Are you wishing to visit mountain and lowland gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo? With less than 1063 left in the wild, the Virunga massif provides a unique and unforgettable opportunity to interact with these great, shy, powerful and graceful primates in the world. Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of the Eastern gorilla living in the Virunga Mountains across Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the Bwindi Forest of Uganda.  However, we also offer gorilla tracking in the lowland forests of Republic of Congo in Kahuzi Biega National Park.

Mountain Gorillas

As their names suggest, there are two different subspecies of gorilla that are often parted into one. There are distinct differences, though; the mountain gorilla is larger, with longer hair and shorter arms than their lowland gorilla cousins. Lowland gorillas are much more likely to be seen in the trees, and prefer a more heavily forested, flatter habitat than the mountain gorilla.

Both mountain and Lowland gorillas live in family groups called “troops.” Large troops with as many as 30 individuals have been seen, but the usual makeup of these families is quite a bit smaller. A gorilla troop usually consists of one dominant male, a handful of his females, and their immature offspring. Adult male children will split off from their family unit to travel alone; around the age of 15, males will begin collecting their own harem of females and start their own family group.

In physical size, gorillas are the largest living species of primates. They are ground dwelling and are primarily herbivores. When first discovered, gorillas were classified as a single species. However, they are now classified into two species and four sub species according to geographical location and physical characteristics. Three of these four subspecies are critically endangered.

Generally, gorillas are very shy and reserved towards people. They will attack only if they are surprised or threatened or if a person behaves in the wrong way. If the human makes an unexpected movement, the silverback male can react with horrific roaring and bluff charges.

Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega

Deciding do a gorilla safari tour in Kahuzi Biega National Park is a great thrilling experience with the few remaining Eastern Lowland gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo, which rewards you a clear comparison of mountain gorillas and Lowland gorillas in Africa. Kahuzi Biega National Park lies west of the Bukavu town in south Kivu province set in both mountainous and lowland terrain.

A lowland gorilla safari in Congo, access by tourists is strictly controlled to ensure minimal impact to the gorillas and their habitats.  Tourists have to be in good health and must be accompanied by official guides. Permits are essential and need to be purchased in advance – often several months in advance, since they are in limited supply and soon sell out.

Mountain gorillas of Virunga National Park

Besides visiting Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park, you can take a visit the mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park and also have a chance to hike Mount Nyiragongo.

The Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo is the oldest national park with in the Virunga Massif. Mountain gorillas’ habitat is limited to protected national parks in two regions of Africa. One group of gorillas lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The other group is spread over three national parks in the Virunga Mountain region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda.

To reach the park, most tourists fly into Kigali airport in Rwanda, and then take a three-hour taxi ride to the border crossing at Gisenyi. The Park provides secure transportation to its headquarters, Rumangabo, where Mikeno Lodge offers 12 luxury bungalows. Excursions include spectacular Nyiragongo volcano, where trekkers can also camp in the collection of 12 shelters on the summit of Mount Nyiragongo, next to the bubbling lava lake.

In Uganda, visitors trek habituated gorilla families in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and offering protection to half of the world’s gorillas in their habitat. Gorilla tracking is also offered in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, within the Virunga Volcanoes region.

In Rwanda, gorilla trekking is available in the montane cloud forests of Volcanoes National Park in the north-west of Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Volcanoes National Park is known as a haven for mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.  Therefore, both mountain and lowland gorillas are a must on your bucket list to Africa.

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