The national park is a UNESCO world heritage site and an exceptional habitat for the eastern lowland gorilla subspecies, Gorilla berengei graueri. It is also a protection of the rainforest. Near the western bank of Lake Kivu lies the national park; in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo near Bukavu town, South Kivu province. It covers a total area of about 6,000Km² and lies on the Western flank of the Albertine rift valley in the Mitumba mountain range; with an elevation that ranges from 700 to 3,300m altitude. The mountain side covers an area of about 600Km, with altitude ranging from about 1,800 to 3,330m; the tropical rainforest has an altitude that ranges from about 700 to 1,200m. About 10% of the park is comprised of high mountains dominated by extinct volcanoes, Mt.Kahuzi and Mt. Biega; which are literally the dominant physical features in the park. The parks name is derived from the two extinct volcano mountains.The Mountain areas and lowland terrain are separated by a 7.4Km corridor.

History of the Kahuzi-biega national park dates back as early as 1937; when the Belgian colonists created a Zoological Reserve on Mt.Kahuzi, for the protection of the eastern lowland Gorillas. The reserve covered an area of about 750Km; in 1970, it was reduced to about 600Km and gazzeted as the Kahuzi-Biega national Park. During that time, there were about 300 eastern lowland gorillas living within the park.However in 1975, the area was extended to 6,000Km and in 1980; it was inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site because of its unique biodiversity of rainforest which is a habitant to the eastern lowland gorillas.During the 1990 to 1994 Rwanda genocide andcivil war, many Rwandese flee from their country into the interior of DRC. On arrival, some of them settled in the areas within and outside the park.

Kahuzi-biega National park has two rain seasons with annual rainfall of about 1,200mm to 1,800mm; From April to May and October to January.The rest of the year is the dry season with temperatures that range from about 19 to 21°C.

kahuzi-beiga-np

The park is composed of a tropical rain forest characterized with a number of plant species. Being part of the Congo basin, the park has rich flora diversity.A riverine forest with swamps and a marshland exist in the park. The western lowland sector is dominated by a dense wet equatorial rainforest. The eastern mountainous sector has continuous forest vegetation from altitude of 600 to 2600m; and is one of the rare sites in Sub-saharan Africa which displays low to highland transition.There are over 1,178 plant species

Eastern Chimpanzeeas an Attraction in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.

Sometimes called chimps, the chimpanzees are an exclusive African species of extant great Ape. The species is classified in the primate’s order and Pan Genus, troglodytes. It shares the closest DNA with humans at 98%, unlike other great Apes like the gorilla and other monkeys which share about 95% DNA with humans. The species is omnivorous, eating a wide variety of foods which include fruits, nuts, seeds, insects and others. They prefer living in dense tropical rainforest; but can also be found in woodlands, bamboo forest, swamps and open savannah land.
Facts
• Their hair is typically black and brown
• Males and females differ in size and appearance. Adult Males weigh between 40 to 90Kg and grow up to 5ft. Adult females weigh between 30 to 79Kgand grow up to 3ft.
• They have a life span of up to 70 years.
• A groups territory can range from 30 to 150 miles. The males usually patrol the boundaries to look out for intruders. Meeting with rival group results into serious injuries and sometimes death.
• Alpha male protects the group and leads it to a new location or on a patrol.

Eastern lowland gorillas as an attraction in Kahuzi-Biega National park.

lowland-gorillas-in-congo

The gorilla species is also known as the eastern lowland gorillas and is the largest among all four gorilla sub species. Similar to the mountain gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas have a Jet black coat which turns silver on the back when the gorilla is mature. However, they are distinguished from other gorilla sub species by a huge body, large hands and short muzzle; shorter hair on the head and body.They have the widest altitudinal range than any other gorilla sub species. They live in mountainous, transitional and lowland tropical forest.They are social and peaceful. They live in groups of 5 to 30 individuals with a dominant alpha male, a silverback, who is in charge of safety and feeding of all group members. Silverbacks are usually the strongest in the social groups.
However, most males leave their social groups when they reach maturity and start up their own, attracting females from other groups to join theirs. A female’s gestation period is about 8½ months and they breastfeed their young for about 12 months. The baby is able to crawl at about 9 weeks;and can walk after 35weeks. Infants stay with their mothers for 3 to 4 years and after become independent. They start mating at the age of 11 or 12 years old.
When groups meet, the heads of the groups (silverbacks) could get into a deadly fight using canines to injure one another. They will hoot, rise on their legs, throw, slap, tear vegetation, beat their chest with cupped hands, kick with one leg and thump the ground with their palms.
Facts
• They mainly feed on fruit, plants, seeds, leaves, stems and bark. They also feed on small insects such as ants and termites.
• Males weigh up to 163 kg on average; while females weigh almost half as much.
• Males have a standing height of up to 5ft 7inch on average. Females stand up to 5ft 3inch or less.
• The arms are longer than the legs
• They are shy but social; and very active during day
• Their life span is estimated to be about 50yrs in the wild.
• They have up to 25 vocalization sounds used for communication

