Located in the Eastern region of Democratic Republic of Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National park straddles the Albertine Rift and the Congo basin occupying three provinces namely South Kivu (Territories of Kabare, Kalehe, Shabunda and Walunga), North Kivu (Territory of Walikale) and Maniema (Territory of Punia). This world heritage site covers an area 6000km2 wide with an altitude ranging from 600 to 3308m. The Park is characterized by a magnificent landscape quality with floristic diversity and its close proximity to Lake Kivu; an exceptional habitat for the protection of the rainforest and the highly endangered eastern lowland gorillas making it one of the most important sites in the Rift Albertine valley. The park derives its name from two mountains which generate its high altitude: Mount Kahuzi (3308m) and Mount Biega (2790m).
Kahuzi-Biega National park unlike any other site in the Albertine Rift contains a diversity of mammal species. The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is currently the only protected area in the world that makes it possible for tourists and scientists to observe, with certainty and serenity, Grauer’s Gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) in their natural habitat. It is the second most important site of the region for both endemic species and in terms of specific diversity. The park harbours 136 species of mammals, among which the icon is the eastern lowland gorilla and thirteen other primates, including threatened species such as the chimpanzee, the Hamlyn and cercopiuthic of Hoest and colubus bai. Other extremely rare species of the eastern forests of the DRC are also found here, such as the aquatic genet and the giant forest genet.
Characteristic mammals of the central African forests also live in this park, such as the bush elephant , bongo, bush buffalo and hylochere.
The park is also located in an important Endemic Bird Area for birds identified by Birdlife International. In 2003 the Wildlife Conservation Society established a complete list of birds coming up with 349 species, including 42 which are endemic. Kahuzi-Biega national park is one of the rare sites of sub-Saharan Africa where the floral and fauna transition from low to highlands is observable. In effect, it has all the stages of forest vegetation from 600m to more 2,600m, sub-mountain to mountain and bamboo forests to dense low and middle altitude rainforests. Above 2,600m at the summit of Mounts Kahuzi and Beiga, a sub-alpine vegetation has developed, with heather and is home to the endemic plant Senecio kahuzicus. The park also contains plant formations, rare worldwide, such as the swamp and bog altitudes and the marshland and riparian forests on hydromorphic ground at all altitudes making it a very unique entity altogether.
The park is found in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near the Southern shores of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. On the eastern side it consists of a smaller sector that covers part of the Mitumba Mountains, and a larger western sector in the Congo central basin. The two zones are connected by a narrow corridor and the entrance to the park is at Tshivanga, on the eastern side.
The park is located 40 km west of Bukavu taking approximately 1 to 1½ hours to drive from Bukavu to the entrance of the park. You follow the road heading towards Kavumu Airport and turn left at the intersection in the town of Miti. Keep driving straight until you reach the Tschivanga visitor centre.
The beauty with park is that it can be accessed from quite a number of routes and these include;
With all these options you will be able to access the park and have an impressive and spectacular time in the wild.
WHAT TO PACK
Having confirmed your trip with your trusted safari company, there is nothing more important like knowing what to pack lest you will be surprised. Listed below are a few of the items you cannot miss
Gorilla trekking in Congo will definitely involve hiking in search for the endangered Lowland Gorilla & mountain gorillas. You need light weight hiking boots for this activity because of the nature of the forests plus the altitude,.
Long Sleeved Shirts/Blouse/
You will also be required to have long sleeved blouses/shirts and trousers for your gorilla trekking in Congo. Please ensure that you tack in your trousers in your hiking boots to avoid insects such as safari ants entering your trousers.
You may require gloves to protect your hands during your gorilla trek in Congo. As you move in these forests (Virunga & Kahuzi Biega), remember that it can get slippery and somehow you need to hold on some plants, trees or even climbing trees some of which may have thorns on them which may hurt you. These gloves will therefore protect you from germs and other items that may scratch your hands.
Congo has a tropical rain forest and rain is received throughout the whole year in these zones where forests are found that is Kahuzi Biega National Park and Virunga. You will never tell when it is going to rain so you need a rain jacket for this. You don’t want to abandon your trek because of the rain.
Cameras and extra batteries
Photography is a major component of your safari and thus make sure that you don’t leave your camera behind, charge your batteries very well and if necessary, carry extra batteries as you will need to take as many photographs in the 1 hour you will have with the gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National parks and Virunga. Flashes have been known to irritate gorillas so endeavor to switch off your flash while taking photos.
Get ready to have the most incredible sights and moments in Kahuzi Biega National park from spectacular views from Mount Kahuzi and Biega. From here you can connect to the Virungas for an added gorilla trek experience.