Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking In Kahuzi Biega National Park Congo

Eastern lowland gorillas are different from mountain gorillas in numerous ways.

Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking In Kahuzi Biega National Park Congo

Are you looking for eastern lowland gorilla trekking experience in Kahuzi Biega national park Congo? Well, gorillas are apes living in large forests, swamps and lowland areas of west, east and central Africa. The only two species of gorillas and these are the western gorillas and the eastern gorillas. The western gorilla is further divided into cross river gorilla and wetland gorilla while the eastern gorilla is divided into mountain gorilla and eastern lowland gorillas. The eastern lowland gorillas are found in Kahuzi Biega national park only while the western lowland gorillas are common in zoos, distributed in regions of Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Angola central republic, Equatorial Guinea, democratic republic of Congo as well as Cameroon.

Mountain gorillas can only be found in Uganda, democratic republic of Congo and Rwanda. Odzala national park in Congo Brazzaville is a home to number of western lowland gorillas. Because most of these gorillas live in remote areas, researchers find it hard to guess their exact population. The first thought of number of western lowland gorillas was 100,000 in 1980’s. However the recent search and discovery made by researchers and conservationists show that there are about 125,000 gorillas in the remote swampy areas in the north of Congo Brazzaville

Just like mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas are quiet and peaceful apes. They can bark, scream and roar when attacked or when there is a need. Gorillas don’t attack without offense. The males once in a while fight over females but not every day. Gorillas use a variety of sounds and body language while communicating. Gorillas spend their days climbing, grooming and swinging on trees while chasing each other peacefully. Gorillas feed on leaves, fruits, stems, shrubs, small insects and small primates. Mountain gorillas groups contain individuals in between 20 to 30 individuals much higher than the numbers in eastern lowland groups.

Both eastern lowland gorillas’ and mountain gorillas live in groups led by a male silver back. Before taking over from the dominant silverback, males in the group live as bachelors. Female gorillas move on to join a male which is lone once they reach a certain age. Females are well known for changing their groups throughout their entire life. Because gorillas have a comfortable weight and size, gorillas live most of their times on the ground unlike younger ones which climb up the trees. Both the mountain gorilla and eastern lowland gorillas build their nests on the ground to rest in the middle of the day when tired and in the evening using shrubs, leaves, and tree branches. But juveniles and female gorillas can built their nests on top of trees.

Eastern lowland gorillas are different from mountain gorillas in numerous ways. These gorillas have browner coats and a silver on the male’s back extending to the lower body including the thighs. They are small in size and have a larger and wide skull compared to mountain gorillas. Eastern lowland gorillas are more mobile compared to mountain gorillas this is because their habits spread over to large areas. For both gorillas, the male gorillas are always bigger than the female gorillas in size. Eastern lowland gorillas are more intelligent and have been seen using a variety of tools in the wild. Researchers and conservationists have seen them testing the depth of swamps and waters before deciding whether to cross to the other ends. In captivity, eastern lowland gorillas have shown exceptional ability to learn sign languages. Eastern lowland gorillas are considered to be among endangered animals and they are included in the international union for conservation of nature among the list of species that need protection. Because they live in religions that are unstable, eastern lowland gorillas are killed for meat and they sometimes caught in fights with rebels

Eastern lowland gorilla’s habitats are destroyed by humans who are interested in mining, logging, framing, expanding grazing lands and creating new settlement. Diseases such as Ebola have been found out killing a number of gorilla families but researchers and conservationists have been and are still working tirelessly to ensure the survival of these gorillas. The world wildlife fund organization has taken the lead in attracting funds and uplifting awareness about the need for closer monitoring and conservation of eastern lowland gorillas.

