Low land Gorillas in Congo and Nyungwe Chimpanzee present an opportunity to explore the two of the Big Apes. Take time off your schedule to get lost on a Rwanda safari that combines the breathtaking Nyungwe forest and the Kahuzi Biega that has great sights and sounds of a rain forest. Nyungwe harbors more primates and attractions that you can choose to visit if you spare more time.
Kahuzi Biega is one of the existing national parks with lowland Gorillas and is situated in the southern side of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kahuzi Biega National Park
Kahuzi Biega National Park is the only place in the whole world where you can track the critically endangered eastern lowland gorillas; the park is home to about 300 lowland Grauer’s Gorillas.
Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park
The biggest attraction to visitors to the Park is also the world’s biggest primate the eastern lowland gorilla. There are three habituated lowland gorilla families available for trekking every day namely the Bonne Annee family with 8 members, Pungwe family with 23 members, and Chimanuka family with 19 members.
Most tourists who go to Kahuzi-Biega National Park do so to spot Grauer’s gorillas. Eastern lowland gorillas are larger than the mountain gorillas. The specie is making one of its last stands here and faces the possibility of extinction. The census of 2013 discovered 145 individuals in the highland sector of the park, a great decline from the 600 first counted in 1990.
Grauer’s gorillas face threats from poaching (young gorillas for trade), illegal cutting down of trees, encroachment on land for farming and mining coltan. Three Grauer’s lowland gorilla groups are fully habituated and open to tourists in the highlands. Kahuzi-Biega National Park Congo Tracking the gorillas involves hiking though the dense tropical rain forests, swamps and even highlands depending on the last location of the gorilla group.
While tracking the gorillas, it is important to listen to the instructions of the rangers at all times. Tracking can take anywhere between thirty minutes to 6 hours. You are only allowed one hour with the gorillas. Use this time to observe the family keenly. You should be able to spot juveniles playing, females nursing the young ones and the dominant silverback looking out for any danger to the family.
You should also be able to identify the different individuals, personalities and group dynamics. By the end of the activity you will realize just how similar human beings are with gorillas and the more reason why we should protect them at all costs. Permits for gorilla tracking cost $400.
How to get there and away
Travelers to Kahuzi Biega National Park can access the national park by road or air transport, visitors can opt to fly from Kigali International Airport to Goma International Airport then transfer by road to the Park for about 6 hours, alternatively visitors to the park can embark on 6-7 hours drive from Kigali International Airport to Kahuzi Biega National Park via Rusizi border.
Where to stay
There are many accommodation facilities to choose from for visitors who want to trek lowland gorillas in their natural habitat namely Hotel Begonias, Orchids Safari Club, Guesthouse Formulac, Guesthouse de Lwiro, and Mount Kahuzi Hotel among others. For more info about Gorilla Trekking trips in the Democratic Republic of Congo, kindly contact Gorilla Tracking Africa so we tailor your remarkable trip to Africa.
Nyungwe National Park
Nyungwe forest national park is one of the top destinations in Rwanda is that receives a number of visitors and second popular national park after volcanoes national park. It is one of the largest and oldest national parks in Africa which is situated in south western region of Rwanda.
Nyungwe forest national park is the best popular and famous for the chimpanzee trekking experience in Rwanda although it is a home to a number of wildlife animal species and birds.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Nyungwe National Park
Chimp trekking safaris in Rwanda are the second most sold primate activity in Gorilla trekking. Chimp trekking in Rwanda is quite the unique activity and it gives visitors memorable life time experiences of stay in the country. Chimpanzees possess close to 99% of the human DNA making them our closest living relatives and thus Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe can be considered a journey to self-discovery and worthwhile.
Chimpanzee trekking experience, there are over 500 chimpanzee populations in Nyungwe forest national park 90 habituated chimpanzee communities that are open for tourism throughout the year. The habituated chimpanzee communities are found in the different locations within the park such as Nyungwe forest that has about 60 habituated chimpanzee community and Cyamudongo forest that harbors about 30 habituated chimpanzee communities.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park is an early morning activity that starts at 5:00 am with a briefing at the park centers. Nyungwe forest national park has about three sections where the chimpanzee trekking starts from such as kitabi section, Gisakura section as well as the uwinka which known as the park headquarters. During the briefing session visitors are divided into groups of 8 people and they are assigned to different park ranger guides that will guide them as they go for chimpanzee trekking in the forest.
To a chimpanzee community in Nyungwe forest national park will take travelers about 2-6 hours due to the fact that chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest national park are found of moving from one place to another from tree to tree as they search for food of the day in the forest. Visitors who go for chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park are allowed to spend only one hour with the chimpanzee community from the time they have met it. In the one hour experience, travelers are allowed to take photos and with chimpanzees as they de-nest, beast-feed, as well as with the juvenile monkeys.
The habituated chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest national park are so friendly, calm, playful and they are used to the presence of human being they therefore come done from trees when they see people and they will sometimes walk towards them thus give you an opportunity to take clear photos and videos of them.
While trekking chimpanzees in Nyungwe forest travelers will have an insight to encounter with other primate animals such as red tailed monkeys, the olive baboons, silver monkeys, golden monkeys, white and black colobus monkeys, the grey checked mangabey among others. Travelers will as enjoy viewing different bird species such as the Rwenzori bats, purple breasted sun bird among others due to the fact Nyungwe forest national park is one of the birders paradise in Rwanda.
There is an age limit of for one to go chimp trekking in Rwanda and you must be 16 years and above.
How to reach the Park
It takes four hours of driving by road to reach Nyungwe forest from the capital Kigali. One can also take a domestic flight from Kigali to an airstrip close to the park office.
- Nyungwe House
- Gisakura Guest House
- Nyungwe Top View Hotel
Conclusion, Nyungwe Forest and Kahuzi Biega is one of the amazing Rwanda and Congo safari packages aimed at exploring the Chimps in Rwanda and Gorillas in Congo. This trip favors Chimp and Gorilla lovers who have short time in the country.