Top Destinations for Gorilla Trekking in Africa

 

Leading Gorilla tracking Destinations in Africa : Uganda, Rwanda and DR congo.

Gorilla trekking is becoming over and over again a house hold name on every ones what do list when in Africa and particularly to the East African region. Gorillas are gentle and special specie of primates that share aver 98% of human DNA.These splendid and highly endangered great apes still live only in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Uganda these endangered mountain gorillas are tracked in two national parks that’s Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla forest national park both located in the south western part of Uganda in a distance of about 8-10 hours’ drive from the Kampala the capital city. In Rwanda these species are found in the Volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of Rwanda in Ruhengeri Musanze district just about 2-3 hours’ drive from Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali and in DR Congo these giant apes are tracked in the Virunga National park.

Cost of the Gorilla trekking permit in Africa

Mountain gorilla tracking experience is the same in all countries however when it comes to gorilla tracking fees; charges totally differ depending on tourism boards of each country. Mountain gorilla tracking is most expensive to see in Rwanda as a permit here costs a whooping USD 750 per person per tracking to 1500$$$$, in Uganda a permit costs USD 600 per person while in the Democratic republic of Congo a permit costs $400 USD inclusive of park entry fee and ranger guides.

Uganda offers the most permits with up to 12 gorilla families 2 groups are for research purpose(at most, 96 permits would be given out each day) followed by Rwanda which has 10 gorilla families and two gorilla families are research purpose, Democratic Republic of Congo has only 5 gorilla family with only three groups that are most tracked by travelers (The number of families accessible to travelers changes each year depending on how governments balance the need for tourist income and the need for research.). However, to avoid distressing the shy animals, only eight members are allowed to visit in each group per day to hike in search of each gorilla family habituated to human observers sharing almost 95% of human genes. In DRC, sometimes six people only allowed to track inn each group each day in order to reduce the chance of gorillas catching human diseases.

In all countries having a gorilla permits is a guarantee for tracking, however sighting is not a guarantee, but since gorillas are followed on a daily basis, sighting in all locations is up to 98% and above. Tracking in both locations may be sometimes herd as the path to meet these giants may involve passing through muddy, steep mountain slopes for several hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is needed as tracking, may go from a half to full day and don’t forget tracking gears like sturdy pair of walking shoes, long sleeved shirts or blouses, walking sticks, this is provided at the park headquarters, bottled water and sometimes packed lunch. But if lucky you may find these giant apes feeding on the lower slopes or even raid farmers fields outside park boundaries, you may encounter them within 45-1 hour of the trail head. Once they are met of course you will forget all the troubles you’ve gone through during the process of searching them and utilize the one hour you are allowed to stay with them while observing and taking photography and you reminded to keep a distance of 23 feet (7metres) from each animal.

In terms of sighting,  Rwanda offers the best clear photography because the upper slopes of volcanoes national park have open fields and stands of bamboo forest where leafy vegetation is not so thick. Since Bwindi is an impenetrable forest clear views are not always possible, mothers and baby gorillas can be high up a tree feeding or playing and huge silverback always like to take nap inside dense thickets, but of course on each day you have find gorillas in their habitat and photography can be possible and whatever the case may be gorilla tracking experience remains the same.

In terms of distance to the  Rwanda’s park is the most closest when you compare it to Bwindi and Mgahinga Uganda national park and Virungas national park in DRC. Its two hours by car and on good roads from Kigali Rwanda’s capital and largest city to volcanoes national park and also it is the closest to an international airport Kanombe, this means that a one day gorilla safari to Rwanda is possible, if you sleep in Kigali and you want to track gorillas, you have to drive very early in the morning and report to the park headquarters ( kiningi) before its 7:00 then join other trackers to receive short briefing before you head into the jungle for the activity. To reach Bwindi national park is ten hours by road from Entebbe, or a two-hour charter flight from Entebbe to Kihihi airfield , The Virungas National Park can be reached by a half-day road drive from Kigali, but you might encounter delays at the border securing a DRC tourist visa.

When it comes to accommodation option, each country offers good places to stay from up market to budget accommodation. To mention some of the accommodation facilities in Bwindi include Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, Chameleon Hill lodge, Silverback Lodge, Buhoma Lodge, Lake Mutanda Lodge, Gorilla safari Lodge(Luxury), Gorilla Mist, Ruhija Gorilla Friend camp (mid -range), Wagtail (budge). Rwanda has Sabyinya Silverback Lodge, Gorilla Nest Lodge (luxury), Le Bombou Lodge (mid-range), Kinigi Guest House (budget). In the DRC you can sleep at Coco Lodge (Mid range)/Orchid safari Lodge (luxury)/ Hotel Horizon (Budget).

