The Kahuzi-Biega National Park (PNKB) is located in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and covers three provinces: South Kivu (Territories of Kabare, Kalehe, Shabunda and Walungu), North Kivu (Territory of Walikale) and Maniema (Territory of Punia). It extends over 6000 km², with an altitude varying from 600 to 3308m. Its name comes from the two mountains dominating its high altitude part, Mount Kahuzi (3308 m) and Mount Biega (2790 m). The PNKB is characterized by a high landscape quality thanks to its floristic diversity and its proximity to the magnificent Lake Kivu.
The PNKB is currently the only protected area in the world where it is possible for tourists and scientists to observe with certainty and serenity habituated Grauer’s gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri).
Of the 3 existing subspecies of Eastern Gorilla, Grauer’s Gorilla is certainly the most imposing. A visit to the gorillas is one of the most exciting and moving eco-tourism adventures on the African continent today.
Visiting Kahuzi Biega National Park
One of the hidden gems of D. R. Congo is Kahuzi-Biega national park and it is among the attractions that receive less guests, partly owing to Democratic Republic of Congo’s reputation as a conflict ridden country. Kahuzi-Biega national park rewards a unique adventure in a peaceful environment to its guests.
Every traveler that loves gorillas should add Kahuzi-Biega national park to their list of places to visit because it will reward them with an off beaten kind of experience. This park is the only place that protects the Eastern lowland gorillas in the whole world and everyone who wishes to sight them should book their gorilla safaris to Kahuzi-Biega national park in Congo.
The park is found in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo towards the western bank of Lake Kivu and the border between D. R. Congo and Rwanda. It covers a total land of 600,000 square kilometers spreading over two volcanoes, Mountain Kahuzi and Mountain Biega and they are all found in the center of the park.
According to all that this national park has, like the endangered eastern lowland gorillas, birds and the tropical rain forest, in 1980 the park became one of the UNESCO world heritage sites of which every traveler who visits D. R. Congo should not miss to tour.
Kahuzi Biega national park was purposely formed to provide shelter to the highly endangered eastern lowland gorillas as well as promoting tourism in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo. Hence this park is becoming a top tourist attraction for lowland gorilla tours.
Gorilla trekking in this park involves hiking in the tropical rainforest and following different trails depending on the location of where a gorilla family spent its previous night. Trekking period may range from six hours to 30 minutes in the wild. Though you only spend an hour interacting with the gorillas after reaching them and learn their unique behavior patterns. However this one hour will surely provide you with a lifetime experience.
The rules and process of trekking gorillas in Kahuzi Biega national park are similar to those of mountain gorilla trekking, which include keeping a seven-meter distance from the gorillas, all guests are supposed to keep within their trekking groups and keep calm to ensure an enjoyable trekking safari but to fully have an interruptible gorilla trekking encounter in Kahuzi-Biega national park, you have to book the permits in advance.
Kahuzi Biega national park does not only comprise of the eastern lowland gorillas but also more than 340 birds, 136 mammal species, and more than 1000 plant species and all these are available for travelers on a Congo safari. This park’s fauna includes swamps, bogs, marshland, bamboos, subalpine, heather, rain forests and the mammals including the gorillas that feed on this vegetation in the park.
Gorilla trekking is not the only activity enjoyed in this park but also other activities such as bird watching and forest walks, hiking and many others.
Gorilla safaris in D. R. Congo can be experienced in two destinations, Virunga national park for mountain gorilla trekking and Kahuzi-Biega National park for Eastern lowland gorillas.
The park can be accessed better via Rwanda and cross the border to DR. Congo by the road. It is found 30 km from Bukavu town and the journey to the park is one and a half hour drive. Kahuzi-Biega national park is safe all year through for all travelers that wish to visit it.