Eastern Congo Lowland Gorillas– Kahuzi Biega National Park
Trekking Eastern Congo Lowland Gorillas takes you to some of the most remote parts of Africa in search of the largest primate on Earth. Gorillas are large forest apes that live in the forests, swamps, and lowlands of East, West, and Central Africa. There are two types of gorillas, the western gorilla, and the eastern gorilla. Each species is divided into two parts. Western gorillas are divided into Cross River gorillas and western lowland gorillas. The eastern gorilla is divided into two subspecies, the mountain gorilla and the eastern lowland gorilla, which is only found in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
About the Western Lowland Gorillas
Western lowland gorillas are more common (in zoos) and are found in areas such as Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, Angola, Central African Republic, and Cameroon, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas can only be found in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Odzala National Park in Brazzaville, Congo, has the highest known population and density of western lowland gorillas. Because most of them live in extremely remote habitats, scientists have had difficulty estimating their exact numbers.
According to estimates in the 1980s, approximately 100,000 western lowland gorillas were originally believed to still be living in the wild. However, the recent discovery of approximately 125,000 individuals in a remote swamp north of Brazzaville in the Congo has alarmed both researchers and conservationists. Like mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas are calm and quiet monkeys – they can bark, growl or scream when necessary. Gorillas never attack or become aggressive without provocation. Males may sometimes fight for females, but only occasionally.
Communication Amount Eastern Lowland Gorillas
Gorillas communicate using different sounds or body language. They groom, climb, swing in the treetops, and playfully chase each other all day long. Their diet consists of leaves, stems, fruits, and shrubs. Mountain gorilla colonies tend to have more individuals—20 to 30 individuals or more—than eastern lowland gorilla colonies. Both subspecies live in groups led by a dominant silverback. Other males in the group may choose to live as a bachelor in the group and then hope to take over for the dominant silverback or go in search of a mate. As women get older, they often continue to be single men or other groups they like.
Women are known for their changing groups throughout their lives. Due to their considerable size and weight, gorillas live mainly on land. Both species reproduce on the ground, using leaves, shrubs, and branches to rest in the middle and end of each day. Juveniles and females can nest in trees. differ from mountain gorillas in many ways. They have brown fur and the silver color on the male’s back can extend to the lower body, including the thighs. Although relatively small in size, eastern lowland gorillas have larger and broader skulls than mountain gorillas.
Behavioral Traits of East Lowland Gorillas
Eastern lowland gorillas are more flexible than mountain gorillas because their habitat is spread over a large area. In both subspecies, males are generally much larger than females. Eastern lowland gorillas are extremely intelligent and have been found in the wild using a variety of tools. Researchers watched them probe the depths of swamps and rivers before deciding whether to cross to the other end. Eastern lowland gorillas in captivity have shown excellent sign language skills. They may develop other habits and behaviors not seen in the wild.
The eastern lowland gorilla is considered critically endangered and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of species in need of special protection. Because they live in areas that are often troubled, they are killed for their meat or caught in insurgent group battles. Their habitat is being destroyed by people interested in mining, logging, expanding pastures, establishing agricultural lands, and establishing new settlements.
Diseases like Ebola have been proven to destroy entire families. However, all is not lost for lowland gorillas. Environmentalists and researchers work tirelessly to ensure their survival. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is a leading organization in raising funds and raising awareness of the need to closely monitor and protect lowland gorillas.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking in Kahuzi-Biega National Park
Although there are relatively large numbers of lowland gorillas left in the wild, tracking mountain gorillas is much easier. Eastern Lowland gorillas cover a wide range and require more effort to get used to. The central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville have the largest populations of lowland gorillas and offer the greatest viewing opportunities. However, many lowland gorilla strongholds in both countries are located in very remote areas that are often unstable and have poor tourism infrastructure.
The most convenient place to track eastern lowland gorillas is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo is also a fragile country but has become relatively peaceful in recent years thanks to the world’s largest UN peacekeeping mission. Visitors can track Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park or Western Lowland Gorillas in Maiko National Park. Kahuzi-Biega National Park is the only place where eastern lowland gorillas can be tracked.
Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park
About 400 eastern lowland gorillas live in nine groups in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Three of the nine groups were domesticated and available for tracking. The park is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – near Bukavu and Lake Kivu. Kahuzi-Biega National Park, named after Mount Kahuzi and Biega, is one of the largest wildlife parks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The terrain of Kahuzi-Biega National Park provides an ideal habitat for these monkeys.
How Do Eastern Lowland Gorillas Migrate To Kahuzi Biega?