To avoid harassing the shy animals and disturbing them in their habitat, just eight travelers per day are permitted to hike in search of each gorilla family habituated to human observers. Rwanda offers the most permits, with up to ten gorilla families allotted for tourism (at most, 80 permits would be given out each day); Uganda, up to eight families; the DRC, five families. The number of families accessible to travelers changes each year depending on how governments balance the need for tourist income and the need for research. To reduce the chance of gorillas catching human diseases, the DRC sometimes limits the size of trekking groups to six people.

Because gorillas are followed on a daily basis, a sighting in all the locations is virtually guaranteed. You need to be fit because your path may take you up to muddy, steep mountain slopes for several hours. Sometimes gorillas feed on lower slopes or even raid farmer’s fields outside park boundaries. Once gorillas are located, travelers are limited to one hour of observation and photography, and they must try to keep at least 23 feet from each animal.

Because foliage can be dense, clear views are not always possible. Gorilla mothers and babies might be high up a tree feeding or playing. Like human dads trying to escape the kids and grab some shut eye, the huge, charismatic silverbacks that everyone wants to photograph inconveniently like to nap inside dense thickets. Although it’s a crapshoot in what kind of vegetation and in what lighting conditions you will find gorillas on a given day, Rwanda offers the best prospects for unobstructed photographs because the upper slopes of Volcanoes Park have open meadows and stands of bamboo forest where leafy vegetation is not so thick.

When it comes to hospitality, Uganda is a force to reckon with. Ugandans are very hospitable and they welcome whoever comes into their country with widely open hands. The other 2 countries welcome visitors but not to the extent of Ugandans. The other attribute with Uganda is that they widely speak English which aids so much communication between them and any visitor unlike Rwanda and Congo which mostly use their local dialects and French. So this gives Uganda an upper hand over those countries due to the fact that the greatest numbers of visitors speak English more than French.

What to look for while booking car Hire services

 

What to Consider when booking Car rental Services in Africa, Rwanda

The road trips are one of the best safaris in Africa and they might actually be the most favourite and honest safaris for you. Renting a car gives mush freedom since you can stop wherever and whenever you want. You can even decide to avoid the crowded tourist areas by going at unusual times since you have got your own vehicle. Below are the vital things to look out for when hiring a vehicle from Kigali Car rental the leading car hire firm .

Consider the Location; Always when travelling, always pick up cars from the airport since you will quickly find that you can choose whether to choose an on or offsite option. The onsite rental companies have got the easiest options. Here you can walk directly to the office and they give you a key and you definitely find the car in parking. And when it comes to the offsite airport rental companies, you may have to take a shuttle to their office or call them to send a pick up for you. It’s also better to use the site option. Always be aware that hiring from one location and returning to another incurs a fee and will therefore be more expensive. Even though you are hiring from the city centre, this can be cheaper than airport rental companies.

Check the cancellation policy; this helps in finding a company that lets you cancel up to 24 hours before the date you collect the car. Anything can happen at any time and in case your flight gets cancelled or delayed, you can be able to get a refund for your car. Chose a company has got a descent cancellation policy and it will help to show you if there are any additional fees in case you have to cancel your trip.

Always consider Patrol/Gas/ Fuel; some of the cars have got a full to empty policy; this means that you have to pay for full tank when you pick the car up but you can return it when it’s empty. This may seem very convenient but it adds extra costs. Always avoid this since you can take a car with half or quarter a tank and you have to return it when it’s a full tank which means extra costs. Always be sure to double check what sort of fuel your car takes. Don’t go filling your diesel with petrol.

The drivers; Are you the only driver or you require a driver for your car hire. If you are the only driver, this will reduce the costs. Some of the companies are so good and will work with you and only to pay a small fee when you are adding other drivers. For the long drives, adding a co driver will be vital in case the main driver gets tired while driving or gets sick or injured.

Consider GPS and other extras; the rental companies will always offer you the ads on like the sat Navs or the in car charging devices. Some of the cars have these devices installed already and some of the cars have got USB ports charging and once you have date on your data, the phone can also be your map. You can find the inbuilt screen for music and GPS maps. You must check before renting any accessories from the hire car company.

The model of the car is vital; it’s good to look at the amount of seats and the number of doors that the car has got. The car shown might not be the one that you are going to get. Always be aware of this because many people go into war about this, so always read the print well. Always book a 4 wheel drive with four door model.

The convey ion of the car; there would be nothing bad than someone coming to recover their car only to find that they can’t drive it. So when you are booking a car in Uganda, it’s important that you ensure they are booking a transmission that he or she can drive. They must have a realistic view of their driving abilities as well.

