The most popular Congo safaris/Congo tours are Congo Gorilla safaris & tours (Gorilla trekking safari in Congo trips) taking you trekking with Gorillas in Virunga National Park, and Kahuzi-Biega National Park offering the best Congo safari vacation adventures. .
Congo tours take you to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – the second biggest country in Africa with a population of about 78.74 million people and it is one of the richest countries rich in minerals. However, this country is blessed with a touch of amazing tourism resources to make the Congo safari fun. .
The most popular Congo safaris/Congo tours are Gorilla trekking in Congo safari trips taking you trekking with Gorillas in Virunga National Park, and Kahuzi-Biega National Park offering the best Congo vacation adventures.
Congo tours take you to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – the second biggest country in Africa with a population of about 78.74 million people and it is one of the richest countries rich in minerals. However, this country is blessed with a touch of amazing tourism resources to make the Congo safari fun.
It is mostly covered with tropical rainforests, Mountains, crater lakes, birds, and animals, and it has so many primates some are even rare like Pygmy Chimpanzees (Bonobos).
Gorilla trekking safaris in Congo will have you meet the 2 species of Gorillas within the country and these are the endangered Mountain Gorillas and Eastern Lowland Gorillas.
Gorilla Tours in Congo will take you to Virunga National Park bordering Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda, the oldest national park in DR Congo, for tracking the Mountain Gorillas, and Kahuzi Beiga National Park for tracking the Eastern Lowland Gorillas similar to Western Lowland Gorilla trekking safari in Congo Brazzaville.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the best countries to experience real Africa. Congo Gorilla safaris can be combined with other Congo safaris to give you remarkable African safari memories.
Sample Popular Congo Safaris - Safari in Congo Tours
There are 2 designated places where one can see Congo Gorillas and enjoy the Democratic Republic of Congo safari. All the destination areas for the giant apes are unique and will leave you wanting more on Congo safaris.
The 2 parks to go for Gorilla tracking in Congo are Virunga National Park close to Volcanoes National Park, Congo’s oldest national park, and Kahuzi Biega Park.
Virunga National Park
Virunga National Park is the oldest national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is Africa’s most biodiverse protected area it is home to over 1000 animal species, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
It is home to the most known world’s endangered Mountain Gorillas as it holds a 3rd of the population ideally for Mountain Gorilla trekking during Gorilla tours.
This Virunga National Park is located on the Eastern Congo Basin edge between Lake Albert and Lake Kivu.
This Park is also the oldest wildlife-protected area as it was established in 1925 by the then-King of Belgium King Albert I as Albert National Park.
It is known as the Park of Fire and Ice for its diverse habitats ranging from the Rwenzori peaks to savanna and volcanic plains. It is within the Virunga volcanic Mountains same as Volcanoes National Park.
The volcanoes in the park are Mountain Mikeno volcano (dormant), Mountain Nyamuragira (active), and Mountain Nyiragongo (the most active volcano as it erupted in 2021).
Many tourists prefer a Congo Gorilla safari in Virunga National Park as it is at a low cost compared to other Gorilla safari destinations. The Park has 10 habituated Gorilla families tourists can track while on their Gorilla tours.
The Gorilla families in Virunga National Park are Kabirizi, Bageni, Lulengo, Rugendo, Nyakamwe, Wilungula, Humba, Munyaga, Mapuwa, and Baraka Gorilla families.
Virunga National Park is conserved by the Virunga Foundation and the ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature).
This park – Virunga National Park has other major attractions, especially monkey species like Golden Monkeys, Central African Red Colobus, and Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys, and also bird species which is an amazing tourist attraction.
Chimpanzee trekking in this park is not so regular though there are a few Chimps.
Kahuzi Biega National Park
This park is another amazing destination for those on a Congo Gorilla safari. It is one of the biggest protected areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo and it is located on the western bank of Lake Kivu covering an area of 6000km2.
