Democratic republic of congo being among the virgin unexplored destination in Africa, its also ranked as the best for being the home of the primates and among these are the lovely Eastern Lowland gorillas that are only found in two Destination of Kahuzi Biega National Park & Maiko National park.
When it comes to tourism in Congo its just starting to boom as many adventure trips are undertaken to visit the Endangered Species like the Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkey ,Chimpanzee , Eastern lowland gorillas for an ultimate adventure holiday.
Learn about the Kahuzi Biega National park
Kahuzi Biega National Park is home to the largest population of the Eastern Lowland Gorilla in Congo and this makes Congo to rank highly as the best tourists Destination in Africa that has more Tourism Potential to draw the biggest number of Visits to watch the primates found in the world, and the only place in the world where you can visit them. Gorillas are the largest of the primate species, but they are also known as the most gentle and peaceful. They are also one of the closest relatives to humans, second only to the chimpanzee.
Lowland Gorilla Facts
it is estimated that the Lowland Gorilla population is less than 5,000 individuals. Researchers have been unable to conduct extensive surveys since the mid-1990s, but the population is believed to have declined by 70-80% in the last 15 years.
The range of Eastern Lowland Gorillas range is estimated at 21,600 km², a decline of 25% from surveys completed in 1959 and Congo is among the best tourists destination that has the highest number of lowland Gorillas in Africa in Kahuzi Biega National Park. In addition to this, population range is fragmented and separated due to increased human population density and associated activities.
Behavior of Eastern Lowland Gorillas : The Eastern Lowland Gorilla is a sub species closely related to the Mountain Gorilla, which resides in the mountains bordering Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. There are small differences between the two sub species. The Eastern Lowland Gorillas found in Kahuzi Biega are larger in size, with a bigger, longer face and fewer nose prints.
Eastern Lowland Gorillas are peaceful, mainly herbivorous animals that live in groups of 5-30 individuals. Individual males can weigh up to 250kg in captivity, but in the wild they usually weigh 200kg. Females are significantly smaller, with a maximum weight of 110kg. Eastern Lowland Gorillas live in family groups consisting of a large dominant male Gorilla and females and infants. Males are known as “Silverbacks like the Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park” in reference to the distinctive silver hairs on their back upon reaching maturity. Lowland Gorillas are identified by their “nose prints,” which are the patterns of wrinkles on their noses. Each gorilla has a unique nose print.
Gestation Period : The gestation period for female gorillas is 8 ½ months. Lowland Gorilla infants are helpless at birth, learning to walk independently around 9 months. Infant Lowland gorillas are nursed for about 3 years before becoming fully independent. Female gorillas gain maturity around the age of 10 years old and have only one baby every four years, meaning that over the 25 year life span she will only give birth to an average of 3 offspring. The slow reproductive rate means that it can take many years for a population to recover from threats such as hunting and on-going conflict.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Diet: The diet of Eastern Lowland Gorillas mainly consists of leaves, but they have also been observed consuming fruit, seeds, bamboo shoots and insects. Mostly active during the day, they make a new nest each night, with mothers sharing with infants. Watching a gorilla sitting peacefully in the forest eating and socializing is a truly magical experience.
Gorillas communicate in a variety of different ways. Vocal communication occurs between individual gorillas, and within larger groups. Adults and infants have a variety of different calls depending on the situation. “Close” calls are commonly given within the group in situations of either potential separation or potential conflict. Extra-group calls serve to alert group members of potential predation and include “barks” or are given as long-distance threat displays upon detection of another group. These can also be accompanied by chest beating, a common non vocal communication method.View the list of Recommended Gorilla Tour Companies in Congo
My first time experience visiting Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Congo .
I will also not forget my first meeting with the Eastern Lowland gorillas, it was a sound headed sight and the smell led sound which was in form of an awesome, musky- barnyard, human like scent. The surrounding air was lease by variety of screams that were followed by the regular rondo of the sharp pok-pok chest beats from a good silverback male hidden what appeared as an Kahuzi biega, i was worried to look at them but the ranger guide installed confidence in me and i did the gorilla trekking adventure.
Also part of the experience of trekking the Eastern lowland gorillas is also thinking where you will find them! As the name suggests, the lowland gorillas live at low altitudes. Here the sparely jungle, muddy terrain and the altitude can be so tiring and some of the visitors will find the trek so challenging. You have to keep your own pace as you drink plenty of water. Always avoid getting dehydrated.
The Gorilla trekking Rules
- Kahuzi Biega National Park has got regulations and rules of protecting the gorillas as well as the humans that track them.
- The rangers will also do their best to find these gorillas for you. These people are in regular radio contact, as they monitor the health, safety and the mountain gorilla populations.
- Even though there are no tourists that have been hurt by the gorillas, the tourists need to remember always that an adult gorillas is many times stronger than the human and can be bothered by the human activity , most especially in case the gorillas are tending the infants or sick or not in the real mood to the bothered.
- The maximum group size for checking the gorillas is 8 to 10 people per trekking group.
- The gorilla trekkers must be fit and in good health. Tracking is the thick forest at an height of 2,000m, passing the steep mountains and the ravines that can be tough and regularly wet.
- The gorillas are also liable to many human diseases, colds, diarrhea as well as flu. You are also advised not to go gorilla trekking if you have any of those diseases.
- The cough can be so bad to the gorillas. In order to reduce the chances of spreading bacteria or the viruses, cover your nose and mouth in case you want to cough.
- These gorillas can also get diseases from the discarded human rubbish. So please don’t litter or spit as you trek the mountain gorillas.
- Don’t in any way touch the gorillas, even though they come closer since they can be very snooping
- End ever not to make any movements
- In case a gorilla charges, don’t make any movements. Always stay calm and slowly bend down and also avoid direct eye contacts, up to when the gorilla moves away in its own time.
- Always live a distance of 7 metres between you and the gorillas, even though the gorillas might not stick to the rules, in case the these gorillas start moving towards you , the rangers may advise you to move back away from them.
- Don’t ever edge the gorillas. Just view them from a distance and in groups as recommended by the ranger guide.
- Its only one hour that is allowed with the Eastern Lowland gorillas
- Also personal DVD recorders are allowed. The professional film makers also want to buy the filming permits in advance.
- In case you want to the toilet, inform the guide and he will dig for you a hole and make sure that you cover the hole afterwards in order to prevent the transfer of diseases to the gorillas
- You will also be given a list of gorilla trekking rules with the permit and you will be reminded about them as you move.
- Flash photography is also not allowed.