Mutual communication; it’s important between the two parties ie.the client and the company are able to communicate in the same understanding language. The language of the GPS must be understood if the traveller intends to hire the car and the GPS. This will help in not missing out on certain aspects of car rental agreements.

You must also consider the car rental company operating hours; the operating hours stand one of the biggest and important factors which the travellers should consider before booking their vehicle in the company operating hours. The 24 hour drop off and pick up service option not only allows the travellers to plan time around their schedule but also to be aground or locked out in case they reach after 5:00pm. The flexibility will give the vacationers extra peace of mind while they are adventuring a new locale and save money when using airport car rental transfers.

What to Pack for Your Kahuzi Biega Gorilla Vacation

 

You are headed to  Kahuzi biega National Park where you will find the eastern lowland gorilals and more wildlife than anywhere else in the world as democratic republic of congo is known for special species like the eastern lowland gorillas, peacock and other primates. From high mountain peaks to green valleys and various rivers in the jungle of kahuzi biega, there are hundreds of places to explore with special things to do in the wilderness of Congo. But how do you pack for  Kahuzi biega gorilla trekking? Here are the top 8 items to put in your backpack.

1. Binoculars or a Spotting Scope to See Birds  and smaller primates.

Don’t miss seeing that birding in the kahuzi biega  across mountain kahuzi and mount biega that are forming the park that is known for spotting the gorillas .  Bring along a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope to see all the wildlife Kahuzi Biega has to offer. It’s worth talking to your local safari company about the different types of binoculars for sale as not all are created equal. You don’t want to end up with an extraordinarily weak pair, nor a pair too heavy to hike with.  Photo tip: Put your cell phone camera up to the spotting scope lens to take a close-up shot of primate photos in the distance.

2. A Sun Hat, Sunglasses and Sunscreen

You only need to have experienced the sun in the West one time before you realize how strong it really is, especially since Kahuzi Biega  sits at an average elevation of 8,000. Bring a wide-brimmed hat, which is preferable over a baseball cap, to cover your entire face.

Then, apply sunscreen over all exposed skin, including the back of your neck. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from being burned and polarized lens will help you see views more clearly. Don’t forget you are 8,000 feet closer to the sun than at sea level. Purchase sunglass straps if you plan to be on the water- it can be frustrating watching your new sunglasses float downstream without you.

3. Sturdy Hiking Boots

To make the most out of your trip, pack a pair of supportive, waterproof and breathable hiking boots. The advantage to boots over athletic shoes is the hard, unyielding sole that will protect your feet as you walk over rocky surfaces. Boots will allow you to navigate wet and dry trails with ease and enable you to explore farther than you maybe would have. To get you started on your research, one of our staff members raves about his Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX. Our friends at Backpacker really liked the 2016 Vasque Skywalks GTS.

4. A Rain Jacket

Who brings rain jacket to the dry West? We do. Every time we visit. In summer, afternoon rainstorms roll in almost like clockwork. The good news is they pass quickly. The bad news is the temperature drops dramatically when it rains, turning a warm day into one that feels freezing. When it rains and temperatures plummet, you want a jacket that can keep you warm and dry.

5. A Couple Water Bottles or a Hydration System

The average elevation of Yellowstone National Park is 8,000 feet. Combat the effects of high elevation and sun by drinking water almost constantly. Because the air is dry, your sweat quickly evaporates. Often, you won’t know you are sweating. Drinking water ensures you won’t get dehydrated, which can lead to headaches and more serious conditions like heat cramps and heat stroke. Plan to drink .5 -1 liter per hour of hiking. Even when you are not recreating, be sure to keep drinking. If your urine is clear, you are hydrated. We love bringing along our CamelBak, which allows us to keep sipping even as we are on the move.

6. Warm and Cold Clothing Layers

When you are sitting in sweltering heat in Chicago, it may seem totally ridiculous to pack a winter hat and warm layers for your Yellowstone trip. Ignore your inner cynic. At 8,000 feet, park temperatures can fluctuate 30 degrees in one day, going from 40 F in the night to 70 F in the day. Be sure to pack light layers for daytime and others that will keep you warm in the evenings, including a winter hat, when the sun sets and cooler air moves in. You will be surprised at how quickly temperatures drop as the sun sets.

7. A Star Chart

You’ll find some of the darkest skies in Kahuzi Biega, which hundreds of miles from major cities. With a star chart, you’ll be able to identify some of the formations you may never have seen before, specially if you are coming from an urban environment. You may be able to see up to 15,000 stars in the Wyoming sky in comparison to 500 in an urban sky. It’s far out!

8. Bug Spray

Spend more time enjoying the scenery instead of swatting bugs. If you don’t want to use traditional formulas that do or do not include strong chemicals, there are plenty of bug sprays available these days that are made from natural ingredients and are safer for use by children.