It is the best safari destination for tracking the Eastern Lowland Gorillas in their natural habitat during the Democratic Republic of Congo safaris. This is because this UNESCO World Heritage site has the highest number of Eastern Lowland Gorillas consisting of about 250 individuals making it a major tourist attraction.
There are about 12 Eastern Lowland Gorilla families in Kahuzi Biega National Park though only 3 are habituated for Lowland Gorilla trekking safaris. These are the Chimanuka, Mpungwe, and Bonane Gorilla families and you can see them during Gorilla tours.
The Eastern Lowland Gorillas are similar to the Western Lowland Gorilla groups found in Odzala National Park in Congo Brazzaville in Central Africa.
Also in Kahuzi Biega, you can see other animals during your Gorilla trekking safari like Forest Elephants, Dent’s Mona monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Central African Red Colobus, and other bird species. There are Chimpanzees here but they are not available for Chimpanzee trekking.
Congo Gorilla Trekking Permit Price/Cost | How Much Is A Gorilla Permit In Congo
Gorilla trek permits allow you to enjoy Gorilla tours and track either the Lowland Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park or Congo Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park close to Volcanoes National Park.
You cannot trek without a Mountain Gorilla trekking permit and the price for this permit goes for;
Tourists can occasionally, get discounted permits for defined periods like in the wet season.
What Is Included In The Gorilla Trekking Permit In Congo?
The Gorilla trek permit is inclusive of park entry fees. Also included in the permit are armed rangers who will provide all the required security during Gorilla trekking/ Gorilla tracking and for 1 hour you will be with the Gorillas on a Congo safari.
The Gorilla trekking permits are exclusive of transportation costs and porters as you can hire these separately at around $10-$20.
Where To Buy A Congo Gorilla Trekking Permit
The ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) is responsible for pricing and selling Gorilla trek permits. Tourists can purchase the permits by themselves or they can use the services of a licensed tour operator.
How To Buy A Gorilla Permit In Congo?
Tourists outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo can buy Congo Gorilla permits online through park management for their Gorilla tours. All you need to do is to send an inquiry to Virunga’s tourism office in Goma at email@example.com and you will then receive availability options.
After you can go ahead with the instructions on how to make the payment. However, the permit is only reserved after the initial payment with a scanned copy of your passport.
The best option for buying a permit in Congo is by using a reputable local tour operator who will do all the logistics of the Gorilla tours and book the permit for you. However, they will need the Gorilla trekking date, your full name, passport details, and a deposit of the permit.
Also, a local tour operator is more viable and resource and they can help you get last-minute Congo Gorilla permits.
How Long Is Gorilla Trekking in Congo?
Mountain Gorillas in Congo’s Virunga National Park move long distances in the jungle just like any other animals same as the Gorillas in Kahuzi Biega and Volcanoes National Park. Gorilla tours can be between 2-6 hours as you search for the giant apes during the Congo safari.
It starts with a briefing at Virunga National Park headquarters at 8 am which is about 30 minutes. You then go into the rainforest with the accompaniment of 2 armed rangers and only 8 tourists are permitted to trek a Gorilla family per day.
After you spot the Gorillas in Virunga National Park, you be with them for 1 full amazing hour. This is the best opportunity for photography. Along the way, you can see a Golden Monkey Community which is rewarding and there is no Chimpanzee trekking.
Low Land & Mountain Gorillas Trekking Rules and Regulations for Congo Gorilla Safaris
The Gorilla tracking rules and regulations are set in place to meet the conservation purposes of the Gorillas.
Every tourist is urged to respect and follow these rules during their Congo Gorilla tour/Gorilla safari. They work for those trekking in Virunga National Park, Kahuzi Biega, Volcanoes National Park & Bwindi.
Before you visit the Gorillas in Congo;
You are required to have a Gorilla permit so that you can trek Congo gorillas.
Tourists going to track Gorillas in Congo should be above the age of 15 years.
