Kahuzi Biega National Park Overview
Kahuzi Biega National park generates its name from the two volcanoes of Kahuzi and Biega, which are covered by the forest. Its land area makes it one of the biggest national parks in Congo and the whole of Africa sheltering a variety of wildlife life and birds. The park also comprise of marshes, forests, swamps, riparian forests and bogs, which serve as food and shelter for wild animals. In the west of the national park is the dense guineo-congolian wet equatorial rain forest while the mountainous regions are covered by forest vegetation.
The Kahuzi Biega National Park is located in South Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was established in 1970 primarily to conserve the Eastern Lowland Gorilla (also known as Grauer’s gorilla).
While most visitors come to Kahuzi Biega for Gorilla trekking, hiking and camping within the park is a great way to explore the amazing mountain environment.
There are two inactive volcanic mountains within the heart of the national park, which trekkers participate in hiking. Mount kahuzi is the highest sanding at an elevation of 3,308meters above sea level. Alongside mount kahuzi, Biega is yet another in active volcano in the national park which stand at 2,790m above sea level. The summits of the two volcanoes provide travelers with clear views of entire national park, wildlife there and the neighboring communities and countries. More still, bamboo and subalpine vegetation, which harbor various animals, cover these volcanoes hence providing travelers a chance to encounter animals such as owl-faced monkeys and a variety of birds.
Being a home to approximately 342 bird species 42 0f that are endemic to the national park, kahuzi biega is a paradise for great lovers of birds. Among the birds spotted include African green broad bill, yellow crested helmet-shrike, Congo peafowl and Rockefeller’s and many others. The national park is one of the threatened sites put under the protection of the international union conservation area (IUCN).
Kahuzi Biega National Park is home to the largest population of the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, 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.
Visiting the Eastern Lowland Gorillas at Kahuzi Biega is a truly unforgettable experience. There are two eastern lowland gorilla families habituated and ready for trekking, but however, due the vulnerability of these gorillas to human diseases, all trekkers are provided with masks to avoid the spread of human wildlife diseases. Hiking time can range from 30 minutes to six hours in the jungle but an hour strictly is spent interacting with the gorilla after reaching them.
Travelers here follow trails in the tropical rainforest to different tourism sites. These trails lead to different sites such as the Tshibiti waterfalls trails to three waterfalls in the national park. Experienced guides lead travelers and help in spotting different vegetation types and wildlife in the national park. Sweet sounds of birds singing up in the trees are heard by the travelers and of course fresh air which freshens the minds of traveler. By the time travelers leave the forest; they have clear minds and more knowledge about wildlife in the national park hence a memorable experience.
The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is situated in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. It consists of a smaller sector on the eastern side covering part of the Mi-tumba Mountains, and a larger western sector in the Congo central basin. The two zones are connected by a narrow corridor. The entrance to the park is at Tshivanga, on the eastern side.
By Road: You can reach Bukavu by bus or by car from Rwanda via the Cyangungu border, from Burundi via the Uvira border, and from Goma via the road along Lake Kivu (check latest security information for the latter).
By Boat: Several operators travel daily between Goma and Bukavu, with tickets for rapid boats (2 hours) costing on average USD 50 and slower but larger boats (6 hours) costing between USD 8-25. Tickets can be bought at the ports in Goma and Bukavu and it is recommended that you get these at least one day in advance.
By Air: The easiest way to reach Bukavu by air is to fly domestically from Kigali to Kamembe which is the Rwandan town that borders Bukavu. Rwandair flies daily from Kigali to Kamembe (www.rwandair.com)
To the Park
To reach Kahuzi Biega by road transport, it takes approximately 1 to 1½ hours to drive from Bukavu to the entrance of the park depending on traffic. Follow the road heading towards Kavumu Airport and turn left at the intersection in the town of Miti. Keep driving straight until you reach the Tschivanga visitor centre.
We can very well arrange you a self drive or hire a car with our driver to take you there.
Fortunately, travelers to Kahuzi Biega national park are assured of excellent and first class food and sleeping services at affordable prices. The recommended accommodations include L’Orchids safari club, coco lodge, hotel begonias Bukavu, exodus Bukavu, Lakeside hotel Bukavu and Mount kahuzi hotel Bukavu among others. These lodges/hotels have experienced, kind and hospitable people ready to serve you with excellent services at any time of the day/night,
The country has two rainy seasons; the long rains begin from Mid-March to Late May and the short rainy seasons begin from October to November. The rain comes from tropical rain forests in Congo.
Most visitors choose to travel in the best months of June, July, August, and September to February because during these months the amounts in of rainfall has reduced so basically it is sunny in Kahuzi Biega and other destinations. The busiest month in the year is December, it is so in the three National Parks; Maiko, Kahuzi Biega and Virunga. Therefore travelers are advised to make prior bookings of gorilla permits to avoid disappointments.
Congo’s rainy season affects people’s travels though this doesn’t mean that they do not completely travel. They travel because this season has both sunshine and rains. This basically means that the sun always comes out immediately it stops raining and therefore most tourist activities can be carried out without a lot of disturbance.
Months of March-May and from October-November are a low season and hence almost every lodge reduces its rates inorder to attract a number of visitors to book their accommodation with them. This is an advantage because in the same period gorilla permits are sold at a lower cost.
Furthermore, most of DR Congo’s topography is raised hence the climate is ever cool, but, if you are planning to go for a gorilla trek in Kahuzi Biega or any other park, it is important to take note of the easiest gorilla trekking conditions, despite the low rates during the low season. Therefore the best time to go for trekking is in the dry seasons of January-February or June-September. In this time gorillas are easily access because they feed mostly in the lowland areas.
Therefore, Kahuzi Biega National Park is a park of all season which mean it can be visited any time of the year with ease. Make your booking for the gorilla safari with us today!