Kahuzi Biega National Park
Kahuzi Biega National Park is one of the top Congo tourist destinations with Eastern Lowland Gorillas which attracts travelers for gorilla trekking activity. Kahuzi-Biega National Park, also known as Parc National Du Kahuzi-Biega, in French, is a unique tourism destination located in Bukavu Town, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The national park is a protected area, which was first established in 1970, by a Belgian photographer and conservationist named Adrien Deschryver.
The national park derives its name from 2 dormant volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega, on which it is established. Covering a surface area of 6,000 square kilometers. Kahuzi-Biega is among Congo’s biggest national parks.
Previously, the national park only covered the areas encompassing Mount Kahuzi until later in 1975, the national park was expanded to cover Mount Biega and areas adjacent to it. Kahuzi-Biega National Park is one of the only habitats of the only surviving eastern lowland gorillas in the world; others being found in West African countries like; Gabon, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea.
Kahuzi-Biega National Park in Congo, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, for its large rainforest and bio-diversity of mammal species especially the eastern lowland gorillas. The national park is home to 136 species of mammals, 349 bird species, 1,178 plant species and about 250 eastern lowland gorillas.
Travelers visiting Kahuzi-Biega National Park in DRC are presented with the rare opportunity of trekking both western (mountain) and eastern lowland gorillas. The east lowland gorillas, also known as Graueri gorillas, are one of the major tourist attractions in Kahuzi-Biega. These gorilla subspecies are the largest of all gorilla species and one can easily differentiate them from the mountain gorillas, simply because eastern lowland gorillas are relatively large as compared to mountain gorillas.
Attractions in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
Aside from the eastern lowland gorillas, there are other attractions that tourist can sight while visiting Kahuzi-Biega. These include; the eastern chimpanzee, African forest elephant, Albertine owlet, Mount Kahuzi climbing mouse and Maclaud’s horseshoe bat; all of which are listed under the IUCN Red List as endangered species.
Other wildlife species of less threatening concern include; the owl-faced monkey, bush buffalo, bongo, aquatic civet, bush elephant, African forest buffalo, hippopotamus, olive baboon and so many more. There is no telling just how much adventurous Kahuzi-Biega is, until you visit the national park yourself.
- Flora of the park: The Park lies in a mountainous region and hence is rich in diversity of flora, with at least 1,178 unique plant species. The eastern region of the national park comprises swamp, peat bog, swamp forest, bamboo, marshland, and riparian forest. The western part of the national park consists of mountains and forest vegetation ranging from 1,200-1,500 meters in altitude.
- Birds: There are estimated to be 349 species of birds in Kahuzi-Biega, with four bird species listed under the IUCN Red List of endangered species namely; Yellow-crested Helmet Shrike, African Green Broadbill, Rockefeller’s Sunbird and the Congo Peafowl.
- Mount Kahuzi: As mentioned earlier, Kahuzi-Biega national park is established on two dormant volcanic mountains; and one of them is Kahuzi Mountain. The mountain is an extinct volcano, standing at a height of 3,317 meters above sea level. Visitors can engage in hiking activities on the mountain.
- Mount Biega: In 1975, the Kahuzi forest reserve was extended to cover the areas of Mount Biega and its surroundings. The Biega Mountain is also an extinct volcano elevated at a height of 2,790 meters above sea level and lies within the Mitumba Mountain ranges.
- Lwiro Sanctuary: Travelers visiting Kahuzi-Biega with an interest in seeing chimpanzees, can do so at the Lwiro Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a rehabilitation center that was established in 2002 and looks after orphaned primates especially Chimpanzees. The Lwiro Sanctuary takes care of about 55 Chimpanzees and over 60 monkeys.
- Lake Kivu: The Lake is located within the Albertine Rift and is among the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Lake Kivu is rich in biodiversity and visitors can take boat rides on the lake and get to explore its splendid marine life, birdlife and surroundings as well.
Activities in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
- Gorilla Trekking: Tourists interested in gorilla trekking adventure safaris in Congo have the opportunity to track both mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega national park. There are two habituated groups of eastern lowland gorillas in the national park. A gorilla trekking permit in Kahuzi-Biega costs USD 400 per person.
- Bird Watching: Visitors who love watching birds will find Kahuzi-Biega national park, an ideal spot to partake in birding activities since the park is home to over 349 species of birds.
- Hiking: The Mitumba Mountain ranges provide the iconic spot for hiking adventure safaris for any tourist visiting Kahuzi-Biega National Park. Visitors can hike through the forest vegetation and explore the beautiful scenery and wildlife of the park. Tourists on holiday in Kahuzi Biega national park can also hike to the Kibatu waterfalls at a price of USD 25 per person while hiking the mountain ascents of Kahuzi or Biega will cost USD 100 per person.
- Boat cruise on Lake Kivu: Tourists visiting Kahuzi-Biega national park can opt to go on a launch cruise to cross Lake Kivu. This activity costs USD 50 per person and is best done after gorilla Trekking congo in the national park.
- Chimpanzee Habituation at Lwiro Sanctuary: For just USD 40 per person, tourists in Kahuzi-Biega can get to see habituated Chimpanzees at the Lwiro Sanctuary. Tourists who visit the primate rehabilitation center are taken through its history and conservation works at the center.
- Other activities that visitors can participate in while on a safari in Kahuzi-Biega national park include; nature walks, camping and community tours.
Where to stay when visiting Kahuzi-Biega National Park
Tourists visiting Kahuzi-Biega national park can find accommodation in the following lodging establishments; Mount Kahuzi Hotel, Hotel Begonias, Lodge Coco, Orchids Safari Club, Lakeside Hotel Bukavu and Hotel Exodus Bukavu among others.
How to get to Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
Kahuzi-Biega national park can be accessed from Rwanda and Uganda by air, road and water. Travelers will have to travel 40km west of Bukavu town, which will take about 1½ hours to get to the national park. Travelers can opt to board a bus/ taxi or hire a car and drive about 230 kilometers from Goma to the park’s headquarters, which takes rough 5-6 hours of driving.
Visitors traveling from Rwanda by road will have to drive for about 6-7 hours from Kigali City to Kamembe in Cyangugu town via the Rusizi I road. After crossing the borders at Goma and Bukavu, travelers will have to drive for about 1½ hours to get to Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
When traveling to Kahuzi-Biega from Uganda, visitors may have to spend an overnight in Kisoro town and then cross the border at Cyanika into Congo. This route might prove to be long and quite tedious for most travelers and therefore, would not recommend that a visitor use it; unless one has a lot of time to spare on their travel itinerary.
Traveling to Kahuzi-Biega by Air.
Most safaris to Kahuzi-Biega National Park in Congo usually start in Kigali, Rwanda. Travelers are advised to book flights to Kigali International Airport and then drive to Kahuzi-Biega. Alternatively, visitors can choose to board a flight from Kigali Airport and land at Goma International Airport, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is a very convenient mode of transport to the DRC. Once in Goma, travelers can drive 230km to Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
Traveling by water to Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
Traveling by water to Kahuzi-Biega can be a wonderful and exciting trip, especially for visitors who want to extend their trip after visiting Virunga National Park. Visitors can board ferries that cross from Goma to Bukavu, and offers travelers spectacular views of the Idjwi Island on Lake Kivu. There are also speed boats that visitors can opt to use and these take about 3 hours to reach a Bukavu while using an ordinary boat will take travelers about 4-5 hours. Upon your arrival in Bukavu, visitors can then drive to 40km to Kahuzi-Biega park headquarters.
Do take time and check out our offers for the best gorilla trekking safaris in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.