Eastern lowland gorilla trekking in Kahuzi- Biega national park

Even though the population of lowland gorillas is high, it’s much easier to trek mountain gorillas. The area covered by lowland gorillas is big requiring much effort to habituate them. The higher opportunities of seeing lowland gorillas are in African republic and Congo Brazzaville which have the highest number of lowland gorillas. How ever seeing these gorillas in these areas is difficult because of they are found in remote areas with poor infrastructure. The most favorable area to track down lowland gorillas is democratic republic of Congo. The country has been volatile but has become relatively peaceful in the recent years because of having a largest UN peace keeping mission in the world. Visitors in democratic republic of Congo can trek eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega national park or western lowland gorillas in Maiko national park.  There are about 400 eastern lowland gorillas living in Kahuzi- Biega national park and they’re in 9 groups. 3 of the nine groups have been habituated and are open for gorilla trekking throughout the year. Kahuzi-Biega national park is located in the eastern park of Democratic Republic of Congo near Lake Kivu and Lake Bukavu. The park was named after Mountain Khuzi and Mountain Biega and is one of the biggest national parks in Democratic Republic of Congo

How is Eastern lowland gorilla trekking done in Kahuzi-Biega?

Eastern lowland gorilla trekking is a place for only those who have extra interest in primates or those who would love to have a different experience from the usual. The winnings apart from spotting eastern lowland gorillas is seeing areas that have never been visited before. Tracking eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega begins with briefing at Tshivanga visitor center located outside the park entrance. The park guide will brief you about the rules and regulations regarding lowland gorilla trekking as they share with visitors facts about gorilla families. After briefing, tourists are guided through established trails in search for gorillas. Eastern gorillas are always moving and searching them is easy as it takes about an hour or two. Tourists will always spot the young ones playing and they will look for the silverbacks. You will then be allowed an hour with the eastern lowland gorillas as you observe their behavior while taking some photos

How is eastern lowland gorilla trekking compared to mountain gorilla safari?

One of the things to bear in mind is that mountain gorillas are only tracked in Uganda, Rwanda and democratic republic of Congo. The total population of endangered mountain gorillas is bout 1000. The eastern lowland population of mountain gorillas has reduced and is less than 5000 on earth. It’s the western lowland gorillas that have the highest population in the world. Mountain gorilla tracking in DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda is very well organized as gorillas are found in accessible areas. There are more habituated mountain gorilla families than lowland gorilla families with Uganda having 14 habituated mountain gorilla families.

The rate at which you successfully find eastern lowland gorillas is low compared to mountain gorillas. This is so because lowland gorillas live in remote areas moving looking for food. They move at a faster speed and catching with them is more difficult. Tracking mountain gorillas is more expensive than any other activity with a mountain gorilla permit costing up to USD 1500 in Rwanda and USD 700 in Uganda. Eastern lowland gorilla permits are cheap going for USD 400

Rules and regulations to be followed while trekking both mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas are similar. Visitors are required to maintain a distance of 7 meters away while watching the gorillas in order to prevent the transfer of human diseases that could cause death, for eastern lowland gorillas 4 people are allowed per group and for the case of mountain gorillas 8 people are allowed per group. And lastly for both gorilla trekking experiences, trekkers need to come with right clothing such as rainy jackets, long trousers and hiking shoes to walk through the mad and difficult terrain. A trekker also need drinking water, packed lunch and a camera.

Accommodation during a lowland gorilla safari in Kahuzi-Biega National Park

  1. Coco Lodge Bukavu. This is a mid-range lodge having 8 furnished rooms equipped with television, restaurant, fire place, bar and two lounges located near the park.
  2. L’Orchids safari cub. This hotel is among the best hotels while on an eastern lowland gorilla trekking safari. The place has a beautiful scenery and wild animals moving along the shores of Lake Kivu. The club offers activities such as best rooms, lounge, restaurant, shopping center and swimming on lake beaches.
  3. Lake side hotel Bukavu. This a 4 star hotel found near the shores of Lake Kivu and Kahuzi-Biega national park. the lake has good bathrooms, a spa, restaurant and well-furnished dining rooms
  4. Hotel Begonias Bukavu. This is located next to Kahuzi-Biega national park with in Bukavu and it’s a 4 star hotel with a large swimming pool, balcony, Wi-Fi and a restaurant.
  5. Exodus hotel Bukavu. This hotel is located in Bukavu offering low budget facilities. The hotel has a balcony, restaurant, Wi-Fi and a playing ground for children.

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