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Home » National Parks in Congo » Kahuzi-Biega National Park Congo » Tourist activities within Kahuzi Biega National Park

Tourist activities within Kahuzi Biega National Park

    Tourist Activities within Kahuzi-Biega National Park Congo

    Lowland Gorilla Trekking; Trekking the Eastern Lowland Gorillas at their natural environment at Kahuzi Biega is a truly unforgettable experience. Just before the entrance to the park is the Tshivanga Visitor Centre where gorilla trekking activities start from. The center has hospital staff who welcome visitors and assist them with payment and registration. Make sure you take a photo with the large gorilla statue while waiting for trackers locate the gorilla family. Once the location is confirmed you will begin to drive into the park.

    In the park headquarters, you will be briefed and given a detailed introduction covering the history, geography and some facts about the gorilla family you will be visiting. The guide will also provide you with advice on how to behave when with the gorillas. Following the briefing you begin your journey along narrow jungle paths to meet the gorillas. Masks are worn to prevent gorillas from catching human diseases. The length of this hike depends on the location of the gorillas. Some days they can be a 10-15 minute walk from the road, other days it can take over an hour of walking to reach the gorillas.

    When you enter the territory of the gorillas you will be greeted by the enormous male silverback, making sure you are not a threat. After he accepts your presence a magical one hour of observing the gorillas will begin, which is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

    Mount Kahuzi Hike
    Mount Kahuzi Hike

    Mount Kahuzi Hike; This is the highest peak in the park, at 3,308m. The climb takes approximately 4 hours through bamboo forest and sub alpine vegetation, and 3 hours to descend. The summit provides spectacular views of Lake Kivu and the city of Bukavu.

    Mount Bugulumiza Trail; This 6km trail starts near the Tshivanga Visitor Centre and covers terrain regularly occupied by the Chimanuka gorilla family. The summit offers amazing views of Mt Kahuzi and Mt Biega along with the nearby landscape. The hike takes about 3 hours return.

    Mount Biega Hike; The second highest peak in the park lies at an altitude of 2790m. The vegetation differs significantly from Mount Kahuzi making it a wonderful ecological experience. The climb takes about 6 hours return, so it is important to make an early start. Park staff is currently working to construct a clear trail to Mt Biega, keep checking the website for updates.

    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.