died but unfortunately he was killed in 1997 by the poachers.
Buhanga who was the son of Ndungutse took over the leadership of the group in 1997 after the death of his father. In 1998 another silverback from nowhere come and fought Buhanga to death. The group was left with no silverback so Nsekuye a female gorilla had to take over the leadership for a short time.
Kabirizi later on stile all the members of this group to expand his own. Kabirizi gorilla family formed a group of 36 members but Bageni a ruling silver back stole some of the group members and it was left with only 21 individuals. Kabirizi gorilla family members keep on changing due to deaths and new births though as of today the family has 24 members.
Encountering Kabirizi gorilla family
Encountering Kabirizi gorilla family does start with a briefing at the park offices early in the morning. This means that the trekkers will have to wake up early for breakfast and meet their driver-guide to take them to the park headquarters. At the briefing center, the park wardens will teach the trekkers about the rules and regulations of the hiking activity and then grouping will be done.
When you use us as your tour operator, we shall inform the wardens in advance to give you Kabirizi gorilla family to trek. Armed ranger guides will lead you into the jungle to search for mountain gorillas. During the search, you will meet animals such as chimpanzees, duikers, giant forest hogs, olive baboons, aardvark, topi, kobs, birds, and different vegetation covers.
When Kabirizi mountain gorilla family is located, trekkers will be given 1 hour to be around these apes and this will enable them to know about their habits, take photos and spot them doing daily activities such as coupling, feeding, nesting, breastfeeding, and much more. Later you will trek out of the jungle, meet your driver to get you back to the lodge or your next destination.
Gorilla trekking permits for Kabirizi gorilla family
With each gorilla family being trekked by a maximum of 8 people, Kabirizi gorilla family has 8 permits available for sale in Virunga national park. Each of gorilla trekking permit costs $450 for foreign non-residents and foreign residents and $200 for east African citizens and Congolese in the high season. In the low season, a gorilla trekking permit for Kabirizi gorilla family can be got at $200 for foreign non-residents and foreign residents while Congolese and east African citizens its $100.
Booking gorilla permits for Kabirizi gorilla family
To trek Kabirizi gorilla family, you need to have booked the gorilla permits in advance and informed your tour operator about the gorilla family you want to trek. Africa Adventure Vacations does help travelers that want to trek a specific gorilla group in Virunga national park such as Kabirizi gorilla group on booking gorilla permits for them.
All you need to do is send us an email containing the dates you want to travel and let us know you want to trek Kabirizi gorilla family. We shall use these dates to check for the availability of permits with Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature and once the permits are available, we shall send you an email containing banking details of how you can send us money. Once we have received the money, we shall book the permits for you and on the trekking day, we shall inform the wardens about the family you want to trek.
Best time to encounter Kabirizi gorilla family
Travelers can visit Virunga national park and encounter Kabirizi gorilla family at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest. These are the drier months of June to September and December to February. These months are characterized by little or no rainfall that leaves the trekking trails less slippery, vegetation is thin giving clear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers most especially budget travelers can visit Virunga national park and encounter Kabirizi gorilla family in the rainy season in order to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities, and gorilla permits. However, the rainy seasons occur from March to May and October to November and are characterized by too much rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the roads leading to the park impassable and the vegetation is thick with unclear views of the park animals.
What to pack for Kabirizi gorilla family trekking?
Tourists coming to Virunga national park to trek Kabirizi gorilla family need to come with all the necessary equipment in order to enjoy the safari. Some of the required equipment includes waterproof hiking shoes, a pair of gaiters, gardening gloves, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses, a camera and extra batteries, a pair of binoculars, a hat, rain jacket, reusable drinking water bottle, insect repellents, energy-giving snacks, facemask, sanitizer, and first aid kit.
Where to stay before or after trekking Kabirizi gorilla family
Travelers coming to Virunga national park to encounter mountain gorillas and Kabirizi gorilla family in particular don’t have to worry about where they will stay because there are a lot of accommodation facilities ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options where they have a night or more. These 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 encountering Kabirizi gorilla family
Birding: Bird watching is one of the most done activities done by travelers who visit Virunga national park for Kabirizi gorilla family trekking. The birding activities are done with the help of armed ranger guides who take you around the forest using different birding spots with opportunities of meeting different park mammals and primates.
During the birding activity, the birders are able to encounter bird species such as chinspot batis, malachite sunbird, black-faced rufous warbler, Angolan swallow, barried long-tailed cuckoo, black-billed turacro, Rwenzori batis, archer’s ground robin, and African hobby.
Other notable bird species in Virunga national park include Kivu sunbird, Rwenzori turaco, alpine swift, white-browed crombec, Rwenzori turaco, bronze mannikin, mountain sooty boubou, black bishop, Angolan swallow, red-eyed dove, banded prinia, collared sunbird, red-faced woodland warbler, and wahlberg’s eagle among others.
Hiking: Hiking is another activity that can be done after or before trekking Kabirizi gorilla family. The activity gives you an opportunity to hike some of the most active volcanoes in the world and these are Nyamuragira which last erupted in November 2011 and Nyiragongo which last erupted in May 2021.
Hiking any of these mountains is $300 which comes with accommodation at the summit cabins. The hiking activity takes 5-6 hours of going through the easiest hiking trails with a help of an armed ranger guide. During the hike, there are chances of meeting some of the park animals such as topis, leopards, buffaloes, mongoose, bongo, giant forest hogs, buffaloes, chimpanzees, gorillas, birds, and different vegetation types.
Once the hikers have reached the summit, they will have stunning views of the lava lakes, Kahuzi Biega national park, Lake Kivu, Virunga volcanoes, Virunga national park, plantations, homesteads, and Rwenzori Mountain ranges. Nights are spent at the cabins and descending is always the next day.
Chimpanzee trekking: After encountering Kabirizi gorilla family, you can decide to trek another species of primates that do share 98% DNA with human beings. Chimpanzees in Virunga national park are not so many but there are some that are habituated for tourism purposes.
You will need to be aged 15 years and above to get a permit for chimpanzee trekking. The activity starts with a briefing and it’s the armed ranger guides that lead the trekkers through different trials in the jungle. There are opportunities of meeting some of the park mammals, primates, birds, and vegetation and once the chimpanzees are located, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these apes which enables them to learn about their habits, take photos and see them do daily activities.