The Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
presents you yet another most memorable primate experience and a rare opportunity to
view a distinct sub-species of gorillas-the Eastern Lowland gorillas in their natural
The Eastern Lowland gorillas are very different from the mountain gorillas and
they dwell mostly in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Maiko National Park, Tayna Gorilla
Reserve, Usala Forest and Itombwe Massif.
However, currently Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking is conducted only in the afro-
montane forests of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Eastern side of the DR Congo. The
Eastern Lowland gorillas are the biggest compared to other gorilla sub-species. They
are differentiated from mountain gorillas considering their large hands, short muzzle,
large body size, teeth and many other unique features. They are about 4 to 5 feet tall
and weigh about 440 pounds.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park hosts an estimate of about 250 Eastern Lowland gorillas.
This magnificent protected area derives its name from Biega and Kahuzi Volcanoes. It
occupies an area of about 6000sq.kms making it one of the largest safari parks in the
DR Congo. Kahuzi-Biega National Park is managed by Congolese Wildlife Authority and
Wildlife Conservation Society and this was after it was re-opened in 2015.
Tracking the Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park is usually done in
the 2 habituated gorilla families. These include Chimanuka gorilla family composing of
about 19 members and Mugaruka group which derives its name from Mugaruka
Obtaining the Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking permits
The Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking permits are obtainable at US Dollars 450. It is
possible to book your gorilla permit through a reliable, recognized tour operator or
directly through the park authorities. The cost of permits covers park entrance fees,
service of the park ranger guide.
What to pack on your Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking?
Preparedness is one essential factor every traveler who are planning to go on a Congo safari to see the Eastern Lowland gorillas. This involves you packing wisely but
considering essential items such as Long-sleeved shirt, camera with no flashlight,
daypack which is waterproof, gorilla permit, valid passport, visa, rain jacket, gardening
gloves, insect repellents, first aid kit, sun glasses and others.
Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking rules and regulations
? A distance of 7 meters should be kept at all times from Eastern Lowland gorillas
? On finding a family of Eastern Lowland gorillas, you have 1 hour of magical
encounter with them.
? A flashlight camera is prohibited when taking photos of Eastern Lowland gorillas.
? Persons above 15 years are accepted to track Eastern Lowland gorillas.
? Do not go to track the Eastern Lowland gorillas if you are sick or ill.
When to go for Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking
Kahuzi-Biega National Park is largely a tropical rain-forest and it is an open gorilla
trekking destination all year round. The best time to go for Eastern Lowland gorilla
trekking in this park starts in June, July, August, September –these are longer dry
months and short season begins in December, January, and February. During this
period, the park receives minimal rainfall and the ground is kept drier than rainy season
when there is plenty of rainfall. However, it is possible to track gorillas during the rainy
season too and it starts in March to May and October to November.
Accommodation in Kahuzi-Biega National Park
Eastern Lowland gorilla trekking safari in Kahuzi-Biega National Park requires you book
the best accommodation facility for your night stay. The available accommodation
alternatives to consider for a night stay in Kahuzi Biega National Park include L’Orchids
Safari Club, Coco Lodge, Exodus Bukavu Hotel and many more.
How to get to Kahuzi-Biega National Park
By road, Kahuzi-Biega National Park is 40kms drive west of Bukavu approximately one
and half hours’ drive. You will drive via the Kavumu airport route then turn left at the
intersection in the Miti Town straight to Tschivanga Visitor Centre. From Kigali Rwanda,
this magnificent gorilla park is reachable about 6 to 7 hours’ drive via Cyangugu city.
Please take note; some routes are not safe like from Goma Virunga National Park which
links to Kivu Town.
By air, fly from Kigali Airport to Rusizi border/Kamembe airport to drive to Bukavu town
in DRC where you can connect to the park about 1 and half hours’ drive. By water, you
can take a boat about 3 hours via Idjwi Island on Lake Kivu.