Kahuzi Biega National Park
Kahuzi Biega National Park is one of the most visited parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, located in the eastern part of the country near Bukavu town. The park is just near the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border, making it easily accessible from Rwanda that it can be incorporated on a Rwanda-Congo safari. Kahuzi Biega National Park was established in 1970 and named after the two dormant volcanoes of Mount Kahuzi 3308m and Mount Biega 2790m. Kahuzi Biega covers 6,000 square kilometres of space, making it one of the biggest national parks in the Congo. Part of Kahuzi Biega National Park is in Mitumba Mountain range of the Albertine Rift in the Great Rift Valley while the other is on the lowland terrain. The park was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1980 for its unique habitat of rainforest and diversity of the mammal species most especially the eastern lowland gorillas.
Kahuzi Biega National Park is very rich in diversity of flora and fauna, and provides a habitat to over 1,178 plant species in the mountainous region of the park. The park has swamps, bogs, marshland and riparian forests at all altitudes, a rare sight worldwide. Both summits of Mount Kahuzi and Biega have subalpine heather, dry savannah, grasslands and some endemics.
The park has about 136 mammal species and 349 bird species as recorded in 2003. The eastern lowland gorillas are the most prominent in Kahuzi Biega National Park, totalling to 125 gorilla individuals as per the 2008 report, from the 600 before the unrests in the 1990s, thus having them listed as an endangered species. There are a number of other primates in the park say the eastern chimpanzees and a number of monkey species like the owl-faced monkey, as well as mammals like the bush elephants, forest buffaloes, civet, among others. The African forest elephant, Albertine owlet, eastern chimpanzees, Mount Kahuzi climbing mouse and Maclaud’s horseshoe bat all in Kahuzi Biega National Park are listed as threatened species in the IUCN. Visiting the park to see them could be a good idea.
Activities in Kahuzi Biega
There are a number of tourist activities that travellers can take part in while in Kahuzi Biega National Park. These include among others;
Gorilla trekking: Gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega is the most done activity by most of the tourists visiting. Travellers get to encounter the eastern lowland gorillas while on a gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park safari. Eastern lowland gorillas are an endangered species, and are very few in number. The park has two habituated eastern lowland gorilla families that travellers can visit on an adventurous gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park, an adventure that is a sure way to explore the park in great detail. One needs to have a gorilla trekking permit to take part, and it costs only $400. Eastern lowland gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park can be done all year round, travellers are advised to carry the essential gorilla trekking gear for a successful trekking experience.
Chimpanzee habituation at Lwiro sanctuary: Lwiro sanctuary is a place in the park that travellers can get an opportunity to see and spend time with the chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The chimpanzees are still wild and under habituation, travellers therefore only visit them along with chimpanzee experts and researchers.
Hiking: Another activity that travellers can enjoy will on a Congo safari tour in Kahuzi Biega National Park is hiking. Travellers can hike the Mitumba mountain range and be rewarded with some really great views. The well-developed hiking trails in the park lead travellers through some of the most beautiful places in the park.
Bird watching: With over 349 species of birds in Kahuzi Biega, bird watching is an activity that cannot pass you by. Travellers will have an opportunity with the guidance of a bird guide to spot a number of bird species, including the very rare ones and endemics of the park that cannot be seen elsewhere.
Nature walks: Nature walks in Kahuzi Biega National Park are a great way to explore the park in detail. Travellers go through developed trails in the park to views of breath taking sceneries. Chance to see a number of mammals, primates, birds and plant life as well as hidden gems like streams and small rivers.
Boat cruise on Lake Kivu: A boat cruise on Lake Kivu is an activity that can be enjoyed after a tiring day of gorilla trekking and hiking. Travellers get to relax while on the boat cruise and enjoy various views and sights availed.
Community visits and walks: Community walks and visits in Kahuzi Biega National Park provide travellers with an opportunity to encounter the indigenous people around the park that live in communities and welcome tourists to experience their culture, and day-to-day life. Travellers get to interact with the locals up close and take part in some of their activities, learn about the locals’ history, all through music, songs, storytelling, art and crafting, games and so much more.
Camping safaris in Kahuzi Biega are also possible.
Kahuzi Biega is a beautiful park that should be visited by all persons on a Congo safari. The park can be visited all year through, but it is in the dry season that it is most advisable to. The dry season runs through June-September and December-February.
How to access Kahuzi Biega National Park in Congo
The Park can be accessed from both Uganda and Rwanda to Bukavu town averagely covering 30km from the border points, and then requires about one hour and a half to the park by road. Flying into the country and then transferring to the park in a 230km drive, or charter a flight to Kavumu airstrip if limited with time.
Accommodation in Kahuzi Biega National Park is available for both in and around the park. Travellers with varying preferences and budget options should be sure to get sorted. Get in touch with a tour operator to help you book the best and most convenient accommodation options.
The Park is a great park that travellers can choose to explore alone for at the very least 3 days, or have to incorporate it with other parks say Virunga National Park for a mountain gorilla trekking adventure and chimpanzee tracking as well as a Nyiragongo volcano hike to see the world’s largest boiling lava lake at the summit and then rest at the Tchegera island. The 10 Days Congo safari tour could be one among many that you may consider to book and take on. Reputable tour operators will help you put together the best Congo safari tour, take time to reach out.