Africa’s oldest national park faces closure.

 

Africa’s oldest national park of Virunga faces closure due to the fact that the park is having security problem as revealed on 11 May communication from Virunga Officials to suspend the tourists activities in the park which included gorilla trekking , Nyiragongo Hiking , Chimpanzee Tracking & Rwenzori mountaineering plus sight seeing the virunga mountains of democratic republic of congo .

According to the park officials that held meeting with various stakeholders , they had promised to un suspend tourists activities in virunga on 04/06/2018, the park decided to communicate today that the park has been closed till next year.

Virunga National Park Foundation has announced the temporary closure of Virunga National Park on june 4 due to Security issues that saw the kidnap of the two travelers.

How to Find For Hiring a Self Drive Car in Uganda

 

Using a hired car is a great way to get around when you’re on holiday but there are a few things you need to know when making your booking. There are many car hire companies to choose from, so you may wish to look around before you decide which one to go with.

Booking your hire car online makes the whole process easy, and you may find that it costs less too. You can book at any time and can look through the website to see what types of hire car are available. The hire car company’s site will also provide additional information about the car hire process, including any restrictions that may be imposed. It’s a good idea to pick up your hire car from the airport, as you can just load your bags straight into it and drive to your hotel, and it’s simple to return the hire car before you fly home.

Here are some things to consider when booking a hire car online:

Car hire firms have age restrictions in place. If you are a young driver or wish to share the driving with someone who is young, you’ll need to look into this. The minimum age limits vary from as young as 18 up to 25, depending on the company and the destination. Sometimes young drivers must pay a supplement.

If you plan to share the driving with other people, they will also need to have their documents with them. Their details must be given to the car hire firm and they must comply with all restrictions and regulations and above all every person who will be driving must have a valid driver’s license.

You can’t usually pay for your hire car in cash, so make sure the main driver has a valid credit card. And for Uganda’s case most of the competent companies always prefer being paid cash on arrival. This helps to instill some confidence in the intending car hirer.

Always book your hire car well in advance in order to avoid last minute disappointment.

If you intend to cross state lines or national borders, make sure that your car hire agreement allows this.

Check that the car hire company allows you unlimited mileage if you plan to take long distance trips.

If you intend to pick up the hire car at one destination and drop it off at another, be aware that this may incur an extra charge. Not all car hire companies offer this service, so ensure that it is allowed before making your plans.

Book any necessary extras when booking your hire car. For ideas about the kind of extras that are available when hiring a car, check out our hire car extras page.

Always look at the total cost of everything before confirming your booking, as you may find you haven’t taken into account charges that are added to the basic rate.

Things to Check Before You Leave

It’s a great idea to hire a car when you’re travelling abroad, as it will give you the freedom to explore your destination at your own pace. If you decide to hire a car for your trip, there are some things you will need to do and consider before you leave home.

Here are some pointers to help to make hiring a car as easy as possible:

Work out the number of days that you will need the car for. Do you want the convenience of picking up your hire car from the airport after landing? Alternatively, if you’ve had a long flight, you may be tired and want to wait until the next day before tackling the roads.

Booking a hire car online is quick and easy and you can make a booking at any time of the night or day. You can look up all the information that you’ll need, including hire car insurance details, age restrictions and the locations of the car hire company. You can also print off anything you may wish to keep for further reference.

Make sure that you are taking out the correct insurance for your needs, and don’t forget to ask how much the excess will be if you should need to claim

If you are travelling with other people, make sure you that find out how much luggage they intend to take. You don’t want to hire a small car only to find that the cases won’t fit in the boot. You’ll also need to take the number of people travelling and their sizes into account. Whilst children will be perfectly comfortable in the back of an economy car, larger adults may not

If there are young children in your party, remember to request baby chairs or children’s booster seats for your hire car. You’ll also need to be aware of your destination country’s laws regarding the ages, weights and heights that children need to be before they are allowed to travel without these constraints.

Think about the length of the journeys that you intend to make in your hire car, larger cars provide more legroom and are more comfortable for longer trips. The size of the engine is another factor to consider.

Think about where you are going on your holiday and where you will be visiting. Even if you only take a day trip into the desert, you will definitely need a car with air conditioning. As a minimum, you should always carry a bottle of water with you in the car.

Check the car hire company’s opening hours. Your flight may be landing after they have closed for the day if it is, some companies will wait for you if you provide your flight details in advance.

Remember to allow for disembarking and baggage claim times along with the trip from the terminal to the car hire outlet. Give your flight details to the car hire firm so that they will know what has happened to you if you are severely delayed. Check to see if there is a shuttle that will take you to the hire car collection point.

