Kahuzi-Biega national park is located in the south east of DR Congo which covers an area of about 6000km2. Mt Kahuzi lies at 3308 m and Biega at 2790m. The park is mostly of dense lowland rainforests, Afromontane forests, bamboo forests and small areas of sub-alpine prairies. The park is a UNESCO World heritage Site named for two extinct Volcanoes i.e. Mt Kahuzi and Mt Biega which are connected by a narrow strip of forest. The main attraction to the park are the eastern Lowland gorillas and it is the only place in the world where you can track these gorillas. The park is easily accessed from Bukavu which is the main town near the park. Other activities to do in the park include hiking to the any of the several extinct volcanoes in the park, birdwatching, nature walks to waterfalls.
Wildlife in Kahuzi-Biega National park
Kahuzi-Biega national park is said to contain a greater diversity of mammal species than any other site in the Albertine Rift. The park is home to 136 species of mammals with the Eastern Lowland gorillas being the main attraction. Of these are 13 primate species making it a primate destination. The mammals include; Elephants, Buffaloes, Leopard, Giant forest hog, Hippopotamus, Lowland Bongo etc. The primates include; Chimpanzees, Colobus monkey, Olive baboon, bush babies,
The park is home to many endemic birds in the Congo, it is home to 349 bird species of which 42 are endemic. The birds in Kahuzi-Biega national park include; Red-eyed Dove, Handsome Francolin, Black Cuckoo, Black-billed Turaco, Martial Eagle, Bar-tailed Trogon, Grey-cheeked hornbill, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Elliot’s woodpecker, Yellow-billed barbet, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, African Hobby, Grauer’s broadbill, Black Cuckooshrike, African Golden Oriole, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Albertine Sooty Boubou, Northern Fiscal, Rufous-vented Paradise-flycatcher, Golden-winged Sunbird, Preuss’s weaver, Yellow-bellied waxbill, African pipit, Western Citril, White-tipped Crested-flycatcher, Eastern Nicator, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Bracken Warbler, Barn Swallow, Eastern Mountain Greenbul, Neumann’s Bush Warbler, African Yellow White-eye, Sharpe’s Sterling, Equatorial Akalat, African Thrush etc.
Activities in Kahuzi-Biega National park
Lowland gorilla trekking
This is by far the activity that pulls many people to travel to Kahuzi-Biega national park outside of Bukavu town in DR Congo. The Lowland gorillas are bigger than their cousins the mountain gorillas. The permits to track them can be gotten from the park headquarters and currently do not need advance booking because of the few numbers of people visiting. The experience is more or less the same as Virunga park where trackers leave early morning searching for the gorillas and once located, the group is allowed only 1 hour with them after which the groups leaves. The park currently has 3 habituated gorilla families
There is no overnight hike allowed therefore one has to be prepared to hike to Mt Kahuzi and return same day. The hike is through beautiful lush montane forest which eventually opens up to beautiful views of Lake Kivu and the rest of the park. There are also trails to Mt Bugulumiza which takes about 3 hours.
Enjoy the walk to the Tshibati falls which is through the community before entering the park. The thurdering waterfalls will welcome you with a mist after an hour of walking through the park to get to their location.