Kahuzi Biega National Park is located in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo near the western bank of Lake Kivu bordering Rwanda about 50 kilometres west of Bukavu Town, DRC. The Park is a protected area and is named after two mountains (dormant volcanoes) Mt. Kahuzi and Mt. Biega that are within the park’s bounds. Mt. Biega is part of the Mitumba mountain chains. Kahuzi – Biega National park was established by a Belgian photographer and conservationist Adrien Deschryver in 1970; Adrien was also a chief warden at the park and during the war in Bakuvu, he single-handedly enforced law and order in the park.
Kahuzi-Biega is the largest national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo covering an area of over 6,000 sq kilometres that is both mountainous and lowland terrain.
In 1980 Kahuzi Biega National Park was marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique biodiversity and rainforest habitat also being home to the endangered eastern lowland gorillas that are listed under the IUCN Red List. The Park’s wide variety of flora and Fauna provides protection to over 1000 plant species, over 130 animal species and about 350 bird species.
The Kahuzi Beiga National Park mountain area is one of the sub- Saharan regions in Africa that has lowland to the highland transition of vegetation with vegetation types that include: – swamp forest, the mountain rainforest, subalpine heather and bamboo forest.
The main attractions in Kahuzi Biega National Park are the eastern lowland gorillas and the park is believed to be the last refuge and only place with the eastern lowland gorillas with about 125 lowland gorillas distributed in 12 families. Other attractions at the park include other primates like chimpanzees, colobines, owl-faced monkeys, Cercopithecidae; mammals like bush elephants, bush buffalos, maclaud’s horseshoe bat, climbing mouse, hippopotamus, giant forest hog; birds and many more.
On a safari to Kahuzi – Beiga you will be sure to enjoy:-
- Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking and Habituation.
The Eastern lowland gorillas are the largest of the gorilla species are can only be found in DRC in the Kahuzi – Beiga deep forests. Though they are all gorillas they are not the same as the mountain gorillas or the western lowland gorillas. Of the parks 12 families only 4 are habituated for trekking; so on your Congo safari, you will be able to visit one of the habituated families or join the rangers as they habituate a family.
- Gorilla Trekking and Gorilla habituation are quite different and habituation will take a longer time for you than trekking.
For the Gorilla trekking trip; you will connect with the rangers at the start point where you will be clustered with other trekkers in a group that is allocated to one of the four families. The rangers will normally brief you on the dos and don’ts of the trek and how best to interact with the gorillas without agitating them.
It’s advised to carry a snack and water for refreshment because the treks are quite cumbersome. Also if you have health challenges and cannot go so far, you will need to inform the rangers so that you’re assigned to the nearest gorilla family.
After being assigned a gorilla family you will then trek in the forest with the rangers to where the gorillas are when you reach where the gorillas are, you will have 1 hour of interaction with them and then start your trek out of the forest.
Gorilla Trekking Permits in Congo go for USD 400
For habituation the process is the same however, you will spend a longer time with the gorillas compared to the one hour of the already habituated.
Hiking can be done on Mt. Kahuzi one of the dormant volcanoes, on the hike you go through the subalpine vegetation and the bamboo forest that are habitat to quite a number of wildlife and bird species; so you sight all that wildlife. On top of the mountain, you have the opportunity to view Lake Kivu and the areas of Bukavu.
Hiking costs USD 100.
- Nature Walk and Water Fall Trail
You can take part in nature walks in the park and enjoy the beautiful scenery and join the Tshibati waterfalls trail that has 3 impressive falls next to the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre.
Nature Walk and Water Fall Trail costs USD 35.
Accommodation in Kahuzi Biega National Park
Kahuzi – Beiga National Park provides tents for campers as a form of accommodation inside the park at the camping site at the Park’s Headquarters; however the Park does not have any established accommodation facilities inside the park but budget, midrange and luxury accommodation can be obtained less than 50 kilometres outside the park.
How to get to the Kahuzi –Beiga
Kahuzi –Beiga is easily accessed through Kigali town, Rwanda; so as you plan your trip you need to plan a flight to Rwanda and to acquire a DRC Visa you will present your online booking to the authorities and get the Visa at USD 100. On arrival to Rwanda, you will have to drive 6-7 hours to Kahuzi-Beiga.