Mountain Gorilla Trekking In Virunga National Park Congo

Despite the fact that the Democratic Republic Of Congo is confounded with numerous tourism resources, varying from the large pristine tropical forest, Mountains, the boiling Lava Lake on Mount Nyiragongo Volcano, the rare Okapi, and the Bonobos(pygmy chimpanzees) among many undiscovered attractions, not forgetting the little-known Golden Monkeys, the country still only country, which boasts of bot Mountain Gorillas & Eastern Lowland Gorillas.

Many Lowland Gorillas can be spotted in various Congo Zoos, yest Kahuzi Biega National Park, stands out to be the major home for the Eastern Lowland Gorillas, as well as the major center for Eastern lowland gorilla trekking in Congo. Whereas Mountain gorillas can only survive in the Wilderness of Congo’s Virunga National Park.

Mountain Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo-gorilla permit

The Mountain Gorillas are usually darker, with thick & longer hair, while the Eastern Lowland gorillas are much lighter with short hair, yet both species stay in families/groups, guided by one dominant male silverback who is accountable for the security of his members. Mountain gorilla groups are normally bigger, comprising of more than 30 members at times. Although the males in both gorilla sub-species  remain in the the group for longer time, the females normally exit to join other silverbacks or groups once they mature.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking Experience in Virunga National Park

Just like Mountain gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park; Virunga National Park is also the major haven for Mountain Gorilla trekking in the Democratic Republic Of Congo.

Virunga National Park’s Mountain Gorilla trekking experience, begins very early in the morning, each day with registration & briefing by Park rangers & Warden. While briefing consists of: history of each gorilla group/family, gorilla habitats and gorilla trekking guidelines, the registration for mountain gorilla trekking experience in Virunga National Park involves checking of passports, VISA, and gorilla trekking permits; which widely helps in gorilla family allocation to different age groups. Aside from that, gorilla trekking group allocation for a particular Congo gorilla family in Virunga National Park, is also determined by level of fitness and personal preference.

Upon finishing with registration, group allocation, as well as park guides, armed rangers & porters,  all trekkers in a group of 8 per gorilla family, then set off to search for the gorillas, which may either take a short or longer time to find them, depending on a few factors, despite the fact that chances of seeing Mountain gorillas in Congo is usually higher, compared to Uganda and Rwanda, because rangers are aware of their previous location.

The major factors that might affect longer gorilla trekking chances to find their rightful location, follows:the unfriendly weather, the landscapes and the distance from the starting point to gorilla family group location. But, once found, there are also possibilities, that the dominant silver back might take a careful examination, of the whole group so ensure they are safe in your presence. You will be allowed to spend at most one hour in their presence, as you meet them face to face while they do there daily chores like: family members grooming each other, mothers breastfeeding young ones, juveniles jumping from one tree branch to another, and other male silver backs. This will be the best time to take memorable photos with these cousins. However, you may also tryout our 3 days Congo gorilla trekking safari in Virunga National Park.


Tips for planning Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Virunga National Park Congo

Mountain Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park is the most celebrated experience, every traveler would love to discover, despite the exhaustion, sweating and sometimes the hungry for longer treks when searching for the gorilla group. However, below are a few tips to follow to ensure a successful & memorable Mountain gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park Congo.

Plan your mountain gorilla trekking excursion in Virunga National Park: Whether it is your first time, or you have trekked mountain  gorillas before, you must take caution of what to pack or wear for your gorilla trekking expedition among which includes: high quality cameras, enough water, snacks, waterproof backpack, waterproof tracking boots, hat, insect repellents, gardening gloves, long sleeved shirts and pants, Long and thick synthetic stockings, yellow fever vaccination, Congo Visa(costs $100), mountain gorilla trekking permits, and a valid national Passport.

Book through a safe & reliable tour Operator,  to avoid disappointments.

Organize for accommodations close to the gorilla trekking starting points, especially in Bukima or Goma so as to reach early for your gorilla trekking activity.

Getting to Virunga National Park

Mountain Gorilla Trekking In Virunga National Park, is incomplete without knowing ,how you will get there when you land in Kigali Inteernational Airport, or Entebbe International Airport. Most flights in Kagali land in the Afternoon or late evenings, which then requires an early 4hr drive to the Gisenyi Border. From here, you can hire a taxi for a transfer to Congo Border at Grande Barriere, while, traveling with a tour company, is much easier, because you will be picked from the airport by a private driver guide, be transferred to the hotel or  to the border.  You will receive stamps from both border of Rwanda & Congo, after which you will be transferd to your accommodation in either Bukima or Goma.

However,  traveling from Virunga National Park from Uganda follows an 8 hour route from  Kampala to  Kisoro town by road. From ,here you then  take a very long drive to Bunagana border, which is now 30 minutes a way to Virunga National Park. Uganda has so many public bus services for transfers to Kisoro town including: Bismarkan, Post Bus, Jaguar and Horizon, although Post Bus coaches are considered more comfortable by travelers.

The most convenient and reliable travel option to Kisoro is to hire a private vehicle from Car rental East Africa or Car Rental 4×4 or use the services of a tour operator like Aloyo Safaris.Otherwise, Kisoro can also be reached by Air from Kajjansi Airstrip located along Kampala-Entebbe Highway, and oce you have reached Bunagana, Virunga National Park is located just 30 minutes away.

Water transport is also possible,  by a 5 hour boat cruise from Lake Kivu to Goma at a cost between $300 to $400 for public boats, while speed boats are faster but expensive, although it takes only 3 hours. These speedboats require prior booking, since they are always on higher demand.


The Cost of gorilla trekking Permit In Virunga National Park in Congo

The cost of a Mountain gorilla trekking permit in Virunga National Park is $400 per person per day for one habituated Gorilla family/group, which include the at most 1 hour for staying in their presence.  All gorilla trekking permits can either be booked directly from Virunga National Park headquarters or through a reliable & trusted tour operator. The cost of Virunga National Park’s Mountain Gorilla trekking permit is just a portion of the total cost for a gorilla trekking safari. The final cost of a gorilla trekking safari in Virunga National Park depends on your budget range of either basic, Mid-range, to Luxury, which is usually determined by the level of accommodation and the mode of transportation to get to the park.

Accommodation in Virunga National Park

Like any African Safari, a Congo gorilla trekking safari in Virunga National Park, will require an accommodation for overnight stays, which entirely depends on the clients  budget and option. Virunga National Park boasts of 3 categories of accommodations: Budget, Mid-range and Luxury. The most recommended accommodations used by most tour operators due to their strategic position to the park include: Kibumba Tented Camp and Lodge, the luxury Mikeno Lodge and the Lac Kivu Lodge