Remember to take your car hire details and relevant documents with you; these include any reservation numbers or vouchers, and the address and telephone number of the location from which you’ll be picking up your hire car. You will also need both parts of your driver’s license, your passport and any necessary international driver’s permits. It’s useful to keep your passport with you at all times for ID purposes (this also applies to anyone who will be sharing the driving). The driver will also need a credit card, and any other ID that the car hire company may request to cover any local charges or excess payments. They may even require your boarding card, so be careful not to throw it away after disembarking.

If you have a disability, you will probably need to pack your disabled parking sticker. If possible, keep these items safe in your hand luggage so they are available when you hire your car.

It’s always a good idea to inform your credit card company that you will be using your card abroad.

Before you go, invest in a good map of the area that you’ll be visiting, and keep it in your hire car. It is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the traffic signs and service station availability that you’ll encounter on your trip.

It’s useful to carry a mobile phone in your hire car in case of an emergency, but you may need to ask your phone company to unlock it for use abroad beforehand.

Remember to carry driving glasses if you need them. You should also keep sunglasses in your hire car, to cut down on glare in sunny weather.

Tshiabati Waterfalls Trail in Kahuzi Biega National Park

 

The trail follows a well-defined footpath which runs as close to the edge of the two rivers as possible to provide spectacular views of the waterfalls. The path includes a large number of steps which means that it is unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. We would advise wearing walking boots or strong shoes.

Cost of Gorilla Permit in Africa

 

Cost of the Gorilla permit in Africa, Africa Gorilla Trekking

As its well known that mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas are mainly done in Africa, going on a gorilla trek safari in Africa will require you to have secured the gorilla permit for the gorilla trekking experience which can be combined with tanzania wildlife safari or climbing Kilimanjaro mountain  . its the same case to all destination where gorilla trekking is done  that is Rwanda( Volcanoes National Park) Uganda ( Bwindi & Mgahinga National Park) Dr congo  ( Virunga National Park, Kahuzi Biega national park & maiko National Park ) in Republic of congo ( odzala National Park) for the western lowland gorillas.

Although the activity of gorilla tracking is regarded as the most expensive adventurous safari activity, it’s known as the most selling safari activity attracting a huge number of traveling whole over the world who jet in for a glance at our closest relatives. The activity is expensive but so rewarding, having a closes encounter with these few remaining giants is regarded as a moment in life very difficult to forget and it requires one to have a real time experience. The fees for the gorilla permit differ from country and park where these giants are hosted. It should be noted that owning a gorilla permit is an assurance for tracking the gorillas; no one is allowed to track the gorillas without presenting a gorilla permit in other words it’s a passport for tracking our closest relatives in their natural habitat deep into the forest.

Africa Gorilla permit

The gorilla tracking fee in Uganda is apparently at usd600 and this applies in the high season months which is from June to October and December to February for foreign non residents and USD for foreign residents, UGX250,000 for east Africa citizens, however to also give a chance to others interested in gorilla tracking , the Uganda wildlife Authority introduced discounted gorilla permits at a fee of  usd450 and 150,000 for east African citizens. This fee applies in the low season months which start from March-May and September; this has given room to enable each and everyone to have a chance of participating in the gorilla tracking activity. Note: the discounted gorilla permits goes up to this year with effect of next year 2018 there will be no permits sold at discounted rate, rush and book your permit before the end of this year to stand a chance to track the gorillas on a discounted rate.  Uganda gorilla permits can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) headquarters which are located at Kamwokya Kampala, you can get a gorilla permit direct at UWA or you can book them through a tour and travel company/agency since they have easy access of the gorilla permits than an individual they can buy them up to 2-3 months.

Gorilla permits of Rwanda are sold at the Rwanda development board in Kigali; you can also access them at the park headquarters in Kiningi. Rwanda gorilla permits were recently increased from usd750 to usd1500 per person tracking.  Whereas in the Democratic republic of Congo, mountain gorilla permits costs usd400, discounted gorillas permits are at a fee usd200 during the rainy seasons which starts from march to may and November, so rush and book Congo gorilla permits, DR. Congo gorilla safaris begins from either Kigali Rwanda or Uganda, the fees for all gorilla permits includes park entrance and ranger guide fees. in case you need a porter, they are readily available at the park headquarters for hire at a fee ranging from usd10-15. Hiring a porter is not exploitative; it’s how locals earn a living from tourists. Porters will help you to carry your luggage; they will even carry you in case you are tired.  You will also need to budget for visa fees costs, transfer and a local service fee approx., USD 40-50. It should be very significant to note that the governments often increases the gorilla permit fees without notice, you are recommended to always consult from your travel agency/tour and travel company organizing your gorilla tracking safari about the cost of a gorilla permit and visa fees of the country you are going to track from.  Also, always plan for the highest amount so that you don’t get disenchanted on your grate memorable gorilla tour.

