Lowland gorillas are unique shy endangered ground dwelling herbivorous apes which usually feed on young bamboo shoot, stem, foliage, tree leaves, some fruits like mangoes, oranges, jack fruit, grapes, watermelon, pineapples, flowers and more, these apes are brownish in color with black faces and bigger when compared with the shy endangered Mountain Gorillas.
These Lowland Gorilla species are rarely seen where by in the Central part of Africa are only found in Democratic Republic of Congo, these lowland Gorilla species are further divided into Eastern and Western lowland Gorillas but Democratic Republic of Congo is only hosting the Eastern Lowland Gorilla species.
When I talk about Democratic Republic of Congo fresh travelers to Africa may ask that where is it located. But the answer is here, this country is located in the Central part of Africa bordering Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania in the East, Central African Republic and South Sudan in the North, Congo Brazzaville in the West, Angola and Zambia in the South, it is characterized with tropical rain forests, Bamboo forests, Savannah grasslands and Woodlands, plus Swampy areas.
The best way of reaching Democratic Republic of Congo is by landing in Rwanda at Kigali airport and cross via Bukavu border since Congo has poor air transport means, landing in at Kigali airport you will be transferred by driver from Eco Tours Congo up to Bukavu border, clear with officials at the customs and then transferred by Kahuzi Biega team using their stable safari jeeps up to your hotel of residence.
After lowland gorilla trekking safari, you can combine it with the mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park and it is much easy to use one visa if your trip does not exceed a week. From Bukavu you will board the speed boat and transfer to Goma and upon arrival the guide from Virunga Foundation will be ready waiting for you and transfer you the Goma Serena Hotel for overnight stay.
Today, you will head to Virunga Foundation offices for your permits clearance and after embark the safari vehicle and transfer to Rumangabo – Mikeno Lodge one of the luxury lodges in the park and then those on mid-range or budget holidays will transfer to Bukima Tented Camp or Kibumba Tented Camp.
Requirements for issuance of entry permission at the Congo border include a Congo tourist Visa, Valid passport reading your names plus a valid yellow fever vaccination card, process of getting a Congo tourist visa is somehow tricky but you can easily get it when you apply for it through Eco Tours Congo since they have partnership with the Virunga Foundation in offering best services to every traveler visiting the Virunga National Park.
Even all other transportation services from Goma border up to your place of residence in Congo will be booked by them. This Congo Tourist Visa is always applied for in a minimum period of two weeks before you’re traveling dates since its processing takes a period of one full week.
Democratic Republic of Congo has its two major national parks named Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park with Virunga National Park being ranked as the oldest National Park in Africa formerly called Albert National Park, these rarely seen Eastern Lowland Gorilla Species in Democratic Republic of Congo are only found in Kahuzi Biega National Park, this protected area is near Bukavu town in the Eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo near the Western bank of Lake Kivu and Rwanda border, it is also characterized with tropical rain forest, bamboo forests and swampy areas where these shy endangered apes reside, rest and feed from.
Trekking these apes in the jungles of Kahuzi Biega National Park you are required to first buy a permit which issues permission for the activity and this permit costs $400 USD per person which is cheaper when compared with Rwanda and Uganda.
As usual trekking these apes in the jungle a group of 06 people are allowed per gorilla family after a briefing about the dos and don’ts while in the presence of these apes which is usually done by the park officials.
You are assigned a park ranger guide to lead you through the jungle as for them are well informed of where these apes spent their last night, after locating presence of these apes a period of one hour only is allowed to be in their presence while seeing them playing with their ones, laughing, feeding plus taking photos of them for memories, after that you are required to vacate that place such that room is created for these apes to continue with their day-to-day activities.
Trekking in the jungle you are able to sight different features which include big tree species, insects like butter flies, primates like monkeys, Reptiles like snakes and different bird species.
For successful trekking do not forget to bring yourself strong impenetrable hiking shoes since the jungle is characterized with mud in some trails, thorn and hooks, other requirements to pack include insect repellents, sun glasses and caps, long sleeved shirts and trouser, shocking, Waterproof jackets and bags to protect yourself from biting insects, sunshine, thorn scratches and rain fall water respectively.