Kahuzi-Biega National Park is named after Mt. Kahuzi (3,308m) and Mt. Biega (2, 790m) located in the South Kivu Province, east of Democratic Republic of Congo. The National Park spreads from the Congo River basin to the northwest of Bukavu.
For the protection of the Eastern Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri), a Reserve of Mt. Kahuzi was created in 1970 the reserve was gazetted as Kahuzi-Biega National Park. In 1980, Kahuzi-Biega National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage.
Today, subject to security updates the living conditions of the endangered gorillas have much improved and the park authority, (Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) is operating vigorously to monitor the gorillas as well as protecting and preserving their territory.
Flora and Fauna:
As part of the Congo Basin Forest, Kahuzi-Biega National Park has a rich biological diversity. The tropic forests are diverse and have many endemic plant species. Apart from the Eastern Lowland Gorillas, the park also host other wild life including, forest elephant, chimpanzee, antelope, genet and serval, bush hog and also a variety of birds, reptiles and amphibians.
History of Gorilla tracking:
The Eastern lowland gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) were the first sub-specie to be visited by gorilla trekkers in the early 1970s. In the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, two gorilla groups had been already habituated to human presence through the efforts of Adrian Deschryver . The habituated gorillas were Casimir and Mushamuka.
Sadly Casimir, one of the first habituated groups, died around 1974 but by the 1980s Kahuzi-Biega National Park had four habituated gorillas groups, namely Mushamuka, Maheshe, Ninja and Mubalala.
Gorilla tracking became more famous after the film “Gorillas in the Mist” released in 1988. Tourists came from all over the world and visited not only the mountain gorillas in Rwanda but also the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
The war in the DRC caused the death of the four above-mentioned silverback gorillas. But survivors of their group members are still alive today and are visited by tourists.
With 4 hours drive from Bujumbura, you will access this park easily. This Tour takes only 2 days -departure and return back to Bujumbura.
The one place in the world that truly touched my heart was Congo.
I LOVED Congo. It is the most amazing place in the entire world, Congo made me laugh and Congo made me cry.
It will stay in my memory forever. To think that I was so afraid before we visited Congo - now I cant think what I was afraid of!
The people are so amazing and so beautiful. How can people smile and be so happy when they have nothing, when they could be dying.
Thanks to Nari of Hakuna Matata Tours who encouranged me to visit this beautiful area.
Nyiragongo is an active and dangerous volcano dominating the skyline of Goma. On January 17, 2002 a massive eruption destroyed more than 15% of Goma killing scores of people and leaving 120,000 homeless. The black lava rock is still there and a lot of new homes, shops and markets have been built on top of it. The lava deposits are so deep and wide that most of the area resembles a black coal mine.
Nyiragongo has erupted at least 34 times since records were started in 1884. It is related to the even more dangerous Nyamulagira Volcano (5 miles away) which is erupting at the time of writing. They are both located where the African plate is breaking apart and together account for 40% of all recorded African volcanic eruptions.
Nyiragongo is a Stratovolcano which are characterised by high cones and explosive eruptions. It is currently 3,470 metres high (11,384 feet) and some its eruptions have been continuous for more than a year at a time. The longest eruption lasted 50 years! It partly overlaps 2 older volcanoes, Baratu and Shaheru, and is surrounded by hundreds of small cinder cones caused by minor side eruptions. You can see one of the older volcanos in the first picture if you look at it carefully.
It has an active lava lake inside the crater and can sometimes be visited by tourists. I was unable to do so during my visit because of armed rebels in the area. Between guerrilla activity and volcanic instability, you definitely need to hire a qualified guide to climb and camp on the volcano. The Tour Company I used to track the Mountain Gorillas, Hakuna Matata Tours , can organise this for you and advise you of the current availability.
Nyiragongo has recorded eruptions during these years:
1884, 1891, 1894, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1911, 1918, 1920-21, 1922-77!, 1977, 1994-96, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007-09.
Tilapia is the fish caught in the local lake Kivu, near Bukavu. At the time of our visit, it was plentiful and if cooked well is extremely tasty. Fried with some spices we found to be best.
Often it was served with Cassava, the staple root vegetable of the area which is quite stodgy and doesn't have much taste but provides you with some carbs. If the tilapia is a good one you can manage the cassava!
Local vegetables were extremely good - carrots and green beans particularly.
At that time (1973), Lubumbashi was one of the major cities outside of Kinshasa. Things were a little run-down but it was a chance to experience something different. This area of Zaire contains the country's major mineral deposits so it was always a very contentious issue as to who was exerting control here. There was a foreign exchange rule that visitors had to spend at least 20 Zaires/day ($40 US) because of their need for hard cash, and that was a lot of money for a poor Volunteer! Photo of a sidewalk cafe in Lubumbashi during that particular trip.
Those days it was possible to travel from Bujumbura in Burundi up north crisscrossing borders of Zaïre, Rwanda and Uganda wich made for a trip on it's own.
Once there one certainly MUST see the Gorillas.
Once accustomed to the jungle you just dont want to leave it anymore.
Visit the Okapi National Park and later the pygmy village.
They are located in Epulu in Eastern DRC.
It is near to Uganda
Gorilla trekking. It is not a cheap activity but one of the most rewarding approx U$150 -$300. You MUST have a guide................you can get real close!
went for a cartrip to the harbor of Matadi , but didn't get there , because of the local police , had to pay some 'matabich'
The most important thing in visiting former Congo, ex-Zaïre and now again Congo is to abstain from going there.
The quality of that abstinence is that odds for a long and happy life are on your side.
You do not compaire hotes around the world as you cant compaire countries. for congolese, memling is...more
the hotel is a bit of a maze but makes it interesting. The swiming pool is 1st class. everything...more
30, Avenue de la Justice, Commune de la Gombe, Kinshasa, 7248, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo