The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the must visit countries in Africa for memorable African safaris. The country is home to the rare endangered mountain gorillas, which can only be found in Democratic Republic of Congo plus in Uganda and Rwanda. The only destination in Democratic Republic of Congo to go for the trekking of mountain gorillas is Virunga National Park, the oldest national park in Africa created in 1925.
Gorilla watching in Democratic Republic of Congo is quite more affordable as compared to gorilla watching safaris in other gorilla trekking countries. For any traveler to go gorilla trekking in the thick forests of Virunga should owe a gorilla trekking permit which costs only US$ 400, cheaper than Uganda and Rwanda gorilla permits which cost US$ 600 and US$ 1500 respectively.
There are various local tour agencies that will help you in booking and purchasing for you a gorilla permit on your behalf while you are still in your home country and on your arrival in Congo is when the permit will be handed over to you. However, travelers (gorilla trekkers) are always advised to book in advance to avoid inconveniences because these gorilla permits can get finished quickly especially during the high season when very many travelers invade Congo to enjoy this memorable activity. Therefore, it is advisable for you to book earlier before your actual day for the gorilla safari in order not to get disappointed. Some of the best tour agencies you should opt to book and make your gorilla safari in Congo include the Eco Tours Congo managed by Nature Adventure Africa Safari Limited and among others.
The agency will not only purchase a gorilla permit on your behalf, but also do all the needs for your gorilla watching safari to be more enjoyable and memorable. It will book for you a better accommodation out of the Park’s many accommodations which include; Mikeno lodge, Kibumba tented camp, Lulimbi tented camp, Tchegera Island camp, and Bukima tented camp, among others. Whether you want a luxury or Budget safari, the agency will be delighted to work with you and make your safari an exceptional one.
Budget travelers should not even get worried of getting out-dated facilities as any of the above tour agencies will make sure that it makes your safari look like a luxury one though it is budget. The agencies offer good quality vehicles for both the budget travelers and luxury travelers such as; V8, VX, and Extended Land Cruisers with pop-up roofs for the luxury travelers, well as budget travelers can opt for Safari Vans, Super Customs, and others but all the vehicles are 4×4 and are in good conditions to make your safari wonderful!
Gorilla trekking in Virunga national park is done in the Bukima sector for all the Park’s 8 gorilla families, which are; Nyakamwe, Humba, Kabirizi, Bageni, Munyaga, Rugendo, Mapuwa, and Lulengo. The Park is home to over 200 mountain gorillas and gorilla trekkers will be allowed to spend one hour with the gorillas while viewing them, thus equipping a lifetime experience.
The trekkers will be given expert tour guides to escort them in the jungle to trek these rare endangered primates. Gorilla trekking is done in groups of eight individuals per trekking group and will be allowed to spend strictly one hour with the gorillas.
While viewing the gorillas, trekkers should keep a certain distance away from the primates (at least 7 meters away) for the well being of the gorillas because they can catch some human diseases if at all the trekkers are infected, and the fact being that these gorillas are wild animals and you never know what will happen to you next when you go so close to them.
Gorillas are very friendly to humans and thus trekkers will really enjoy their time with them. You will take as many photos of gorillas as you can for memorable moments however, flashlight cameras are prohibited to be used while taking the gorilla photos and hence if your camera has a flashlight light, you will be emphasized to switch it off because that light can scare the gorillas.
Other gorillas in Congo can be trekked from Kahuzi Biega National Park, which is also found in the same region with Virunga National Park (eastern region of Congo). However, the gorillas in this park are not mountain gorillas and they are instead known as ‘’eastern low-land gorillas’’.