Other Wildlife as an attraction in Kahuzi Biega National park
Other primate species include the owl-faced monkey, colobinae and many others.There are about 136 mammal’s species which include elephants, forest hogs, antelope and duikers;about 349 bird species which include

Mt.kahunzi-biega
The mountain is an extinct volcano with an elevation of about 3,317m altitude. It has the highest peak in the park and runs west of Lake Kivu on the Albertine Rift valley. The mountain erupted more than 12,000 years ago.
The mountain has a variety of vegetation that is determined by altitude.The vegetation includes wet lowland rainforest, transitional rainforest and montane forest.
• Wet equatorial rainforest and a transitional forest between 1,200m and 1,500m elevation. Transitional forest vegetation exists from 600m to about 2,600m.
• From about 2,000 to 2350m is the swamp forest vegetation which is intercepted with mountain forest.
• Bamboo forest grows from about 2350 to 2600m elevation; And higher from 26,00 to the summit at 3,330m is the alpine zone which is characterized by dry savannah grassland and endemic plants like senecio kahuzicus.

Lwiro Sanctuary
The sanctuary is a rehabilitation center which provides care for orphaned primates such as chimpanzees and money species. The sanctuary was established in 2002 and is located near the Tshivanga Visitors center in an old Belgian research center. The sanctuary has about 55 chimpanzees and over 60 monkey species.

Low Land Gorilla Trekking as an activity in Kahuzi-Biega national park.
According to the DRC status report of 2008, the park had about 125 lowland gorillas. In April 2011, 181 lowland gorillas were recorded by the DRC wildlife conservation society. The park is the last refuge for the endangered species.In the early days of 1980’s, the park had four habituated gorilla groups which included Mushamuka, Maheshe, Ninja and Mubalala. Currently, they are 9 with an addition of the Chimanuka, Mugaruka.However, only two groups are habituated for visitors. They include Chimanuka and Mugaruka. The most popular group is the park is the Chimanuka gorilla group named after the dominant silverback. The group has 36 members chimanuka inclusive. There are 17 females and 18 infants. The group has 4 set of twins, something that is unusual in any eastern gorilla population.
The dominant silverback in the Mugaruka group, Mugaruka, lost one hand in a poachers trap and is now a solitary male after losing his accompanying females and infants in a fight with Chimanuka.Trekking in the park is done on the Mont Bugulumiza trail which runs near the Tshivanga Visitors center, trekking the Chimanuka gorilla family. The trek will last for a maximum of about 3Hrs; but only an hour is spent with the gorillas. Trekking will lead through the forest, making way through the dense vegetation where you may come across other primates such as the Owl-faced Guenon; and mammals such as the forest elephant.
Often, the first gorilla seen is one of the young keeping look-out in the trees. The one hour spent in the company of the gorillas, you will witness the gorillas going about their daily lives; feeding, playing, resting, grooming, teaching.
Permit: US$400

Tracking requirements
 A gorilla tracking permit is required in order to track the endangered species. The permit can be got at the Institute of Congolese Conservation for Nature (ICCN) office in Bukavu.
 Anyone over 15 years of age can apply for a Gorilla permit
 A pair of gloves, head gear, long stockings to protect from insect bites.
 A pair of long sleeved shirt or t-shirt, trouser and hiking shoes to protect from thorns and nettles.
 A water proof rain jacket, which shields you in case it rains while you are tracking.
 Drinking water of a minimum of a liter and a snack for refreshment
Pro’s & Con’s
 A trekker is required to keep a distance of 27ft from the Gorillas. This is to ensure human safety and also minimize the possibility of transmission of human disease to the Gorillas.
 Drinking and smoking near the gorillas is forbidden.
 Photographs are allowed, but without the use of the flash light
 Rapid movements are not allowed as they may frighten the gorillas.