Having gorilla permits is a guarantee for gorilla tracking although not a guarantee for sighting, chances of coming into contact with our closes relatives is about 97% and above. in Uganda mountain gorillas are hosted in two national parks including Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga gorilla forest national park, both parks are located in the south western part of Uganda and Uganda is recorded for housing the highest number of these remaining apes, over 480 mountain gorillas live in Uganda out of 880 that remained world-wide. In Rwanda gorillas live in volcanoes national park in the northern part of Rwanda and in Democratic republic of Congo, they live in the Virunga national park. Each park allows only eight members who have fully paid the gorilla tracking fee to track in each gorilla family this is to ensure that the gorilla’s exposure to human is limited. Once the gorillas are met, you are strictly allowed only one hour with the gorillas in their natural habitat, the one hour gives you the chance to come close to the gorillas, learn their behaviors as well as taking as many photos and videos with them. Uganda sell over 98 permits per day both in Bwindi and Mgahinga national park, Rwanda sells about 88 permits per days and Rwanda aprox 55 per day, and over 80% of the gorilla permits is used by government especially in Uganda to continue in the outstanding work of protecting the endangered mountain gorillas and the rest of the money is given to local communities especially those who live near the gorilla parks to improve on their standards of living

When to go gorilla tracking in Africa

All year round you can go gorilla tracking depending on your interest, although there are some specific months suitable for gorilla tracking especially the dry season months, these include June to October and December to February. During the dry seasons, the roads and gorilla paths are passable giving rooms for a successful gorilla tracking. The wet season months begins in the late March to May and November, during the wet season months, the roads and gorilla treks are impassable which makes gorilla trek difficult. Whether dry or wet season, the experience of gorilla tracking remains the same.

The actual  Africa gorilla tracking experience

The gorilla tracking process starts very early in the morning after a shot briefings from the park wardens about the dos and don’ts while with the gorillas  and also gets you allocated to the gorilla family to track from and the ranger guide. The ranger guide will lead you into the thick rain forest where the activity is done; you will pass through the thick, sleepy and sometimes muddy forest while searching the gorillas, some levels of physical fitness is needed as well as tracking gears. The Tracking time is unpredictable however, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours. Only one hour is allowed with the gorillas once they are met, The rest of the hours they are left free, this is to ensure that gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes, so they can easily catch human diseases.

Once the time is up, the guide will lead you back to the headquarters to receive a certificate of fully participating and completing the activity and later you will be driven back to the starting point to receive a certificate of participating and completing the gorilla tracking activity and later you will be lead back to the lodge for relaxation and lunch/dinner. All the gorilla families visited are habituated to human standards and they can be visited safely without any harm caused to human. Nobody forces them to stay with us for the selected hour, and they can fade into the forest as you disappear, if they wish to do so. Plan your gorilla safari today and participate in the conservation process of our closest relatives.

 

Gorilla Trekking about Filming

Congo Eastern lowland Gorilla Filming

 

Kahuzi Biega National Park DR Congo, Eastern Lowland gorillas Filming Safaris.

Kahuzi Biega national Park is located in the eastern part of democratic republic of congo , with Bukavu as the capital of South Kivu. From Bukavu you can film lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National park, Idjwi Island on Lake Kivu, and Minova village.

Goma is the capital of North Kivu. From Goma you can film Virunga National Park mountain gorillas, elephants, lions, hippos and buffaloes. Volcano in the Virunga Mountains include Mount Sabyinyo, Mount Mikeno, and Nyamuragira. Mount Nyiragongo is home to the world’s largest lava lake.

 Kahuzi Biéga National Park is home to one of the last troops of eastern lowland gorillas, a subspecies indigenous to the country and the second destination where Eastern Lowland gorilla can be spotted is the maiko national park, located  near benni in democratic republic of congo.

Given that  national parks are located in the eastern part of Congo, from a logistics point of view, filming safaris visiting productions are better off accessing them through Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

Gorilla Film Permits

The Travelers coming to Kahuzi Biega National Park for gorilla filming adventure, you wont require to secure the Photo permit as the case for Journalist that will require to have accreditation Permit serves as a film permit to shoot in public locations across the country.

Please Note the following while on a Congo Filming  Safari

The DR Congo has no specific permitting system in place so location permits are negotiated on a case by case basis. Unauthorized filming of government buildings, military installations, and along border areas is illegal and may result in arrest and confiscation of film equipment.  Additional permission is also required for shoots that require exclusive use of public space, traffic control, filming in markets, national parks and drone filming.

