Hidden in the Eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo, Kahuzi Biega National Park is another secret in Democratic Republic of Congo. Its name was derived from the two extinct volcanoes ‘Kahuzi and Biega”. Mountain Kahuzi stands at 3308 m and Biega at 2790 m within the Mitumba range. Of the two Kahuzi is the highest.
The Mitumba range is close to Lake Kivu shared by DR Congo and Rwanda. This range which stretches along the Albertine rift is bordered by Rwenzori Mountains and Bukavu town. To the west and Rwanda to the south.
Historically, in 1937 Biega was declared as a forest reserve and thrived until in the 1970s when it was merged with Kahuzi thus forming the current Kahuzi Biega National Park.
This Park covers a total area of 6000 square kilometers and was listed among UNESCO sites in 1980. Most of the park’s areas are flat lowlands.
Climatically the Park’s temperature averages to 15 degrees Celsius and rainfall is estimated to 1800mm.
Its unrivalled ecosystem consists of grasslands, dry savannah, rainforests, swamps, alpine vegetation, and bamboo forests that house a wide range of Wildlife including 349 bird species, 1178 species of plants and 136 mammals.
Kahuzi Biega National Park is known most for Eastern Lowland Gorillas, but it is home to the other Species that can appeal to the Wildlife enthusiasts.
Wild animals like Buffaloes, African elephants, Antelopes, primates like Golden monkeys, Baboons and different birds call its remarkable ecosystem home.
African forest elephants are the commonly encountered animals in addition to carnivores like leopards, golden cats, civets and more. While in the forest, you can as well come across the two types of Buffaloes namely forest and savannah buffaloes. These two types differ in color
Expect to sight primates like Blue monkeys, Black and White Colobus, Mangabeys and more. Common antelopes include bongo, duikers to name but a few.
There are also unique species to marvel like Alexander’s bush squirrel, Mount Kahuzi climbing mouse, and Eastern needle clawed galago.
Visitors to Kahuzi Biega often fly to Rwanda’s Kigali international airport and transfer from there up to Goma border. From Goma border, the transportation is by Virunga foundation.
It is about 30km from Goma up to Bukima – from Bukima, you continue further about 230 km and it takes about 3-4 hours for the drive.
However those who are nervous about long distance drives can board from Kavumu airstrip up to the suburbs of Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Of all activities, this is the main and top draw for most travelers who visit this Park. Kahuzi Biega currently has two habituated Gorilla families that are used for trekking excursions.
Early in the morning a briefing is first conducted to highlight trekkers on what to do and not to do – after the Journey to the Jungle starts in a group. Only eight people are assigned to each Gorilla family per day.
While in the Jungle for Lowland Gorillas you are as well exposed to other Wildlife species like primates, birds, reptiles and insects.
The trekking experience is offered all year round but it’s more thrilling in the dry season (May to August and November to January).
Since rain is unpredictable, it is advised to come along with a rain jacket for your trek. Other things to park for this encounter are long sleeved shirts, insect repellants, nose capes, sunglasses, huts and strong hiking shoes. The trek requires a permit which costs $400 USD per person.
Kahuzi Biega National Park is inhabited by a plethora of different bird species, with this reason it’s no surprise that it amongst top birding hotspots in DR Congo.
Meanwhile out of its 349 bird species, you cannot miss to spot some like Rockefellers, sunbirds, Ruwenzori Turaco, Trogons, Rockefellers and yellow helmet shrike. Birders are exposed to unique species, time the excursion either early in the morning or evening.
The other best way to come close to Nature in the Park is by walks. While on nature walks, you can wander through the Park’s tropical rainforests, savannah and lush grasslands. This option awards visitors great chances to reach the off the beaten path spots in the Park.
Lovers of hiking adventures, Kahuzi Biega National Park has it all for you. This is one of the best location to have incredible hiking expeditions in Democratic Republic of Congo. There are several trails that let you explore the Mitumba range. The excursion exposes you both to nature and awards amazeballs views of stretching forest and rolling hills.