All in all, lowland gorilla tracking is only for those with a special interest in primates, or who want a completely different experience than usual – it’s truly special. In addition to seeing the gorillas, the rewards include discovering many never-before-seen areas and marveling at the extraordinary biodiversity.
Eastern lowland gorilla tracking in Kahuzi-Biega begins with a briefing at the Tshivanga Visitor Center at the park entrance. Park guides will review the rules and regulations for gorilla trekking in the lowlands while sharing with visitors facts about the gorilla families and the terrain they inhabit. After the briefing, visitors will be guided along established trails in search of a gorilla colony. Eastern lowland gorillas are always on the go and it can take an hour or two to find them.
Visitors can first watch the new game, then the dominant silverback appears to be looking for potential threats to the family. If all is well, he will let Trekker take care of the family. You can only spend an hour with a group of gorillas, which will be the perfect time to observe their behavior and take amazing photos.
How is Trekking Eastern Lowland Gorillas Different From Mountain Gorilla Safaris?
One thing to note is that mountain gorillas can only be tracked in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The total number of mountain gorillas is about 1,000. The eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) has been severely decimated, with fewer than 5,000 left on Earth. The western lowland subspecies make up the large numbers mentioned. Mountain gorilla tracking is more organized in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo because the gorillas are distributed in relatively peaceful and well-connected areas.
The mountain gorilla Kobe is more than the Eastern lowland gorillas. Uganda alone has 14 families of mountain gorillas, more than all lowland groups combined. Compared to mountain gorillas, the success rate of locating eastern lowland gorillas is lower. This is because lowland gorillas have to travel long distances to find food when they leave large areas. They move faster and it takes a little more effort to keep up with them.
Tracking Mountain Gorillas Is A More Expensive Adventure.
In Rwanda, mountain gorilla licenses can cost up to $1,500. Eastern Lowland Gorilla licenses are cheaper at $400. The rules and regulations for tracking both gorillas species are the same. Visitors must maintain a distance of about 8 meters when viewing the eastern lowland gorillas to prevent the spread of human diseases, which can kill the entire family. The number of people allowed to track gorilla groups in the eastern lowlands is limited to four per person. session. In the case of mountain gorillas, 8 people per day are allowed. It was designed to avoid the stress of unruly large groups of gorilla families and limit the risk of disease spreading.
For both gorilla trekking, visitors should wear appropriate clothing (raincoats, long pants) and sturdy shoes for walking through mud, forest, and difficult terrain. Visitors should bring drinking water, snacks, and cameras.
Overnight While Hunting Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park
- Coco Lodge Bukavu: Mid-range lodge near the park with 8 beautifully decorated rooms with an African theme. They offer individual rooms with a TV, a dining room, two lounges with fireplaces, a private bar, and a VIP lounge.
- L’Orchids Safari Club: offers budget and luxury. Some budget rooms start at $90. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery and wildlife that roam around Lake Kivu. This hotel is considered one of the best hotels for Eastern Lowland Gorilla Trekking. Visitors can take part in other activities such as bird watching, and walking through lush rainforests, parks, or tea gardens. There is even rafting along the Luhoho River. Club amenities include spacious rooms, full bathrooms, lounges, restaurant services, helicopter rentals, shopping centers, and lakeside swimming, as well as swimming pools.
- Bukavu Lakeside Hotel: 4-star hotel near Lake Kivu and the showers of Kahuzi-Biega National Park. They feature spacious lounge bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a swimming pool, a spa, a restaurant, a fully equipped dining room, and a drinks/coffee bar.
- Hotel Begonias Bukavu: This 4-star hotel is surrounded by beautiful green farms in Bukavu, next to Kahuzi Biega National Park. It has a large swimming pool, perfect for relaxing after an Eastern Lowland gorilla trek. You will find well-furnished, spacious rooms with air conditioning, 24-hour reception, and room service. They even have balcony rooms with great views, a children’s playground, Wi-Fi, and restaurants serving Chinese, African, and American cuisine.
- Exodus Hotel Bukavu: offers cheap accommodation in Bukavu. The hotel staff is multilingual and committed to providing you with the best possible service. There is a balcony with seating for a large flat-screen TV. The hotel has a restaurant, a bar, free WiFi, and a children’s playground.
If you are planning to track Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park, try to plan your trip. The security situation in the Congo is precarious and you need good guidance from a tour company. If you choose to travel with Deks Uganda Safaris, we will help plan your entire trip, arranging accommodation, transport, guides, and obtaining permits.