Kahuzi beiga national park
Kahuzi beiga national park is a magnificent conservation area protecting rainforest and the eastern gorilla– gorilla beringei graueri, it is strategically placed at the hedge of the great Albertine rift valley and the Congo Basin, the extensive forest contains a lowland rainforest, afro montane forest, bamboo forest and a few areas containing the sub-alpine vegetation, the conservation area comprises two mountains Beiga(2790 m) and Kahuzi (3,308m), the national park is one of the biggest protected areas in The democratic republic of congo, covering approximately 6000 square kilometers, it is most sought for lowland gorilla trekking safaris. The national park derives its name from the two dormant volcanoes, Kahuzi and Beiga to thrive in while on Congo Safaris Tours.
Kahuzi beiga was first established in the 1970 and declared a UNESCO world heritage site by 1980 as a way of protecting the critically endangered species of the lowland gorillas and other animals that live within the park, this park was listed in 1997 by the world heritage site to be in danger as a protected area, which forced the Congo government to pout emphasis on protecting the park. The park has abundant and diverse fauna and flora, it is one of the richest ecological ecosystems in Africa, 136 species of mammals are present in the national park including eastern Congo’s most rare and endemic species like the giant forest genet, aquatic genet, and Bush buffaloes, bush elephants, Chimpanzee, giant forest hogs, Bongo.
The park is the only place in the democratic republic of Congo, to trek lowland gorillas, there are about 250 individuals in the park, The eastern gorilla is characterized by its larger body compared to the four gorilla species, it feeds on fruit and leaves just like the others only that these live in the low land areas, the first trekking of the gorillas was done in 1973, Gorilla population in this area is highly threatened as there is continued mining of minerals in the region and so many human interruptions inclusive of settlement and poaching, trekking gorillas in this area begins early in the morning 7:00 am, with a briefing, it takes 4- or more hours depending on the distance the gorilla has taken in the search for food.
Other activities in the park include Birding, this is an ideal spot the area has been rated an important Endemic Birding Area by the Bird international, the park contains 349 bird species 42 of which are endemic, and there are high chances of spotting birds like the Congo peafowl, African green broadbill, Rockefeller’s sunbird, yellow-crested helmet, Grauer’s broadbill, Ruwenzori turaco among other species.
Tourists visiting the Kahuzi beiga national park have an opportunity to visit the Lwiro Chimpanzee sanctuary, it offers a home to 49 orphaned chimpanzees, the sanctuary is perfectly located the outside the park and is a good way to finish a lowland gorilla safari, community tours in Kahuzi beiga offers an opportunity to meet the local community, you will have a glimpse of how they spend their day-to-day lives, and insight of the African Congo culture.
Hiking the Kahuzi and beiga mountains is relatively a fun thing to do while on a trip in the eastern Congo, passing through the different terrain of the dormant volcanoes is an amazing experience you should encounter on an African safari, en route you will spot a number of birds, and sometimes animals of the national park.
There are few accommodation facilities around the national park, the present ones do offer a budget kind of Accommodation, midrange, and Luxury, the easiest way to get to Kahuzi beiga is through Rwanda from Kigali, it takes 6-7 hours by road to arrive at the destination, visitors can choose to take a domestic flight from Kigali, Congo is a known place of political instability, however this particular part of eastern Congo is quite safe. It is important to bring proper gear when planning on this lowland gorilla experience like insect repellants, long-sleeved shirts or blouses and trousers, hats, boots, and waterproof covers for Phones and cameras, The park can be visited all throughout the year, despite most tourist prefer to come in the dry seasons of most of the African countries. Trips to the destination are customized and can be combined together with the Rwanda Gorilla Safaris.