Guide to Kahuzi-Biega National Park, UNESCO World Heritage since 1980
A complete guide to Kahuzi-Biega National Park, one of the last refugee for the Eastern lowland gorillas. This is the ultimate destination for gorilla trekking in East and Central Africa. On this guide find the best things to do, things to see, where to stay, and all the travel information you need to plan your next gorilla safari.
Are you planning for an extraordinary experience with the Eastern lowland gorillas? This guide offers a comprehensive guide to gorilla trekking with information on how to plan for a gorilla trek, etiquette for gorilla watching, what to pack, best time to see gorillas and more.
The park is home to flora and fauna of exceptional diversity which make it one of the most important sites in the Albertine Rift Valley, itself one of the ecologically richest regions in Africa and globally. In particular, the world’s largest population of eastern lowland (or Grauer’s) gorillas, a subspecies endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List , uses the mosaic of habitats found in the property.
Kahuzi Biega national park is located in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo just 50 km away from Bukavu town which is one of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s biggest business districts bordering Rwanda’s Rusizi which is also a big business Hub and beach holiday destination on the shores of Lake Kivu. Kahuzi Biega national park is listed as the world heritage sites as it’s known to be holding one of Africa’s few remaining eastern Lowland gorillas in the base of Mount Kahuzi and Biega, being the only habitat for the eastern lowland gorillas which are only found in Democratic Republic of Congo in the entire world. The 75,000 ha eastern sector is entirely montane. The massif is part of the Mitumba Mountain range, the western mountains of the Great Rift Valley. The two main peaks, Mount Kahuzi (3,308 m) and Mount Biega (2,790 m) are extinct volcanoes, and the massif dates from the late Tertiary or early Quaternary.
Tours in Kahuzi Biega National Park
Visitors of Kahuzi Biega National Park can use our tours directory to plan their trip. We have listed several tours to the park including gorilla trekking, hiking, community based tours, etc. We have also listed some tour providers that organize trips into Kahuzi Biega National Park and their neighboring destinations.
Things to See
Kahuzi-Biega National Park protects a significant population of fauna species. These include the unique Eastern Lowland gorillas/Grauer’s gorillas, forest elephants, buffaloes, chimpanzees, bongos, pottos, Dent’s mona monkeys, owl-faced monkeys, eastern needle clawed galago, Rwenzori least otter shrew, Kahuzi climbing mouse, red tailed monkeys, leopards, hippos, giant forest hogs.
There are over 350 bird species to expect to search for while in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. The notable bird species here include Grauer’s broadbill, Shelley’s crimson wings, Congo peafowl, yellow crested helmet shrike, African broadbill sunbird, Rockefeller’s sunbird.
Things to Do
There are many ways that holidaymakers on Congo safari can explore and experience fauna of Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Most popular adventures include gorilla trekking, nature walks to see birds, primate watching, bird watching and more.
Gorilla trekking is the most popular adventure that attracts tourists to the park. You can plan to see the Eastern Lowland gorillas on foot within the park. Treks to see the Grauer’s gorillas (Eastern lowland gorillas) are done daily.
The flora of Kahuzi-Biega National Park is perfectly explored while on a nature walk. The park itself has well-established trails each introducing you to distinct habitats with unique flora, birds.
Plan Your Gorilla Trek
Get started with planning
When you should visit Kahuzi-Biega N. Park Congo
To have excellent view of Kahuzi-Biega National Park’s diverse wildlife, the dry season is incredibly the best time. This begins from late May to early October or December to February and these are enjoyable while on Grauer’s gorilla trekking safari.
The lodges to stay
Camping is the top accommodation option for most holidaymakers to spend a night while on Kahuzi-Biega safari. There are some comfortable lodges and hotels but they are mostly within Bukavu and they include L’Orchids Safari Club, Mount Kahuzi Hotel, Exodus Hotel, Lake Side Hotel.
When is the Best time to visit Congo Kahuzi-Biega
Kahuzi-Biega National Park holiday safari is perfectly enjoyed during the dry season or drier months of the year. That is in late May, June, July, August, September to early October or late December, January, February. These are the most preferable months if you plan to be in Kahuzi-Biega for Lowland gorilla trekking or volcano hiking/climbing.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park is accessible within DRC, from Rwanda and Uganda. In DR Congo, it takes safari-goers 1 hour and half to drive from Bukavu to Kahuzi-Biega. In case of those with plans to start from Kigali Rwanda, you can access the park via border crossing at Rusizi or book flights from Kigali Airport Rwanda to Kavumu airport then transfer to Kahuzi-Biega’s offices.
