Congo Gorilla Trekking Permits
Congo Gorilla Trekking Permits are issued to tourists who want to trek gorillas in Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo has a greater advantage over its neighbors, Rwanda and Uganda, as far as gorilla trekking tours are concerned. Tourists interested in trekking gorillas in Congo can trek both mountain gorillas, western lowland and eastern lowland gorillas.
When planning your gorilla trekking safari to Congo, you MUST book a gorilla trekking permit first. The best way for visitors to obtain a gorilla trekking permit in Congo is through a trusted tour operator company like Explore Rwanda Tours, Achieve Global Safaris or Focus East Africa Tours. Such tour operator companies are legally registered companies with a license to operate in countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Congo. Tourists booking their gorilla safaris through such tour companies are able to obtain a Congo gorilla trekking permit easily and hustle free.
Where are gorilla trekking safaris in Congo done?
Gorilla trekking safaris in Congo are conducted in national parks such as; Virunga National Park, Kahuzi-Biega National Park and Maiko National Parks. Tourists interested in trekking mountain gorillas can do so in Virunga national park, while lowland gorilla trekking in Congo can be best done in Kahuzi-Biega national park.
How much are gorilla trekking permits in Congo?
Gorilla trekking permits in Congo cost USD 400 dollars person. Congo gorilla trekking permits are much cheaper as compared to its neighbors Rwanda where a gorilla trekking permit costs USD 1500 dollars and USD 600 and USD 700 dollars in Uganda. Congo has a total of eight habituated gorilla families/groups in Virunga national park, with four solitary males. Habituated gorillas are used to being in the presence of humans and hence they do not pose so much of a threat to trekkers.
Gorilla trekking in Congo is conducted in groups of a maximum of eight members per gorilla group, and the activity is restricted to persons aged 15 years and above.
Congo Gorilla Families that you can visit during a gorilla trekking tour.
Congo gorilla families/groups that tourists can trek during a gorilla trekking tour include: Kabirizi, Bageni, Humba, Lulengo, Mapuwa, Nyakamwe, Rugendo and Munyaga. All these gorilla groups can be tracked from Virunga national park in Congo. Gorilla trekking activities in Virunga start from the park’s headquarters in Bukima, which is located in the southern sector of the national park.
How can you book your Congo gorilla trekking permit?
As earlier mentioned, it’s advisable for tourists to book a Congo gorilla trekking permit through a trusted travel agent or tour Operator Company. When booking for your Congo gorilla trekking permit, you will be requested to present a copy of your valid passport or national ID for your country of residence. Once you have presented the necessary credentials, you will have to pay for the gorilla permit which is USD 400 dollars. If you wish to trek gorillas on a specific date, please inform your travel agent/consultant when making your booking. If there are any gorilla permits for the specified date, your travel agent will purchase a Congo gorilla permit on your behalf. In case there is no availability of gorilla permits for the date you wish to do gorilla trekking, your travel agent will inform you and you could opt to acquire a permit for another date.
When to book your Congo gorilla trekking permit.
Since Congo gorilla trekking permits are on high demand especially during the peak seasons, it is best recommended that you book your Congo gorilla permit at least six months in advance. The peak season for gorilla trekking tours in Congo is from June to September and December to February. It is during these months that the country experiences its dry seasons which means that it is much easier for trekkers in Virunga national park or Kahuzi-Biega national park to hike through the rain forests in the park when trekking gorillas. In addition to this, the hiking trails in the national parks are not so muddy or slippery and thus trekkers can easily navigate through the forests.
Inclusions and exclusions in your Congo gorilla trekking permits.
Your Congo gorilla trekking permits covers costs such as; government taxes, park entry fees, salary/ wages for gorilla doctors, park rangers/guides and wardens, and conservation fees. A portion of the revenue collected from gorilla trekking tours in Congo is given back to the communities living near the national parks. This is done in order to show the local people the benefits and importance of conserving gorillas and other wildlife in the national parks.
Where to stay when doing gorilla trekking in Congo?
When planning your gorilla trekking safari to Congo, you can book accommodation in the following facilities; Mikeno Lodge, Bukima Tented Camp, Tchegera Island Tented Camp, Lulimbi Tented Camp, and Nyiragongo Volcano Summit Shelters for those visiting Virunga National Park. Visitors travelling to Kahuzi-Biega national park can stay in the following accommodation facilities like; Mount Kahuzi Hotel, Lakeside Hotel Bukavu, Exodus Hotel Bukavu and Hotel Begonias among others.
How to access gorilla trekking in Congo?
All gorilla trekking tours in Congo start from Goma International Airport, which is about a 6 hours’ drive to Kahuzi-Biega national park and approximately 1½ hours from Goma to Virunga national park.
Alternatively, you can also access the national parks from Kigali city in Rwanda, via the Grand Barrier at the Gisenyi-Goma border. There are also flights available for visitors travelling from Kigali International airport to Goma international airport using Ethiopian Airlines.
When travelling to Congo on a gorilla trekking tour through Rwanda, it is recommended that you purchase an East African Visa at a fee of USD 105 dollars which will grant you access into Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Essential items to pack when going on a gorilla trekking tour to Congo.
It is always a good idea to be well prepared when planning your gorilla trekking tour to Congo. Some essential items to carry with you on your voyage include; a good pair of hiking boots, sunscreen and insect repellent cream, a camera and extra batteries, a hat/cap, long trousers and long sleeved shirts (dull colors are recommended), a water bottle, snacks and also remember to carry your Congo gorilla trekking permit on the day you are going to trek gorillas.