Comparing Gorillas in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega N.P: We can not talk about gorilla trekking safaris in Congo and not mention Virunga national park or Kahuzi Biega national park. Both national parks offer visitors a different kind of experience when it comes to gorilla trekking; with Virunga national park offering you a chance to track Mountain gorillas, and Kahuzi Biega offering eastern lowland gorilla trekking.
Mountain Gorillas versus Lowland Gorillas or compare the sizes of a lowland gorilla vs a mountain gorilla? Discover their various traits, such as behavior, diet, size, and habitat. Those interested in gorilla conservation must understand the distinctions between Mountain and Lowland gorillas. Learn about the challenges that each species faces, as well as how you may help with conservation efforts.
The Kahuzi Biega national park, which covers a large area of primary tropical forest and is dominated by two stunning extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega, has a diversified and plentiful wildlife. One of the remaining populations of eastern lowland gorillas, around 250 individuals, dwells between 2,100 and 2,400 meters above sea level.
Virunga National Park, encompassing an area of 790,000 hectares has an exceptional range of ecosystems, ranging from marshes and steppes to the Rwenzori snowfields at a height of almost 5,000 m, and from lava plains to savannahs on volcanic slopes. The park is home to mountain gorillas, 20,000 hippopotamuses, and birds from Siberia that spend the winter there.
Comparing Gorillas in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega N.P
If you come across Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park and Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park at the same time on your Congo gorilla safari, chances are you won’t be able to tell the difference, especially if you’re a first-time trekker. Mountain and lowland gorillas are two separate ape species that share around 98.3 percent of their genetic DNA with humans, making them our closest cousins after chimpanzees and bonobos. Let’s look at the key distinctions between Mountain and Lowland Gorillas.
Physical Characteristics of Mountain Gorillas in Virunga Vs Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega.
Mountain gorillas are larger than lowland gorillas, having longer, darker hair and shorter arms. Their (mountain gorillas’) bodies are designed in such a manner that they can adapt to their environment. They are found in mountainous places with subzero temperatures. Lowland gorillas live in significantly milder climates and do not require as thick of a coat.
Furthermore, mountain gorillas are considerably heavier, with an average mountain gorilla weighing around 200kg (440 pounds) against an average lowland gorilla weighing approximately 150kg (330 pounds). Mountain gorillas have a larger nose, jaw, and teeth than lowland gorillas.
Social Life of Mountain Gorillas in Virunga Vs Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega.
Mountain and lowland gorillas both live in groups or families of roughly 30 individuals. Mountain gorillas live in groups of 5 to 25 people, generally headed by a silverback, a dominant male mountain gorilla, but lowland gorillas (western lowland gorillas) might live in families of 4 to 8 people. Lowland gorillas, on the other hand, can live in bigger groups, with many silverbacks heading separate families and averaging more than 50 individuals.
Mountain gorillas have a slightly different social life than their lowland counterparts, with regular contacts among group members. Lowland gorilla families are significantly more scattered and move less than mountain gorilla families, which tend to keep together with less individual activity.
Mountain gorillas are known to release a strong stench from their glands under their arms, especially when they are anxious, and research on lowland gorillas show that smell communication does not play a significant part in their culture in the wild.
Furthermore, mountain gorillas groom each other for around 15 minutes each day, but lowland gorillas do not interact as frequently and so exhibit significantly less wing grooming behavior. In general, gorillas are clever creatures with amazing communication ability, producing around 25 unique noises; they employ tools to do various activities, similar to chimpanzees.
Habitat of Mountain Gorillas in Virunga Vs Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park.
Mountain gorillas live in mountains at heights ranging from 8,000 to 13,000 feet and are only found in three countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Lowland gorillas, on the other hand, dwell on the outskirts of rainforests and swamplands, scavenging for food on nearby savannah grasslands. They may be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, Gabon, and Angola.
Mountain gorillas have evolved to tougher temperature conditions since they live at higher elevations, which are often cooler than lowland cousins. Lowland gorillas, on the other hand, have been able to survive in captivity and can be simply relocated.
Diet of Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park Vs Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega.
Gorillas are herbivores in general, but western lowland gorillas rely on vines, stems, leaves, roots, and around 100 different kinds of fruits. They may eat insects and tiny reptiles. Mountain gorillas eat only plant material such as shoots, branches, flowers, tree barks, and leaves.
Mountain gorillas have also been recorded feeding insects, particularly in locations where there is little vegetation to consume. Overall, they graze on the same foods, with the only difference being environment, since lowland gorillas have more food possibilities than mountain gorillas.
Cost of Gorilla Permits for Mountain gorillas in Virunga and Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega.
Gorilla permits for both Mountain gorillas in Virunga national park and Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Beiga national park cost 400 USD. You can book your gorilla permits or gorilla safari to Virunga or Kahuzi Biega national parks directly through the parks or through a trusted tour operator company such as Explore Rwanda Tours.
How to get to Virunga and Kahuzi Biega National Parks in Congo?
Getting to Virunga National Park.
Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo may be reached by air and road, with flights to Goma Airport followed by a driving trip to the Park Headquarters. Tourists can also fly into Kigali International Airport and then drive to the park. Connect by road from Bukavu town to the Park Headquarters in 5-6 hours, or via Rwanda and Uganda to the Park via some of the recognized border stations.
Getting to Kahuzi Biega National Park.
The best way to get to Kahuzi-Biega is to go from Kigali to Congo via the Cyangungu border and then to the town of Bukavu. The majority of overseas visitors arrive at Kigali Airport in the afternoon or evening. Because the drive from Kigali to the Congo border takes seven hours, it is vital to rest for the night before continuing on to Bukavu the next day. Travelers from Burundi can utilize the Uvira border crossing, while those from Goma can take the Lake Kivu route.