Are you planning to Film Eastern Lowland Gorilla in Kahuzi Biega?

Planning for Filming safari in Kahuzi Biega National Park, Prefect visit to the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park located in Democratic republic of congo.Explore the great adventure to visit the various gorilla groups on a filming expeditions to DR congo.

Trip for gorilla trekkers can easily record gorilla videos while on 2 Days Uganda Gorilla Safaris using their camera its accepted by Uganda wildlife authority and the same works in Kahuzi Biega National Park for memories but making an extra effort to Undertake filming Gorilla Safari to watch the Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega or the mountain gorillas in Virunga Mountains  &  Bwindi,take a video shooting in Africa while on Self drive Safari to Africa.

When To Shoot the Eastern Lowland gorillas ?

South of the equator, the rainy season lasts from October to April and the dry season runs from May to September. North of the equator, the rainy season lasts from April to November and the dry season runs from December to March. The dry season is the best time to film for weather and wildlife. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Primate Safari Holidays

We have been selling primate experiences – whether gorilla trekking,chimpanzee tracking or orangutan tours – for over 20 years and such is our knowledge, that over this time we have arranged tours for ITV and BBC film crews, shown CNN journalists.

We recommended Reliable Safari companies that are based in Eastern Congo to help you plan a Gorilla Filming Safari adventure to Kahuzi Biega & Virunga National Park in North Kivu.

Visas & Work Permits

Most passport holders require a visa to enter the DRC. Apply for a regular tourist visa at your closest DRC consulate or embassy. As well as all of the usual documents applicants must also include an invitation from our local DRC fixer, as well as proof of vaccination against yellow fever. For film crew travelling on US passports see here for more information. Once you arrive in the DRC, our DRC fixer makes an application with the Ministry of Communication and Media for a Journalist Accreditation Permit for each crew member. This permit allows crews to film at public locations across the country.

Kahuzi Biega National Park

Gorilla Habituation Safaris as an Activity by Potential Visitors

 

Gorilla Habituation Safari Experience in Rwanda , Uganda and DR congo

Uganda and Rwanda in particular have several mountain gorilla families habituated for purposes of tourism and research. The process of mountain gorilla habituation can take from two to three years to be completed. Habituation in Uganda is done by a group of researchers, who operated under the department of Research and monitoring which is under Uganda Wildlife Authority,

The exercise involves visiting a selected family of wild gorillas every day until it gets used to these researchers. With time, all gorilla individuals are identified in terms of their sex, age and later given names. Once researchers are confident enough that these gorillas can be visited by tourists, they conduct a mock exercise/trips for six to eight months. Once this is successful, then the habituated family is opened for tourism.

Since 1993, about 12 gorilla groups and families have been habituated for tourism and research and of these are Mubare Gorilla group which was habituated and opened for tourism in the same year. Mubare became the first gorilla group to be trekked by tourists which later paved way to other families for habituation. In Buhoma region, two more families were added on to Mubare and these are Rushegura which in most cases is closer to the Park head Quarters and then Habinyanja gorillas group.

In the nearby eastern region of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, three gorilla families are now habituated and they include Bitukura group, Oruzogo and then Kyaguriro which is meant for research. In the southern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, there has been lots of dynamics where the few habituated gorilla families have split up to give to new families. In total, Rushaga region has Nshongi, Mishaya, Busingye, Kahungye and Bweza while in Nkuringo, we do have one habituated gorilla family in the names of Nkuringo group.

In Uganda, the body responsible for tourism in the country-Uganda wildlife authority has also included gorilla habituation among the activities clients will start indulging into on their visit to Bwindi impenetrable forest.

The process for gorilla habituation’s experience will start in the morning where the clients will spend more time with the gorilla’s in the park through the process of Gorilla habituation’s experience that will take place in Rushaga which has as many gorilla families that have already habituated, this will be an opportunity for everyone from and around the world to engage in the process given that the spaces are available every day. It needs a mention that every client or tourists who would wish to do this activity book the safari in Advance.

Gorilla habituation experience is very enjoyable that it is unique to the extent of the involvement of Gorilla tracking and at the same time of Gorilla habituation’s experience. Gatatu Safaris as a registered tour and travel company in Uganda will help you book this safari and secure for you a gorilla permit that will lead you for Gorilla habituation experience only and only in Bwindi impenetrable National park in Uganda.

In the Virunga Ranges that are shared between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic republic of Congo, over 14 gorillas familes have been habituated with one gorilla family called Nyakagezi located in Uganda’s Mgahinga National Park, about 10 or so gorilla groups located in Volocanoes National Park in Rwanda where most of these gorillas are spread in popular volcanic mountains which include Mgahinga, Muhavura, Sabimyo, Karusimbi and Bisoke among others. The other familes habituated for tourism are in Democratic republic of Congo in the extensive Virunga National Park.

