Gorilla Trekking in the Virunga National Park in Congo
Gorilla trekking plans in Congo can be confusing if you don’t know the country or Virunga national park. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly the Belgian Congo, and more recently Zaire, has suffered a series of wars that have caused civil unrest. However, being the second largest country in Africa with a population of 78.74 million, it has enormous amounts of undeveloped human and natural resources.
The potential for great wealth in the future comes from large reserves of oil, gold, diamonds, and other mineral resources. Additionally, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is blessed with great tourism resources, from vast pristine rainforests like Congo to mountains, volcanic lakes, bodies of water, and rare species of birds and animals like okapi and pygmy chimpanzees (bonobos). discovers.
While some neighbors can boast that they have most of the rest of the mountain gorilla family, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the only country in the world where you can find both mountain and lowland gorillas. They are quietly endangering the golden monkeys. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is probably the last country to experience pristine Africa as it once was. Once a structure of peace and good governance is established, the Democratic Republic of the Congo could easily become a major tourist destination in Africa.
Ultimate Congo Safaris Tour Packages – Combined with Mountain Gorilla & Lowland Gorilla Trekking.
Gorilla Trekking in Virunga National Park
Mountain Gorilla Tours are only available in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Gorilla trekking is currently the most popular and fascinating activity among tourists visiting Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is mainly because mountain gorillas are close to humans, very rare, and endangered.
For these reasons, seeing a mountain gorilla family is a very special wildlife event. The gorilla trek in Virunga National Park starts early in the morning of the trek. Hikers should get up early, have breakfast, and bring whatever they need as they hunt gorillas. These include long-sleeved shirts, raincoats, hiking boots, long warm socks, gloves, cameras, water, passports, visas, and gorilla permits. After everything is settled, the visitor will proceed to the park headquarters or park ranger and park ranger briefing.
Briefing for Gorilla Trekking in Congo’s Virunga
The briefing covers various topics such as the history of each group of gorillas, the habitat of the gorilla, and the rules of gorilla trekking. A passport is required for cross-checks. Passport checks help rangers adapt their gorilla groups to the wanderer’s language. When assigning a Congolese gorilla family to a visitor, other criteria such as fitness level and personal preference are also taken into consideration. You can enjoy the local traditional dance while waiting to be assigned to a particular group of gorillas.
After completing the briefing and assigned a group of gorillas, follow in groups of 8 per group of gorillas under the supervision of a park guide and an armed ranger. Rangers always know the last place, so chances are you’ll see a gorilla in Congo. However, some challenges can take longer to find a set. These challenges include adverse weather conditions, terrain, and distance from the starting point to the location of a particular group of gorillas.
What to Do if You Find a Gorilla Family?
If you find a group of gorillas, expect scrutiny from the dominant Silberman. After a thorough analysis of potential threats, Silverback usually makes this possible. Allowed for 1 hour with the gorilla family. This is the dominant male Silberman, the other members of the group take care of each other, nursing mothers, toys, stubborn teens climbing up and down short trees, and other silverbacks.
Time to look at a man and take a picture, if there is any. You may also see members curl up to get ready for an afternoon or evening nap. You will witness beautiful things and views that remind us of how we humans behave – take lots of photos. You may find the Congo 2 Days Gorilla Tour package interesting.
Tips for planning a Gorilla Trek in Virunga National Park, Congo
Seeing gorillas in Virunga is a very exciting experience, but keep in mind that monitoring can be exhausting, sweaty, and hungry. Find a gorilla family that has some simple tips and things to keep in mind to enjoy the full experience from the moment you step into the jungle.
How to Prepare for Gorilla Trekking in Congo
- Prepare yourself mentally and fit well enough before chasing a gorilla. Once you are physically and mentally ready, navigating difficult terrain can be a short walk. If you are not familiar with general fitness, work out on a walk in the sun or a long hike before the tour.
- Keep your body warm and completely covered with gardening gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Long thick synthetic socks will keep you warm even in the highlands.
- Gorilla trekking takes place all year round, but the dry season is perfect for gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park. Heavy rains from October to November and March to April can make the trail muddy and slippery.
- Hire the services of a well-organized tour operator to prepare everything related to your booking. A good travel organization will give you more information about your trip, so you don’t have to go it alone and have the freedom to join the trip.
- The well-planned gorilla trek is a well-equipped trek with a high-quality camera, plenty of water, snacks, a waterproof backpack, and insect repellent.
- For overweight luggage that can tire while following the gorillas, hire a porter.
- The Gorilla Pass must be booked in advance, at least 3-6 months before the scheduled travel date.
- In many African countries, proof of yellow fever vaccination is a requirement for admission. Without this vaccination, it would be difficult to reach the Congo. There is said to be a backdoor method for those who don’t have a vaccination card, but this is generally time-consuming and annoying for everyone. Although not mandatory, you are allowed to carry medicines for malaria, meningitis, typhoid fever, hepatitis A / B, and malaria.
- Make sure you apply for a Congo visa before entering Congo. The cost of a Congo visa is $ 100.
- If possible, take out travel insurance. It’s hard to find a company that caters to visitors who go on safaris abroad, but some do.
- Book accommodation near the starting point of your trip. Sesame and Bukima accommodations are recommended for trekking in Virunga Gorilla National Park.
Signs for the Virunga National Park
After booking a gorilla permit, accommodation, and visa, you may be wondering how to get to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or rather a country the size of Virunga National Park. The first step is to land at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda or Entebbe Airport in Uganda.