Nature Walk/ Hiking as an activity in Kahuzi-biega national park
The activity can be done on the Marais Musisi Trail. You are able to view forest elephants, endemic birds like the colorful Ruwenzori Touraco. The trail becomes tough through the bamboo forest and swamps at an elevation of 2350m.other trails to do nature walks or hike include:
Tshibati waterfall trail. The trail leads you to a series of 3 magnificent waterfalls; Tshibati being one of them. You have a chance to swim in a pool located near the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre.Rate: US$35

Mount Kahuzi trail
The trail leads to the highest peak in the park at 3,308m, Kahuzi. The hike takes approximately 7Hrs roundtrip through bamboo forest and sub alpine vegetation.The summit provides spectacular views of Lake Kivu and the city of Bukavu.Rate: US$100

Mount Bugulumiza Trail
The trail stretches 6km and starts near the Tshivanga Visitor Centre. It covers a 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 3Hrs roundtripRate: US$35

Mount Biega Trail
The trail leads to the second highest peak in the park, with an elevation 2790m altitude. While on the trail, you will notice that thevegetation differs from that of Mount Kahuzi, making it a wonderful ecological experience. The hike takes about 6Hrs roundtrip.Rate: US$100

Lwiro Sanctuary Visit as an activity in Kahizi-Biega national park
The ICCN along with the Centre de Recherché en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN) launched the Centre de Rehabilitation des Primates de Lwiro (CRPL), in 2002, to rehabilitate primates that had become orphans due to poaching. The primates rehabilitated include chimpanzees and monkey species. The sanctuary is located near the Tshivanga Visitors center in an old Belgian research center. The sanctuary has about 55 chimpanzees and over 60 monkey species. Rate: US$25

Cultural encounters as an activity of Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
About 70Km east, outside Kahuzi national park, lies Idjwi Island in the middle of Lake Kivu. The island is the second largest inland in Africa occupying about 340Km in size and 70Km in length.The island is accessed by both road (via Bukavu) and Water (boating). A trip to the island is very relaxing as the people in the Island are very friendly and helpful. While on the Island, you can do activities such as visiting one of the many pineapple plantations where you will ofcourse eat pineapples; community walks which will expose you to the everyday life of the residents on the island. While on the community walk, you will be able to see a number of bird species as they fly over the community. If conditions are favoring, you can swim in Lake Kivu and also boat rides can be organized. The boat rides lead to the main attractions on the island, Ishushu. Ishushu has a small fisherman village.
Another community encounter is Bukavu town, located about 40km (30min) East of the park. Bukavu was established in 1901 by the Belgian colonial authorities and is the capital of South Kivu province. While at Bukavu, you can witness the influences of Belgian colonial times. One of the evidence is the grand houses bordering the lake and the old cathedral, Our Lady of Peace. During the colonial error, the grounds were used as a base for Belgians who plotted attacks against Mobutu in the 60s; and as refugee camp following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The walls are riddled with the bullet-holes from the attacks of Rwandan Hutu forces who were hunting down for Tutsi’s seeking refuge in the area.
There will aslo be a visit to the Royal Court of the Kingdom of Kabare. The Royal Kingdom of Kabare has had a long and proud tradition; well as the most powerful kingdom of South Kivu which had e Mwami Kabare Rugemanizi as the King. He was the spearhead in the region’s resistance against colonization and was nicknamed Zero Zero. Kabare is believed to have slapped a Belgian coloniser in the presence other people. As punishment he was sent 2,000km away from is kingdom. However, Kabare was brought back after 20 years when the Belgians had finally realized that nothing could be achieved without his presence. The Royal Court still retains its traditions and secrets.
You will be able to spend time with the Mwami’s wise men who will present some of the objects of symbolic importance to the court. The Visit will end with an enthusiastic Ntole dance performed by the Bushi villagers.

By road(4×4 vehicle required)
Kinshasa – Kenge – Tshikapa – Mbuji_Mayi – Bukavu 2495Km (26Hr)

By Air
A chattered flight from N’djili international Airport Kinshasa; to Kavumu airport Bukavu. 1515Km (3Hrs)

Elila hotel – Mid range

Elila hotel-congo

The hotel is located in Bukavu, 40Km East of the park, south kivu province. It has en-suite rooms that vary from standard to double rooms with private balcony’s. It has facilities such as LCD Tv with satellite channels, restaurant and bar.

ROOMS RATE US$
Single (2 beds or 1 double bed) 120
Double suite 100
Double 80

NB: All rates are on a Bed and Breakfast plan.