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Mapuwa gorilla family in Virunga national park

Mapuwa gorilla family in Virunga national park

Mapuwa gorilla family in Virunga national park

Mapuwa gorilla family was started by Mapuwa a silverback that left his own father’s group called Rugendo in 1995 to be a solitary male. Mapuwa left Rugendo gorilla family with his brother called Ruzirabwoba to form their own group. Mapuwa was a strong silverback who used to fight other groups and in 1997 he managed to fight Lulengo and stole 2 of his adult females.

Having stolen 2 adult females from Lulengo family, Mapuwa formed his own small group. In 199, Mapuwa managed to win the fights between Kwitondo and Rugabo gorilla group where he stole more 4 gorillas and this increased the gorilla family to 7 members. By 2009, Mapuwa gorilla family had increased to 15 members due to new births and stealing other gorillas from other families after fights.

By 2017, Mapuwa was already old and he lost the leadership of the group to another silverback called Mvuyekure but it wasn’t easy because Mapuwa had to even go to exile before coming back to his own group. As of today, Mapuwa gorilla family has a total of 24 members led by a silverback Mvuyekure and Mapuwa is still in the group.

Meeting Mapuwa gorilla family

Just like any other national park, trekking mountain gorillas stars with a briefing early in the morning. The trekkers will have to wake up early in the morning for breakfast and meet the driver to transfer them to the briefing point. Here they will meet park wardens who will brief them about the rules and regulations of the gorilla trekking activity and when its time for grouping, you will be grouped with those going to trek Mapuwa family because wardens will be aware.

Armed ranger guides do lead the trekkers into the jungle and while using different trekking trails, they are able to meet different animals such as kobs, duikers, giant forest hogs, aardvark, topis, bongo, elephants, buffaloes, mongoose, olive baboons, monkeys, birds, and different vegetation. After 2-5 hours of searching, when the trekkers meet Mapuwa gorilla family they will be given 1 hour to be around these apes, watch them do daily activities, learn about their behaviors and take photos.

Trekking permits for Mapuwa gorilla family

There are 8 trekking permits for Mapuwa gorilla family every day at Virunga national park. Only 8 people are allowed to trek this gorilla family on a single day. The gorilla trekking permits are issued out by Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature and they allow trekkers to be around mountain gorillas for 1 hour. Trekking permits are $450 foreign non-residents and foreign residents, $200 East African citizens, and congolose while in the low season each permit goes for $200 per person per trek.

Booking gorilla permits for Mapuwa gorilla family

Travelers intending to visit Virunga national park and trek Mapuwa gorilla family can book their trekking permits with Africa adventure vacation. We are local tour operators organizing safaris to Virunga national park and so we can help on booking the permits for you as well as the whole safari.

All you will have to do is send us an email containing the dates you want to trek Mapuwa gorilla family and we shall use these dates to check for the availability of the permits with Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature. When the permits are available, we shall send you banking details and once we have received the money, we shall book the permits for you. On the final day of gorilla trekking, we shall inform the wardens to give you Mapuwa gorilla group for trekking.

Best time to encounter Mapuwa gorilla family

Travelers from different parts of the world can visit Virunga national park for Mapuwa gorilla family trekking at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest. The drier months are the best to trek Mapuwa gorilla group and they occur from June to September and December to February. These months are characterized by little or no rainfall which leaves the trekking trials less slippery, the vegetation is tin giving clear views of eth gorillas and the roads leading to the park are passable.

Travelers can still visit Virunga national park to trek Mapuwa gorilla family in the rainy season of March to May and October to November. Travelers that visit Mapuwa gorilla family in the rainy season will enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities and gorilla permits however during that period there is plenty of rainfall which makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is thick giving unclear views of the gorillas, and the roads leading to the park are impassable.

What to pack for Mapuwa gorilla family trekking?

After buying your gorilla trekking permit, next is what you will pack while leaving for a safari. Well, any travelers intending to visit Virunga national park for Mapuwa gorilla group trekking should pack waterproof hiking shoes, a pair of gaiters, long-sleeved pants, long-sleeved shirts, a rain jacket, a hat, sunscreen, gardening gloves, insect repellents, a camera, and extra batteries, a pair of binoculars, reusable drinking water bottle, energy-giving snacks, facemask, sanitizer, and first aid kit.

Accommodation on Mapuwa gorilla trekking safari

Travelers intending to visit Virunga national park and trek Mapuwa gorilla group shouldn’t worry about where they will stay because several accommodation facilities are available for tourists that want to spend a night or more while on a safari. These accommodation facilities range from budget to mid-range to luxury options such as Lulimbi Tented Camp, Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelters, Bukima Tented Camp, Mikeno Lodge, Tchegera Island, Kikumba Tented Camp, and much more

Other activities you can combine with Mapuwa gorilla family trekking

Hiking: Hiking is one of the activities that can be done in Virunga national park and this is done on mountain Nyamuragira or mountain Nyiragongo. These mountains are active volcanoes in the world so hiking any of them count yourself lucky. Hiking Virunga mountains in Virunga national park is $300 which you can get from the park headquarters.

Hiking Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira start with a briefing and armed ranger guides lead the hikers to the summits of these volcanoes. Hiking takes the participants through steep slopes and rigged terrain so if you are intending to hike any of these mountains, you must come with comfortable waterproof hiking shoes.

Hiking takes 5-6 hours of meeting different park animals along the trails such as olive baboons, duikers, giant forest hogs, topis, buffaloes, bongo, aardvark, birds, and different vegetation types.

The summit of these mountains, you will enjoy the views of the lava lake, Lake Kivu, Kahuzi Biega national park, Virunga national park, mountain Rwenzori, Virunga volcanoes, plantations, and Goma city. Nights are enjoyed at the summit cabins and descending is always done the following day.

Birding: Bird watching is another activity commonly done after trekking Mapuwa gorilla family in Virunga national park. There are over 706 bird species that are found in Virunga national park and if you are a good birder you are likely to see most of them. You will need a birding book, voice recorder, and a pair of binoculars to see distant birds.

Some of the bird species that can be seen in Virunga national park include blue-headed coucal, klaas’s cuckoo, diederik cuckoo, grey crowned crane, mountain buzzard, Rwenzori turaco, Kivu ground thrush, Rwenzori batis, olive woodpecker, yellow-whiskered greenbul, malachite sunbird, variable sunbird, and black bishop.

Other bird species include luhder’s bushshrike, green sandpiper, narina trogon, collared apalis, Rwenzori double-collared sunbird, narrow-tailed starling, pin-tailed whydah, stonechat, common bulbul, white-necked raven, blue-headed sunbird, dusky crimson-wing, rufous thrush, bronze mannikin, and grey-backed camaroptera.

Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking is another activity that can be combined with Mapuwa gorilla family trekking in Virunga national park. The chimpanzee trekking activity is done on 1 fully habituated family that is found in the southern sector of the park. To trek this chimpanzee family, you need to be having a trekking permit and this is sold to people above the age of 15 years.

Chimpanzee trekking in Virunga national park takes you through different trekking trails led by a guide and the activity takes 2-4 hours. During the search, the trekkers are able to meet different park animals such as mongoose, topis, kobs, buffaloes, gorillas, duikers, giant forest hogs, elephants, bongo, birds, and different vegetation covers. When the chimpanzees are located, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these apes, watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits and take photos.