Rwanda-Congo route: flights to Kigali usually arrive in the late afternoon or evening. This means that the border office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you must sleep in your hotel in Kigali before traveling to the Congo border. The journey to the border should start early the next morning. It takes about 4 hours by car from Kigali to Jisanii.
Private cars cost $ 100, but public transportation costs a lot less. Local taxis are available from Jisan Yi on the Congo-Rwanda border for under $ 1. When using the services of a tour company like Mission Africa Safari, all you need to do is come to the airport and take you to your hotel and then to the border and stop the next day. You will be picked up by your guide.
A passport and visa for Congo yellow fever are required to cross the border into Congo. Border authorities on the Rwandan side stamp the passport and then cross to get a new stamp from the office on the Congo side. Once done successfully, you will be free to head to the Congolese city of Sesame and Virunga National Park.
After landing at Entebbe airport, it takes less than an hour to reach Kampala via the new highway. It takes about 8 hours from Kampala to Kisoro, the city closest to the Congo border. This long journey to the Bunagana border is tired of public funds. If you use public transportation, be prepared to pay $ 15 to $ 20 depending on the season. Public transport costs are higher during holidays, such as Easter and Christmas.
Many bus companies, including Bismarcan, Postbus, Jaguar, and Horizon, use the Kampala-Kesoro route. PO Box Bus is more convenient for travelers. The most recommended way to travel to Kisoro is to hire a private car or use the services of a tour operator such as Mission Africa Safari. It is faster, safer, and more convenient to use a tour operator. You can also fly to Kisoro from the Kajansi airstrip along the Kampala-Entebbe highway. When you arrive in Buna Gana, the Virunga National Park is only 30 minutes away by car.
For adventurous travelers, there is another way to get to Congolese sesame seeds. Take a boat trip on Lake Kivu to Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Boat trips cost between $ 300 and $ 400 and take approximately 5 hours. The more expensive speedboats take 3 hours to reach the sesame seeds. Speedboats are in high demand and should be booked in advance. Due to the security situation in the area, it is recommended to use public rather than private boats.
Note: If you have all the necessary documents, it usually takes less than 10 minutes to cross the border from Rwanda or Uganda to Congo. Before booking your flight, make sure you have a visa and a yellow fever vaccination card.
Gorilla trekking coast in Congo
A Congolese mountain gorilla permit costs $ 400, which is cheaper than Rwanda ($ 400) or Uganda ($ 600). You can also get them at a discount during the low season of the year. Gorilla passes can be booked through the tour operator or directly from the Virunga National Park headquarters. A gorilla permit is only a small fraction of the total cost of a gorilla trek in Congo. You have to take into account the costs of transport, accommodation, and visa. The gorilla tours on the Mission Africa Safari fall into three categories: luxury, mid-range, and budget. The final cost will depend on the selected category. The estimated cost of a three-day gorilla tour is $ 1,500 for a budget and $ 2,000 for a luxury. Those planning a gorilla tour on a tight budget don’t need to book more expensive accommodation in Goma. There are cheaper accommodations in town that still offer good service.
Accommodation during a gorilla tour in Virunga National Park
At Virunga National Park Gorilla Safari, choose one of several accommodation options depending on your budget and choice. The various accommodations can be divided into luxury, mid-priced, low-budget, or basic accommodations.
These are reasonably priced accommodations that offer basic amenities such as decent beds and restaurants with well-prepared meals. However, facilities such as bars, TVs, and hot showers may be lacking. But this was just a generalization. Most budget accommodations will surprise you with quality and personalized service that you will never see out of budget.
These are the so-called 2 or 3-star properties, which are a bit pricey between $ 100 and $ 290 a night. These offer a wide range of services compared to budget accommodation. They usually have separate rooms, better beds, in-room TVs, restaurants, restaurants, and bars.
These properties are classified as 5-star hotels or hostels, most of which are strategically placed and allow visitors to enjoy stunning views of Virunga National Park. Prices range from $ 250 to $ 500. These facilities offer high-quality service with excellent rooms, restaurants, and bars.
Check out some of the other facilities in Virunga National Park Kibunba Tent Camp and Lodge:
Kibunba Lodge is one of the recently opened lodges in Virunga National Park. Located at the foot of Mount Nyiragongo, on a steep road leading to the park, Kibamba Lodge offers tented camps and permanently furnished rooms for budget, intermediate and luxury travelers. Economy rooms cost $ 200 per night. Guests can use a freestanding bathroom, 24-hour hot shower, linens, dining room, and lounge service.
Built near Sesame, this luxurious lodge features 12 luxurious thatched-roof rooms, made from mahogany and decorated with lava rock. In Michelo Lodge’s strategic location near Virunga National Park, visitors can have a beautiful wildlife experience, including finding chimpanzees, colobine monkeys, blue monkeys, and many other birds near their rooms. The lodge has a large private bathroom with a stone shower and curved tub. There is also a relaxation area with a dining room, bar, and fireplace.
Lake Kivu Inn:
Located in Sesame, on the shores of Lake Kivu, one of the most beautiful lakes in Africa. The hotel has African decor and features a beautifully landscaped garden on one side and 20 rooms overlooking Lake Kivu on the other. In addition to a panoramic view, there is a Nespresso coffee machine and a private bathroom with an Italian shower. It has a large swimming pool, meeting room, wifi, fitness/beauty center, and static power.