Kahuzi Biega National Park
Kahuzi Biega national park is located in located in the Eastern part of Democratic republic of Congo close to Bukavu town. The national park covers a total area of 6000 square kilometers and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 because of its unique and rich biodiversity for example the endangered eastern lowland gorillas. Kahuzi Biega national park is comprised of volcanic mountains which are mount Biega, mount Kahuzi, different vegetation zones including rainforest, bamboo forest, subalpine heather and swamps which act as habitat for wildlife species including mammals like elephants, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, primates like chimpanzees, olive baboons, plants and different bird species like cinnamon chested bee-eater, yellow bellied waxbill, martial eagle, golden winged sunbird among others.
Top things to do in Kahuzi Biega national park
Eastern lowland gorilla trekking
Gorilla trekking is one of the top activities done in Kahuzi Biega national park and the activity starts early in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters. After the briefing you will be divided into groups of 8 people where each group will be allocated a habituated family to trek, an armed park ranger and park guide who is well conversant with gorilla trekking trails. Trekking of the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega national park takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on where the gorillas slept the previous night. During trekking you will be able to view other primate species, variety of bird species, plants among others and once the gorillas are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to observe their habits, take photos, watch them feed, play, breastfeed, record the interesting moments among others.
Visiting Lwiro primate rehabilitation centre
Lwiro primate rehabilitation centre is located in Bukavu town, south eastern part of Democratic republic of Congo. The centre takes care of orphaned chimpanzees and other animals rescued from poachers. Lwiro chimpanzee sanctuary is takes care of about 92 chimpanzees, 108 monkeys including blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, Mona monkeys, grey cheeked mangabey, owl faced monkeys, vervet monkeys among others. During your visit at Lwiro primate rehabilitation centre you will be able to learn more about the orphaned chimpanzees, participate in feeding them, take up volunteer opportunities, spend time with the orphaned chimpanzees and other animals.
Hiking/ mountain climbing
Mountain climbing is another fascinating activity that you shouldn’t miss during your safari in Kahuzi Biega national park .There are several hiking trails in the park including hiking trail to Mount Kahuzi which is the highest peak that is 3,308 meters above the sea level. Hiking mount Kahuzi takes about 4 hours to ascend, 3 hours to descend and once you reach the summit you will enjoy stunning view of the park, Lake Kivu, Bukavu town, beautiful landscape among others. Mount Biega is the second highest peak in the park that lies at an altitude of 2,790meters above the sea level. Hiking Mount Biega takes about 6 hours and during hiking you will be able to view different primates, bird species, vegetation types among others. Other hiking trails in Kahuzi Biega national park are mount Bugulumiza which takes about 3 hours, starts from Tshivanga visitors centre and offers spectacular views of mount Kahuzi, mount Biega and the surrounding landscape, Marais Musisi trail and Tshibati waterfall trail which is located near the Lwiro primate rehabilitation centre and takes you to the three waterfalls.
Kahuzi Biega is a home of 349 recorded bird species of which 42 species are endemic to the Albertine rift. Bird watching in Kahuzi Biega can be done during the nature walk and it’s carried out in two sessions that is the morning and evening session. During bird watching you will be able to spot bird species like African green broadbill, Congo peafowl, Yellow crested helmet shrike, Rockefellers, Ruwenzori turaco, Shelley’s crimsonwing, Grauers warbler, Yellow billed waxbill, Rufous vented paradise flycatcher, Albertine sooty boubou, Eastern mountain greenbul, Martial eagle, Handsome francolin, Bar tailed trogon, Neumanns bush warbler, Northern fiscal among others.
This is an interesting activity in Kahuzi Biega where you will be able to explore the park on foot with an experienced park guide and armed park ranger. During the guided nature walk you will follow different trails such as Tshibati waterfall trail which leads you to the three waterfalls and Marais Musisi trail. You will also get close to different wildlife species including animals, primates, plants, beautiful butterflies, listen to sweet sounds of bird species singing in the trees, enjoy the cool breeze, relax your mind among others.
Best time to visit Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega can be visited any time throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season the park receives less rainfall therefore access roads and trekking trails will be easily accessed compared to the wet season when the trails
Where to stay during your safari in Kahuzi Biega national park
There are a number of accommodation facilities where visitors can stay during the safari in Kahuzi Biega national park. The accommodations range from luxury, midrange and budget including L’Orchids Safari Club, Coco Lodge, Lake Side Hotel Bukavu, Hotel Begonias Bukavu, Exodus Bukavu, Mount Kahuzi Hotel Bukavu among others.
How to get to Kahuzi Biega national park
Kahuzi Biega is located in eastern part of Democratic republic of Congo and can be accessed by road transport means where by visitors fly to Kigali international airport and then drive to Kahuzi Biega national park through Goma Grande barrier.