In case you have any illness, cough or cold, or any other infectious diseases, you are not allowed to trek Gorillas.
A maximum of 8 people are allowed to trek a particular Gorilla family per day. This is for conservation purposes and also to minimize the behavioral disturbances of the Gorillas.
Make sure that you don’t litter in the park, as you can be with your rubbish and dump it when you return to the lodge.
Always keep human waste buried in a hole of at least 30cm as it may spread diseases to the Gorillas.
Listen to the instructions of your guide and ranger throughout the entire activity.
When you are with the Congo Gorillas;
Keep your voices down so that you get to observe other wildlife in the park and also it is a respectable measure of the Gorilla habitat.
You are with the Gorillas, keep a safe distance of at least 7 meters away from the Gorillas.
Photography with the flash on is prohibited as Gorillas relate the flashlight to danger and can charge at you.
You are only given 1 hour to be with the Gorillas as this is to minimize the disturbance of Gorillas from humans.
Make sure that you don’t eat or drink in the presence of the Gorillas as it may cause sickness to the Gorillas.
If you want to sneeze or cough, always keep your mouth and nose covered at all times so that you don’t spread sickness to the Gorillas.
Do not touch the Gorillas as they are still wild animals and they can charge at you.
What Is The Best Time For Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris | What Are The Best Months For Safari In Congo?
Gorilla tours in Congo safaris are good all year round making it a good destination for Democratic Republic of Congo Gorilla safaris. However, the most ideal time is during the dry season or dry months of the year and that is from December to February and from June to August.
The trails are dry in the national parks making accessibility to the Gorillas easy as little or no rainfall is received. It is also a good time for photography as the skies are clear enough providing you with enough lighting in Virunga National Park.
Also, you can see other primates like a Golden Monkey community if keen enough.
But tourists should keep in mind that during this time it is the peak season/high season as the lodges tend to be costly. Also, you may go for long treks since the Gorillas go deep into the forests in search of food.
The wet months are from March to May and from September to November and during this time expect rainfall and the trails may become slippery. But the best thing about this time is that it is the low season and lodges give discount rates reducing the cost of your Congo tour.
What to Wear For Congo Gorilla Trekking? | Wear for Congo Safaris
All travelers wishing to come for the Democratic Republic of Congo safari should put on the right clothes so that they are not inconvenienced. Below is the right wear for a Mountain Gorilla trekking safari.
Light long-sleeved shirts and trousers (neutral colored); should blend with the surroundings easily. Use Khaki and brown colors as bright colors stress the apes.
They will protect you from biting insects and bugs and keep you warm when it is cold.
Light hiking boots; will keep you stable on slippery trails during nature walks, keep your feet dry, and protect your ankles from getting scratched and damaged.
A hat or cap; Congo is a country in the tropics and it tends to be hot. The hat or cap will protect your head from the strong sunlight.
Garden gloves; keep your fingers from dirt and itchy thorny plants that may damage your fingers or hands during nature walks in search of wildlife.
Sunglasses; protect your eyes from the strong sunlight rays and reduce the glaze hence clear sightings.
A poncho or rain jacket; The weather of Congo is unpredictable as it can rain at any time of the day and the poncho will keep you dry at all times.
What To Pack And Carry For Congo Gorilla Safaris?
There are essential items you need to carry with you at all times when going on Congo Gorilla safaris in Virunga Park or Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda.
Below are some of the items to carry for your Congo Gorilla tour/Congo safari;
A good camera with extra batteries and memory cards; will help you capture the best moments from your time with the Gorillas in Virunga National Park.
Binoculars; These will zoom in far sightings from a far distance closer to you giving you clear sightings.
Walking sticks; will give you more support when trekking Gorillas in Congo, especially on uneven trails. They act as a third leg during nature walks within the national parks.
Gorilla trek permits; Never forget to carry the Gorilla tracking permits with you as you will not be allowed to trek when you don’t present them at the park headquarters.
