Mountain Gorilla trekking in DR Congo
Mountain Gorilla trekking DR Congo – Besides Uganda and Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo is another fascinating destination to trek the endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. Mountain gorillas trekking in this country is done in Virunga national park just in the tropical forests at the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. For the past years, the park was threatened by constant insecurities and poaching from the neighboring communities however, currently over 400 rangers have been recruited to man the national park, provide security and safety of tourists. This man power has also helped in habituating mountain gorillas and keeping them available for tourism activities through trekking.
Today, Virunga national park is estimated to have a third of the total population of mountain gorillas in the world with 8 habituated gorilla groups ready for trekking. These include; Kabirizi gorilla group in Bukima section and very close to Goma, Rugendo gorilla family, Mapuwa gorilla group in Jomba, Bageni Gorilla group Gatovu and sometimes in Bukima section, Humba gorilla group in Humba, Lulengo gorilla group in Jomba, Munyaga gorilla group in Bukima section and Nyakamwe gorilla group in Bukima.
Yes, of all the three gorilla trekking destinations, Democratic Republic of Congo offers the cheapest gorilla permits per person per trek of $400 compared to Rwanda of $1500 and $700 for Uganda. A group of only 8 tourists is allowed to visit each gorilla family daily and gorilla trekking in Virunga national park Congo is conducted from 8am. The tracking duration depends on the speed of trackers and the location of your allocated mountain gorilla family. The activity is strictly done by persons above 15 years of age. During trekking, you may encounter other primates such as chimps, a number of monkey and bird species; once you encounter the giant gentle apes of the forest, you are allowed to spend a full hour with them to see how they feed, play with the family among other behaviors.
Please note that before travelling to DR Congo for mountain gorilla trekking experience in Virunga national park, you must book a gorilla permit in advance through a trusted local tour company like Africa Adventure Vacations to avoid any disappointments. In addition, pre-application of visa and obtaining a yellow fever vaccination must be done to let you enter the country.
How to get to Virunga National Park DR Congo for mountain gorilla trekking?
Virunga national park is situated in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and to access this park, most guests opt to fly into Kigali international airport Rwanda, drive through Gisenyi before crossing Rwanda- DR Congo border via Goma. Yes, from Goma town to Virunga national park for mountain gorilla trekking is about 1½ hours’ drive by road
What is the best time to visit Virunga National Park?
This is a common question to most travelers looking for a visit to Virunga National Park for mountain gorilla trekking. Well, the park is found in the tropical rain forest region of DR Congo and experiences both dry and wet seasons every year. Virunga national park can be visited throughout the year! However, the dry season of February, June July, August, September and then December is the best time for mountain gorilla trekking in DR Congo. During this time, the forest ground tends to be drier and makes movement easier compared to the wet season.
Gorilla trekking experiences in Virunga national park remain the same in wet and dry season however, guests interested in getting crazy discounts are advised to book during the low season (wet season). During the low seasons, the park offer discounted gorilla permits and so do hotels within and outside the park.
Where to stay in Virunga National Park?
Accommodation in Virunga National Park DR Congo ranges from budget, Mid-range and luxury safari lodges. Best budget safari lodges include Kibumba tented camp and Bukima tented camp which can go for around $90 to $100, the luxury lodges around Virunga national park include Mikeno lodge, the rates for this property is around $400 per night while the midrange accommodation facilities include Tchegera Island Camp and Lulimbi tented camp among others. Room rates in mid-range properties ranges from $100 to $200 per person per day.
What to pack for mountain gorilla trekking trip in DR Congo?
Mountain gorilla trekking is generally known by most tourists globally as an adventurous safari activity done in Virunga national park of Democratic Republic of Congo, Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. All the four national parks are found in the tropical forest region of Africa and whoever plans to take a gorilla tracking tour should carry comfortable equipment to enjoy the activity to the fullest.
Yes, most travelers ask what they should pack for their memorable mountain gorilla trekking trip after securing their permits. Well below is a list of items you should carry while coming to Virunga national park for a gorilla tour.
Long-Sleeved Shirts / Blouse
Hat and Sun Glasses
Energy giving snacks
Cameras and extra batteries
Pair of Binoculars
Porters for your gorilla trek