Gorilla trekking in Virunga National park is on and off because of the political instabilities that are a characteristic of the eastern part of this vast country.

Lowland Gorilla Safaris in Kahuzi Biega National Park

 

Lowland Gorilla Trekking in DR Congo- Kahuzi Biega National Park

Kahuzi biega national park was founded in 1939 and later a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, Kahuzi – Biega National Park remains the last stronghold of the eastern lowland gorillas, numbering around 250 individuals with three habituated families. Dominated by two huge extinct volcanoes (Kahuzi and Biega) this vast area of primary tropical forest is a sprawling park of lush, rolling hills and thick jungle. It is the second most important site of the region for both endemic species and in terms of specific diversity.

Situated near the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border, Kahuzi – Biega is a national park protected near Bukavu town in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Everyone is talking about mountain gorillas in Virunga, Volcanoes and Bwindi national parks, but lowland gorillas are even more exciting, worth every dollar to spend an hour deep in the forest with wild Graurer’s lowland gorillas.

Among the 136 species of mammals identified in the park, the eastern lowland gorilla is the most prominent. According to a 2008 status report of the DR of Congo, the park had 125 lowland gorillas, a marked reduction from the figure of 600 gorillas of the pre-1990’s conflict period, and consequently the species has been listed in the endangered list. The park is the last refuge of this rare species. According to the census survey of eastern lowland gorillas reported by the Wildlife Conservation Society in April 2011, at least 181 gorillas were recorded in the park.

There are nine gorilla families in Kahuzi Biega. Two are habituated for visitors, Chimanuka and Mugaruka, both named after the dominant male silver back. Chimanuka is the silver back of a large family containing 36 members. Along with him there are 17 females and 18 infants aging from 6 months to 9 years old. The family is famous for having 4 sets of twins, a phenomenon unseen in any Eastern Gorilla populations.

Lowland gorilla trekking tour in Congo is one of the highly rewarding Congo gorilla safaris that will allow you to trek the thrilling Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park. The 3 days gorilla safari to DR. Congo will offer you an opportunity to encounter the lowland gorillas in their natural habitat of Kahuzi Biega National Park- DR Congo if you book with Budget gorilla trekking guide.

Upon your arrival in Kigali international Airport, you will be welcomed by our company representative who will transfer you to Bukavu in Congo. The journey will take you through Butare, where you will have stopover to visit the national museum of Rwanda, the king’s palace in Nyanza, and the Rwanda genocide memorial site. Thereafter, you will proceed with the drive crossing via Cyangugu boarder to Bukavu in Congo. On arrival to Bukavu, you will advance with the drive to your pre – booked lodge in Bukavu for dinner and overnight.

Rise up for early morning breakfast and transfer to the park headquarters for an early morning briefing about the dos and don’ts of budget  gorilla tours in Kahuzi Biega National park. The visit includes a security briefing and a small story about the gorillas that live there and then you go for a walk with a park ranger to see them. After briefing, you will head for the unforgettable adventure of tracking the lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National park. Trekking lowland Gorillas offers unique experience of its own and it usually takes 1-4 hours while observing and watching them interact with each other as you take photos and video in their habitat.

Unlike the Mountain Gorillas, the Eastern Lowland Gorillas are larger in size with gigantic hands, short muzzle and stocky body presenting a more exciting experience. After one memorable hour of encounter with the lowland gorillas, you will retire back to the lodge for lunch and relaxation. After lunch, embark on an afternoon nature walk in the Kahuzi Biega Park. Retreat from the activity and spend the rest of the day at leisure enjoying the lodge

You can also visit Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre (CPRL) located close to the park headquarters.  A visit to the sanctuary can be easily combined with a gorilla trek in a day trip from Bukavu. Ask your tour operator or park staff to arrange a visit to the sanctuary. Entrance for foreigners is $25, which goes directly towards the costs of managing the sanctuary

CRPL takes care of 72 chimpanzees and 92 monkeys of 11 different species, together with parrots, turtles, hyrax and porcupine. All these animals have been victims of poaching and pet trade.

Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre (CPRL) was established in 2002 to provide care and rehabilitation for orphaned primates, while working to ensure their survival in the wild. It is located on the grounds of CRSN, the Congolese Government Scientific Research Centre, which is located in an old Belgian colonial building. The sanctuary works closely with the ICCN and currently cares for 49 chimpanzees and over 60 monkeys. Other activities undertaken include education programs for local people, children, military and tourists. The old Belgian research centre located on the grounds also has some fascinating exhibits.