Tourist activities outside Kahuzi Biega National Park
Tourist Activities outside Kahuzi-Biega National Park Congo
Visit to Lwiro; A forgotten jewel of our region. It’s located about 90 minutes’ drive north of Bukavu town. This was once a favorite retreat of Belgian colonizers and even Mobutu. Aside from a magnificent landscape and being the entry point for the Tshibati waterfall walk, Lwiro hosts fascinating scientific research centers which have opened their doors for tourists. While at the Centre de Rehabilitation des Primates de Lwiro (CRPL), one can find the Centre de Recherches en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN), a research center built by the Belgians in the 1950s, and the Centre Intégral d’Education de Lwiro (CIEL), which aims to educate visitors and local communities about the natural and anthropological history of the region. Visitors will be guided through the biodiversity hall, which includes the skeleton of Casimir, the first ever habituated gorilla, a botanical garden, an anthropological Centre, the CRSN’s herpetology lab and the magnificent library.
Visit to tea plantations of Mbayo; A walk can be taken to explore the pleasant plantations of Mbayo. Visit typically start at the cinchona plantation (source of quinine) and offer visitors an opportunity to learn about history of cinchona cultivation in DR Congo, including its collapse due to disease and its current slow recovery. Brave (or foolhardy) visitors may accept to chew on some of the cinchona bark.Visitors then move on to the tea plantation and factory to learn about the entire tea-growing process, « from the leaf to the cup ». Visits are rounded off most pleasantly with a cup of tea at a great viewpoint.
Cultural visit to the Royal Court of the Kingdom of Kabare; The Royal Court of the Kabare Kingdom is located just a forty (40) minute drive from Bukavu town, in the direction of the park, you can now for the first time visit the Royal Court of the Kingdom of Kabare. The Royal Kingdom of Kabare has a long and proud tradition as the most powerful kingdom of South Kivu and the erstwhile Mwami Kabare Rugemanizi “Zéro Zéro” was instrumental in the region’s resistance against colonization and famously slapped a Belgian colonizer in the face. As punishment he was exiled 2,000km away, but brought back 20 years later when the Belgians finally realized that nothing could be achieved without his presence. To this day, the Royal Court retains its traditions and secrets, and visitors can spend time with the Mwami’s wise men who will present some of the objects of symbolic importance to the court, and to listen to the Griot sing the history of Kabare. Visits will finish with an enthusiastic Ntole dance performed by the Bushi villagers.
Bukavu City tour; Bukavu was established in 1901 by the Belgian colonial authorities and is the capital of South Kivu province. This picturesque city of about 250,000 boasts a pleasant subtropical climate and a scenic location between the southern shores of Lake Kivu and the forested mountains inland. The influences of Belgian colonial times can be found in the grand houses bordering the lake, the old cathedral Our Lady of Peace and in the magnificent College Alfajiri. This reputed academic institution’s establishment in 1937 heralded the beginning of mixed-race education in the Belgian Congo and yet its history is far from harmonious, being intricately tied in with the tumultuous history of eastern Congo itself. Its grounds were used as a base for a Belgian uprising against Mobutu in the 60s and as refugee camp following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and its walls are riddled with the bullet-holes from the subsequent invasion of Rwandan forces. The College Alfajiri thus serves as an important reminder of the past whilst at the same time, through its excellent academic programme, holding a key to the region’s future.