Insect repellent; This will keep away all the bugs and insects that may infect you with diseases during activities like nature walks.
Sunscreen; will keep your skin from getting damaged from the hot sunshine.
Light backpack; This will help you carry other essential items with you like insect repellent, other documents, cameras, etc.
Bottled water; is to keep you hydrated at all times.
Is Gorilla Trekking In Congo Safe? | Is Congo Gorilla Trekking Safe? | Is It Safe To See Gorillas In Congo?
Yes, trekking Gorillas in Congo is safe just like any other Congo safari. Mountain Gorilla trekking experience in Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park is more secure if you use a reputable reliable tour operator in Congo.
During the Mountain Gorilla tours, you are escorted by armed rangers who will be with you at all times. In case of any instances of animals charging at you, they can shoot in the air to scare them away.
The Gorillas that are trekked are fully habituated to recognizing the presence of people as they will not charge at you.
Also, Virunga National Park is near UN peacekeepers in Goma meaning that there is more security at the park. And, additionally, the Government of Congo has worked hard to deploy security personnel to ensure that all tourists travel safely.
How Hard Is Congo Gorilla Trekking
This is a common question for tourists coming to Congo for Gorilla tours. Gorilla tracking/Gorilla trekking offers outstanding experiences, especially for those on Congo safaris. It should be on every traveler’s bucket list who is wishing to visit Congo.
Well, Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park is not as hard as some people take it to be though it requires some fitness. Gorillas move deep into the forest and you have to search for them this requires trekking into hills, steeps, and valleys and it can be challenging.
If your fitness levels are low or you have problems with walking, you can then hire porters to lift you using sedan chairs. Gorilla tracking in Congo is a bit challenging but you will forget this once you spot the Gorillas.
It will be a lifetime experience looking at our closest cousins and you get to be with them for 1 full hour. Gorilla tours are worth undertaking and it is not as hard as most of you might think.
How Much Does A Gorilla Safari Cost? | How Much Does It Cost To Go On A Safari In Congo? | How Much Is Gorilla Trekking In DRC?
The price of a Gorilla trekking experience or a safari in Congo in Virunga National Park depends on a couple of reasons. Below are the factors that determine the cost of a Congo Gorilla safari.
Gorilla trekking permits
For one to track Gorillas, one needs to have a Mountain Gorilla trekking permit which goes for $400. This truly affects the price of the Congo Gorilla safari.
Congo does not so many accommodation facilities though the few that are there are classified into 3 classes and these are luxury, midrange, and budget accommodation. When one books a luxury lodge, then the cost of the safari will be high and vice versa.
Below is an estimated price of the accommodation facilities;
Budget: $30 – $90 per person per night based on two sharing
Mid-range: $100 – $200 per person per night based on two sharing
Luxury: $250-$500 per person per night based on two sharing
Mode of transport
Reaching Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park requires logistics and the best way is by using a 4×4 safari vehicle. These come with a price as the starting price is between $80-$100.
The amazing land cruisers range from $150-$250 per day and all the prices of the vehicles are exclusive of fuel.
You may have heavy equipment that you need to go with to Gorilla trekking like Cameras. You can hire porters to help you carry the equipment and you need to consider that money as well. Porters range from $10-$20 per trek.
Well, a 3-day Gorilla trekking safari can between $2000-$5000 including all the Congo Gorilla safari components.
Why Go For Congo Gorilla Trekking? | Why Go For Congo Safaris?
The Gorilla trek in Congo is a wonderful experience that every traveler wishes to engage in as it is on their bucket list. However, many tourists ask themselves why they should go on Congo Gorilla safaris.
Here is why you should go on Congo safaris;
Congo Is Home To Mountain Gorillas
During your Congo Gorilla safari, you will go to Congo’s Virunga National Park home of the endangered Mountain Gorillas as this species is not common. They are only in 3 countries DR Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda.
