The vast majority trust that tourism in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is just about the mountain gorillas. I used to believe that as well, owing to severe advertising and reputation these primates have gotten, especially in Rwanda and the Virunga in general. But being with the hope of starting a tour company this year, I had to find out everything by myself and my trip to DRC opened my eyes to some of the hidden gem DRC offers.
In the eastern part of DRC on the western bank of Lake Kivu situated the Kahuzi Biega National Park one of those hidden treasures of this unstable country. This is a tourist destination that has been less visited, mostly inferable from DRC’s notoriety for being a conflict-ridden nation. In any case, the national park offers an amazing adventure experience in a peaceful environment to sightseers and travelers alike as I as of late discovered.
I traveled with more than 2 friends and when we reached the headquarters of the park, we got a guide told us Kahuzi Biega National Park was set up in 1970. It covers a total land area of 600,000 square kilometers and is found in the eastern part of DRC in Bukavu Town on the Rwandan border.
The national park vegetation cover is swamps, marshlands, lowlands, bogs, and tropical rainforests. These support an assorted variety of wildlife and bird species in the national park. We enjoyed all this when we traveled to this park. Booking for a safari to Kahuzi Biega National Park can be made in advance through any reputable tour company operating in the country like African Jungle Adventures Ltd, Virunga Community Programs or some other companies operating in DRC.
Locals in DRC were friendly and welcoming, particularly when you address them in Swahili.
Lowland gorilla trekking
Kahuzi Biega National Park harbors the biggest species of the eastern lowland gorillas in the entire world. It has thus turn into the best tourist destination for lowland gorilla safaris. Gorilla trekking normally involves hiking in the tropical rainforest and tracking different trails, depending on where the gorilla group spent their previous night.
The tracking time before you meet the gorillas may go from 30 minutes to 8 hours in the thick jungle. Nonetheless, you are allowed a maximum of one hour to interact with the gorillas after reaching them; taking in their behaviors, observing them as they do their daily activities. This hour will spend in the presence of these amazing animals that will provide you with a lifetime experience to tell.
The national park being home to around 342 different bird species and 42 of them are endemic to the national park. This is a good reason why the park is a destination for bird lovers. Among the feathered creatures you are probably going to spot here incorporate Yellow Crested Helmet-Shrike, African Green Broad Bill and the Congo Peafowl, and many others.
Your trip to this park may get more interesting since Kahuzi Biega isn’t just about the lowland gorilla trekking. Climbing is a most loved activity to numerous as I discovered here. There are a pair of dormant volcanic mountains found within the park you can climb. Mount Kahuzi is the most elevated at 3,308m above sea level while Mount Biega, the smaller of the two stands at 2,790m over the sea level.
The summits of these two mountains give a bird eye’s view of the whole national park, the wildlife, the neighboring communities, and nations. Besides, bamboo and subalpine vegetation that is home to different cover these two volcanoes. This gives the tourists an opportunity to encounter diverse animals like owl-faced monkeys in addition to an assortment of birds.
Tourists here can follow various trails in this tropical rainforest to different tourism sites. The trails prompt different destinations, for example, the Chibati waterfalls and three different waterfalls found in the national park. Experienced guides will lead you in spotting different types of vegetation and wildlife in this national park. Nature here is at its flawless with tourists able to hear the sounds of singing birds up the trees and the cool air to freshen the brain of the tired visitor. When you leave the park, you’ll have a clear mind and more knowledge about wildlife in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and a tour to this stunning park is a memorable one to enjoy.