Things to do in Kahuzi Biega national park
What are the top things to do in Kahuzi Biega national park in DR Congo? Kahuzi Biega national park is one of the most visited national parks in DR Congo. The national park was gazetted in 1970 and covers an area of 6000 sq. km full of swamps, bamboo forest, rainforest, and subalpine vegetation. Kahuzi Biega national park is a home to different wildlife like the eastern lowland gorillas, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, elephants, monkeys, olive baboons, birds, and much more.
Kahuzi Biega national park is the only place to encounter eastern lowland gorillas in the whole of DR Congo as well as East Africa. The national park host Kahuzi and Biega national parks all dormant volcanoes that can be hiked at any time of the year. So many activities can be done in Kahuzi Biega national park but the popular ones are eastern lowland gorilla trekking, birding, and hiking. All the activities can be done at any time of the year.
Activities in Kahuzi Biega national park
Eastern lowland gorilla trekking: Trekking eastern lowland gorillas is the most done activity in Kahuzi Biega national park. The activity is sometimes done by those that want to compare the difference between mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas. In DR Congo, the mountain gorillas are found in Virunga national park. There are 5 fully habituated eastern lowland gorilla families in Kahuzi Biega national park and a maximum of 8 people can trek a single gorilla group.
To trek eastern lowland gorillas in the park, you need a trekking permit and this can be got from the park offices or a local tour operator. Trekking starts with a briefing and all the treks are led by armed ranger guides. Locating the eastern lowland gorillas takes 2-5 hours of meeting different park mammals, primates, and birds. When gorillas are located, you will be able to watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits and take their photos all this in 1 hour.
Birding: Kahuzi Biega national park is a rain forest with over 342 bird species that do attract a number of tourists and travelers. The national park is known for eastern lowland gorilla trekking however there are forests that give a chance to bird lovers to have the opportunity to encounter different bird species making it one of the best birding destinations in DR Congo
Birds to encounter in Kahuzi Biega national park are cinnamon-chested bee-eater, mountain buzzard, black-billed turaco, rockefeller’s sunbird, grey woodpecker, white-backed vulture, variable sunbird, baglafecht weaver, barred long-tailed cuckoo, blue-headed coucal, grey-headed bush-shrike, African golden oriole, petit’s cuckooshrike, hadada ibis, crowned hornbill, equatorial akalat, mountain thrush babbler, African paradise-flycatcher, marital eagle, black-casqued hornbill, red-throated alethe, cattle egret, black-headed heron, crowned eagle, and narina’s trogon.
More birds in Kahuzi Biega national park include long-crested eagle, golden-winged sunbird, African Olive Pigeon, White-naped Pigeon, lemon dove, rufous-vented paradise-flycatcher, red-eyed dove, African green pigeon, strange weaver, tambourine dove, regal sunbird, Rwenzori turaco, scarce swift, red-faced crimson-wing, ross’s turaco, mottled swift, great cormorant, cassin’s honeybird, ayres’s eagle, African black swift, black saw-wing, mackinnon’s shrike, red-faced woodland warbler grey cuckoo shrike, Senegal coucal, black kite, African hobby, black-winged kite, African goshawk, tawny eagle, African harrier hawk, wahlberg’s eagle, bronze mannikin, Eurasian buzzard, and western banded snake eagle.
Hiking: Hiking should be among the activities to do while on a safari in Kahuzi Biega national park. Hiking in this park is done on Mountain Kahuzi and Mountain Biega all part of this park. The hiking activities give you an opportunity to encounter different park animals on the slopes of the mountain and meet different vegetation cover. Hiking activities can be done after encountering the amazing eastern lowland mountain gorillas in this park.
Hiking Mount Kahuzi or Mount Biega takes about 4 hours to reach the summit and 3 hours to descend the volcano. The hiking activity starts early in the morning at different park stations where hikers must gather to learn about the rules and regulations of the hiking activity from the park wardens. During the hike, armed ranger guides lead the hikers throughout the whole hike protecting them from dangerous wild animals and rebels.
While hiking, there are chances of meeting different park mammals, birds, primates, and vegetation. If the hikers are lucky, they can also meet eastern lowland gorillas although they will not be allowed to be around them or take photos. When the hikers reach the summit of any of these mountains, they will be able to have stunning views of the surrounding, volcanoes, Lake Kivu, Bukavu town, and Kahuzi Biega national park.
Best time to take a visit to Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega national park in eastern DR Congo can be visited at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest. The national park has 2 dry seasons and 2 wet seasons and the dry months are the best to take a visit to this park. The dry season occurs from June to September and December to February and its characterized by little or no rainfall which leaves the trekking trails less muddy, the vegetation is thin and dry with clear views of the park’s wildlife and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers can still take a visit to Kahuzi Biega national park in the rainy seasons of March to May and October to November to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities and gorilla trekking permits. Travelers coming to visit Kahuzi Biega national park in the rainy season should know that the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is thick with unclear views of animals and the roads leading to the park are not in good condition. Rainy seasons favor bird lovers because there are plenty of birds in the park including the migratory ones.