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The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the African countries that are home to the endangered gorilla population in the world. Congo is one of the best and unique destinations for gorilla trekking safaris in Africa since it is a home to both the mountain and lowland gorilla species. The democratic republic of Congo is rich in a wide variety of gorilla species which are sub divided in three categories that is the endangered mountain gorillas, the low land eastern gorillas as well as the western low land gorillas. The difference from each other alternatively depends on the size, location, and natural habitat of where they stay.
Where are gorillas found in Congo?
The Democratic republic of Congo has about two national parks that is home to the endanger gorilla apes that are surviving in their natural environment. There about three national parks where these endangered creatures have been adopted such as Virunga national park, Kahuzi Biega national park as well as Maiko national park which are controlled and governed by Congo government body that is in charge of national parks and tourism in the country.
Virunga national park
This part of the Virunga massif conservation area that is home to Mgahinga national park of Uganda and volcanoes national where each country exercises control over its own portion of the Virunga massif. Virunga National Park is the only park that is home to the endangered mountain gorilla population due to the fact that the park is dominated by the high altitude areas of the montane forest that favor the survival of the mountain gorilla species. Virunga national park is the oldest national park found on an area of about 7800 square kilometer and it is a home to over 300 mountain gorilla population.
Virunga national park is a harbor to 8 habituated mountain gorilla families which are open for tourism throughout the year. Gorilla trekking experience in Congo is one of the major reasons the country is recovering from the negative impacts that were caused by the political wars. Congo is one of the destinations in Africa that has cheaper alternatives for the gorilla trekking experiences due the fact its gorilla trekking permit is cheaper compared to Rwanda and Uganda.
Just like any countries that have the mountain gorillas, Congo has almost the same standard rules of the mountain gorilla trekking experience where a maximum of 8 people are allowed to meet a gorilla family and they will spend only hour with the gorilla family.
The habituated mountain gorillas are very friendly and they are used to the presence of human being, however despite the fact they are friendly and peaceful creature travelers are not allowed to feed them and get too much close with them because this can transmit diseases to the endangered mountain gorillas such as flue.
Kahuzi Biega national park
This is the only national parks in Congo where travelers will find the lowland gorillas, the park is found in the eastern region of the democratic republic of Congo and it is composed of inactive volcanoes which include mount Biega and mount. Kahuzi. The park is the biggest national park in Congo covering a total land area of 6000 kilometers and it is rich in biodiversity of the forest ecosystem that ranges from montane forests to lowland forests that harbors a huge numbers of the lowland gorilla population that feed mainly on fruits.
Gorilla trekking experience in Kahuzi Biega national park is extremely an interesting adventure due to the fact trekking the lowland gorillas does not require physical fit therefore there is no need of hiking and hills of the forest as it is the case in other national parks of Virunga national park, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Mgahinga national park, as well as volcanoes national park of Rwanda.
Maiko national park
The park is situated in the eastern areas of the forest and it is another destination that harbors the lowland gorilla species. Maiko national park is not only a home to the lowland eastern gorillas but it has awide range of wildlife animals such as the eastern chimpanzees, the forest elephants among others. Maiko national park was originally a mineral conservation area then later the government of Congo turned it into a national park that is highly visited by a number of travelers.
Besides the mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas, there is another unique gorilla species that is known as the western lowland gorillas which is the smallest group compared to rest of the gorilla categories. The western lowland mature male gorillas are differentiated by its grey hairs that it acquires along the way as they grow very old.
Best time to visit gorillas in Congo
The best time to visit gorillas in Congo is during the dry season when there is little rain expected to interrupt the trekkers in the jungle forest as well as other activities. The dry season in Congo is during the months of June, July, august, September, October and December up to full end of February.
During the dry season, there is a high demand for the gorilla trekking permits in Congo due to the fact that is a high season/park season where a lot of travelers are coming to Africa to enjoy wildlife safaris including the gorilla trekking safaris. We therefore advise travellers to make advance booking for the gorilla trekking permits in Congo because permit get sold out very fast and the fact is that demand of the for the gorilla trekking permit in Congo is higher than the available especially in Virunga national park where is about 8 habituated gorilla family.
The rainy season might bring difficulties in the gorilla trekking experiences especially in Virunga national park where gorillas live in the high altitude areas thus to meet a gorilla family, there is need to first hike the montane forest until you find the habituated gorilla families. However on the other hand gorilla tourism in Congo is open to travelers throughout the year.
What is the cost of a gorilla trekking experience in Congo?
Gorilla trekking in Congo is one of the fascinating adventures in the tropical forest montane forest and in the lowland forest due to the fact that Congo is still a unique virgin destination where gorilla tourism is not yet corrupt
Trekking gorillas in Congo is the best cheap alternatives since the country has the cheapest gorilla trekking permit compared to that of other countries. The gorilla trekking permit in Congo costs 400 USD per person per day while as in Ugandan it is 600 USD per person per day and Rwanda gorilla trekking permit costs 1500 USD per day. Therefore Congo has the cheapest mad affordable gorilla safaris in Africa.