Visitors on Lowland gorilla safari to Kahuzi-Biega can reach the park by road which is 40kms, about 1 and half hours’ drive from Bukavu. From Kigali, it is approximately 6-7 hours’ drive if you take the route through Cyangugu city. By air, you can fly up to Kamembe Airport hen drive 1 hour and half to Kahuzi-Biega via Bukavu Town.
Frequently Asked Questions
Apart from visiting the gorillas, what else can visitors do at Kahuzi Biega?
The tourist can also enjoy:
The ascent of Mount Kahuzi which culminates at 3038 meters above sea level;
A hike, which goes from the headquarters to the top of Mount Bugulumiza 2.4 km;
A visit to the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center and the three levels of Chibati Falls;
The community-based tourist visit the royal court of Kabare.
Is It Safe to Go Gorilla Trekking in Kahuzi Biega?
Gorillas have been accustomed to human presence at Kahuzi Biega since 1971. Kahuzi Biega is among the first park in the world to organize gorilla visits.
How are the gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park different from others in the sub-region?
Which Gorillas Are Found in Kahuzi Biega?
The gorilla subspecies found in Kahuzi Biega is the Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla berengei Graueri). It has a physical form that is different from other subspecies found in Mount Virunga, the Mountain Gorillas, (Rwanda Volcano Park and Virunga National Park in Goma), (Gorilla berengei Berengei). Kahuzi Biega’s gorilla has an elongated head, it is less hairy, and it does not accept more than one mature evil in a family.
Safety and best time to travel to Congo Kahuzi-Biega
When you think of visiting DRC, safety is a key factor that concerns not only holidaymakers but also tour operators. However, Kahuzi-Biega National Park has for long enjoyed relative peace unlike Virunga National Park that whose tourism activities have been suspended several times. On the other hand, it is challenging to recommend the best time to travel to Kahuzi-Biega National Park given its location in rain-forested area. But the drier months are said to be a little the most ideal and you can plan your tour holiday from late May to early October or January to February. It is possible to organize a tour even during the rainy months though what disorganizes is the heavy rains yet also it is a period when there is plenty for primates like Grauer’s gorillas to feed on. To some holidaymakers, these are the best months of the year because you spend less time to move to look for a gorilla family since gorillas don’t move to search for what to eat in distant areas.
Access to Congo’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park
Prior setting off to Kahuzi-Biega National Park, you must have a Congo Visa and an invitation from the park to be permitted in. Not to encounter challenges in arranging your holiday, the best is to deal with a reliable ground tour operator in DR Congo. The ideal route for you to have access to Kahuzi-Biega takes you from Kigali Rwanda through Cyangugu town where you can connect to Bukavu Town. By air, fly from Kigali airport in Rwanda to Goma airport in the DR Congo. By water, take a speed boat from Goma up to Bukavu.
Where to Stay
When visiting Kahuzi-Biega National Park for a holiday, the accommodation choices to book include Lakeside Hotel Bukavu, Hotel Begonias, Mount Kahuzi Hotel, Hotel Exodus Bukavu, Coco Lodge and Orchids Safari Club.
The best lodges and hotel facilities to stay in while on Congo holiday safari in Kahuzi-Biega National Park exist in Bukavu Town. They range from budget to high-end including among others; L’Orchids Safari Club, Lake Side Hotel Bukavu, Coco Lodge Bukavu and Exodus Bukavu.
Getting to Kahuzi-Biega Congo
By road: In the DR Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park can be reached 40kms, about 1 hour and half drive from Bukavu Town. You can take a rental car in Congo or bus or taxi or drive 230kms from Goma Town, about 5 to 6 hours’ drive up to Kahuzi-Biega National Park head offices. From Rwanda, drive from Kigali approximately 6 to 7 hours’ drive via Cyangugu Town.
By air: You can board flights starting from Kigali Airport Rwanda to Goma Airport in the Congo. From Goma, drive 230kms to Kahuzi-Biega National Park Congo.