Kahuzi-Biega National Park – D.R. Congo

Lowland Silverback Gorilla in Kahuzi-Biega

Kahuzi-Biega National Park is found on the eastern side of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), close to Bukavu town, on the western bank of Lake Kivu and Rwanda boarder. The park was established by Adrien Deschryver – a Belgian conservationist and photographer in 1970 and inherits its name from the two dormant volcanoes; Mount Kahuzi standing at 3,308M and Mount Biega standing at 2,790M covering an area of 6,000 square kilometers which makes it one of the largest national parks in Congo with both the lowland and mountainous terrain.

Kahuzi-Biega National Park was inscribed in 1980 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique biodiversity of the rain forest habitat and being home to the lowland Gorillas – known as Gorilla beringei graueri and considered to be highly endangered. The smaller portion of the park is mountainous whereas the bigger part is the lowland.

Kahuzi-Biega National Park is one of the most important sites in the Albertine Rift Valley and one of the most ecologically rich areas in Africa and the world at large with exceptional diversity in its plant and wildlife (flora & fauna). It is one of the rare areas in Sub-Saharan Africa where the transition in vegetation zones from the lowland to Highland is clearly observable with six distinguishable primary vegetation types that is; swamp and peat bog, swamp forest, high-altitude rainforest, mountain rainforest, bamboo forest and subalpine heather as well as the endemic plant Senecio kahuzicus found on the summits of Mount Kahuzi and Biega at altitudes above 2,600 meters.

The park is a natural habitat to 136 mammals among which the lowland Gorillas stand out and are endemic to the area as well as 349 bird species among which 42 are also endemic! There are 13 other primates including the Chimpanzees and Colubus bai and very rare inhabitants of the Eastern Congo forests like the giant forest genet (Genetta victoriae) and the aquatic genet (Genetta piscivore). Other mammals in the area include bush elephant, bush buffalo, hylocheKahuzi-Biega National Park lowland Gorillasre and bongo.

This ecological marvel and hot pot of biodiversity however, is facing numerous challenges that threaten its existence including human – wildlife conflict, oil exploration and illegal timber logging; all of which threaten the ecological order and the park management requires significant monitory support to encounter these challenges.

Accessibility / Getting there: There are two options to get to Kahuzi-Biega National Park but either way, you need to get to Goma or pass through Cyangungu from Rwanda;

  1. Get to Goma and take a fast ferry from Goma to Bukavu, covering a distance of 100 kilometers in 2 hours and 45 minutes and that is the quickest option available. The ferry operates twice daily (7:30am and 2Pm) and costs $50.
  2. The other option is traveling by road; the distance by road between Goma and Bukavu is 209 kilometers and will take you 3 hours and 30 minutes with some difficult stretches of the road between Kalehe and Kabibwi. Taxis for hire are available for $100 to $150 per day.

Once in Bukavu, you will most probably need a place to stay for the night and there are various reasonable places to stay. The next morning, you take a speed boat from Bukavu to Kahuzi-Biega National Park where you will be collected by the park staff and proceed for your day’s planned activity. The same boat returns in the afternoon to Bukavu.

We operate Lowland Gorilla Trekking Trips to Kahuzi-Biega from Kigali / Goma among other Tours in Congo and you can contact us for a hustle free and memorable adventure while keeping it affordable.