On your Gorilla tours, you get the opportunity to see some of the Mountain Gorillas as there are only 1,063 individuals remaining.
Congo Is Home To The Eastern Lowland Gorillas
Mountain Gorilla trekking is more fun as you can opt to trek the Eastern Land Gorillas within Kahuzi Biega National Park. These Gorillas are different from Mountain Gorillas as they flourish on the lowlands of the tropical rainforests of Congo.
Trekking Gorillas In Congo Contributes To The Conservation Of The Gorillas
Trekking the giant apes contributes to the conservation of the endangered Gorillas. This means that when you buy a Gorilla trekking permit, the money is used in treating the Gorillas and paying the rangers who are ever to safeguard the giant apes.
They protect the Gorillas from poachers and smugglers who want to sell them for profit.
Gorilla Trekking Contributes To Supporting Local Communities
10% of the revenue from Gorilla trekking permits for the endangered Gorillas is split equally among the local communities. They use this money to improve their daily lives and to build schools, hospitals, and even houses.
Also, local people get jobs especially the locals when they work as porters.
What Wildlife Is In The Republic Of The Congo?
The Democratic Republic of Congo has amazing wildlife ranging from its flora and fauna to a large biodiversity of rainforests, seasonally flooded forests, and grasslands.
It is taken to be one of the richest African countries with the most flora. These rain forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo boast rare and endemic species like Chimpanzees and Wild Bonobos within the forests south of the Congo River.
It has 1,000 bird species, 280 reptile species, butterflies, and 400 mammal species including Gorillas, Forest Buffalo, Bongo, and Okapi.
Most of the wildlife species in the Congo are threatened animals, especially the Gorillas ideal for Gorilla tracking, Chimpanzees, Okapis, and Golden Monkeys which are also found in Nyungwe Forest National Park.
If keen enough you can see the Giant Forest Hog, Buffaloes, Leopards, Giraffes, Monkey species, Grant’s Zebras, Bush Pigs, several antelope species, and snake species.
Can You See Gorillas In Congo?
Yes, one can see Gorillas in DR Congo during Gorilla tours. There are only two places in the Congo to see Gorillas and for Gorilla tracking and these are the renamed Virunga National Park in eastern Congo well famous for these endangered species.
The other place is Kahuzi Biega National Park well known for the eastern Lowland Gorilla trekking.
However, to see these Gorillas, you require a Gorilla tracking permit and you should be of the minimum age of 15 years old. Also, you should not be having any illness.
Are There Any Gorillas In The Congo?
Yes, there are Gorillas in Congo and it is one of the major attractions to see in this country. Congo has both Mountain Gorillas and Lowland Gorillas and it is a good destination for tracking Gorillas.
Mountain Gorillas are also within Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park Uganda’s Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga National Park. This is where you can only find Gorillas in East Africa.
How Many Gorillas Are Left In The Congo?
Over a third of the estimated 1,603 remaining Mountain Gorilla population live in the renamed Virunga National Park while the others are within Uganda and Rwanda in Volcanoes National Park.
Apart from the Mountain Gorillas, the Democratic Republic of Congo also has Eastern Lowland Gorillas within the Kahuzi Biega National Park ideal for Congo safaris.
Their total population is estimated to be around 250 individuals living between 2,100 and 2,400m above sea level.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has no Western Land Gorillas as they are found in Odzala National Park.
Other Mountain Gorillas can be spotted in Volcanoes National Park Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park which has one Gorilla group.
Is The Gorilla From Congo Real?
Yes, the Gorilla from Congo is real. DR Congo is among the few countries with Gorillas in the wild as it has 2 species of Gorillas. These are the Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla Beringei Beringei) and the Eastern Land Gorillas (Gorilla Beringei Graueri).
They have made DR Congo popular for tracking Gorillas and they live within families which are usually headed by a Silverback.
What Is The Best Safari Park In Congo?
DR Congo has several unique safari parks all offering the best adventures during Congo safaris. It has 9 national parks all having amazing attractions and offering the best safari activities.
Virunga National Park has Mountain Gorillas and you can also go for the Nyiragongo hike while here to see the world’s largest lava lake. Kahuzi Biega National Park is home to Eastern Land Gorillas.
Also, DR Congo has savannah parks good for animal viewing and these are Garamba and Upemba National Parks.
Which Country Is Best For Gorilla Trekking?
Uganda is the country best for Gorilla trekking experience and Gorilla tour (Gorilla safari) experiences among other countries since it is home to half of the world’s surviving Mountain Gorilla population and you can meet them in the wild.
It also has 2 destinations for Mountain Gorilla trekking experience and that is Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Both destinations have 20 Gorilla families ready and fully habituated for Congo Gorilla safaris.
The Gorilla tracking permit in Uganda goes for $ 700. The other destination good for Gorilla holidays is Rwanda within Volcanoes National Park which has 12 Gorilla families and the permit goes for $ 1500.
Congo would be a better destination for Gorilla safaris as its permit is half the price of that of Rwanda and Uganda though its security is unstable.
Is There A Safari In Congo? | Does Congo Have Safari?
Yes, there are safaris in the Democratic Republic of Congo and tourists can plan their trips there. This amazing country is a safari destination as it has 9 national parks and wildlife reserves all having unique wildlife species.
The most popular safaris in Congo are Congo Gorilla safaris where you have to meet the gentle giant apes. You can decide to trek with the Mountain Gorillas or the Land Gorillas.
A Safari in Congo takes you for the Nyiragongo hike which is an active volcano and enjoy spectacular views.
You can opt to enjoy short or long safaris in the Democratic Republic of Congo and these safaris are surely rewarding.
Congo Safari Hotels | Hotels In The Congo | Where To Stay During Your Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris
There are various Congo hotels/lodges where tourists on Gorilla trekking safari can spend their nights. However, the hotels in Congo are classified into 3 classes Luxury, midrange, and budget hotels.
All the hotels in Congo offer comfortable accommodations and tranquil panoramic views of the Virunga Mountains.
Luxury Hotels In The Congo/Luxury Lodges in Congo
These are 5-star hotels offering the best accommodation and services for those planning to come for Congo Gorilla safaris. They are well decorated and have en suite rooms offering comfortable accommodation and have well-trained staff.
These include; Mikeno Lodge, Orchids Safari Club, etc.
Midrange Congo Hotels/Lodges in Congo
For those on Congo Gorilla safaris, there is an option of choosing mid-range Congo hotels as they also offer comfortable accommodation. They are taken to be 3-4 star hotels because their services are limited and don’t match with those of luxury lodges.
These include; Bukima Tented Camp, Lulimba Tented Camp, Kubumba Tented Camp, Tchengera Island Camp, Coco Lodge Bukavu, Hotel Begonais Bukavu, etc.
Budget Congo Hotels to Use When On Congo Gorilla Safaris
They are ideal for those on Congo Gorilla safaris but on a budget.
These include; Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelter, Exodus Bukavu, Mont Kahuzi Hotel, Ngila Lodge Virunga, etc.
List Of Best Travel Congo Companies, Congo Tour Operators, And Congo Travel Agency To Use For Congo Safaris
Are planning your Congo safari/Gorilla tour holidays, well it is ideal to use a reputable Congo tour operator. Congo travel companies or Congo tour operators are well experienced and will offer you Congo Gorilla safari packages with lifetime experiences.
In conclusion, Congo Gorilla safaris take you to Virunga National Park home to the Mountain Gorillas, and Kahuzi Beiga National Park home to the Eastern Lowland Gorillas. You will meet the Gorillas face to face giving you memorable experiences.
Mountain Gorilla trekking safaris in Congo are easily combined with other Congo safaris giving you outstanding safari memories.
If You Are Interested In Gorilla Safaris In Congo, Please Inquire