Best time for Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Crossed by the equator line, the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the less visited countries having a variety of fauna to explore for pristine jungle memories. The country is one of those that have a population of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas living in the Virunga National Park. The park is open for gorilla trekking all year round, however, It is very important for intending travelers to know when the best time for Congo gorilla trekking safaris is most appropriate.
The best time to go gorilla trekking in Congo is during the country’s two dry seasons which are January and February and from June to September. Months of June, July, August, September, January and February are the best times to go gorilla trekking. It is during these months that the amount of rain has reduced and the skies are clear most of the time.
July to September are by far the driest and best months for gorilla trekking in Congo. However, during this time, the gorillas are also known to move deeper into the jungle making it more strenuous to trek
It is important to note that the Democratic Republic of Congo experiences high frequencies of rain, however, this does not stop tourists from having their safari activities. During the rainy season, rains are heavy and therefore remember to carry rain gear like a rain jacket, boots and warm clothing to undertake gorilla trekking. The rainy seasons are from October to November and mid-March to May as the country receives high rain totals.
To have a Congo gorilla safari during the dry season which is known as the best time for trekking, tourists should book their permits early as they get booked up months in advance. It is recommended to book at least 6 months prior to your preferred trekking date.
Gorillas in Congo
Congo is the only country in the world with two gorilla sub species with both mountain gorillas and the eastern lowland gorillas.
The mountain gorillas are found in Virunga National Park which is found within the Virunga Mountains of which Mgahinga Gorilla National Park of Uganda and the Volcanoes National Park of Rwanda are also part. Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the continent’s most biologically diverse protected area.
About 1063 mountain gorillas are estimated to be existent in the world with Virunga having part of this population. In Virunga’s southern sector around Bukima, there are currently eight gorilla families and four solitary males. The gorilla families are habituated which means they are accustomed to human presence and safe for tourists to visit during Congo gorilla safaris.
Eastern Lowland gorillas are found in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park. These live in a lower altitude and can easily be trekked without hiking difficulties as it is with mountain gorillas. Kahuzi-Biega is a tropical rainforest with two outstanding volcanoes which are Kahuzi and Biega. The park is located in Bukavu town in the eastern side of Congo close to the border with Rwanda and south of Lake Kivu. Maiko National Park also hosts eastern lowland gorillas.
Western lowland gorillas are the smallest of the four gorilla subspecies. Their exact number is not known because they inhabit some of the densest and remote rainforests including in isolated swamps and remote swampy forests of Congo.
Cost of Congo gorilla Permits
To trek gorillas in Congo, an individual requires to get a gorilla trekking permit. Congo gorilla trekking permit price is at US$ 400 for each person. The Congo gorilla trekking permit price is way much less than that of Uganda and Rwanda. The gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is at US$ 700 whereas that of Rwanda is at US$ 1500. The gorilla trekking permit in Congo has a cheaper cost in Africa.
Safety during Gorilla trekking in Congo
Congo has been known to have political unrests which worry intending travelers on visiting the country. However, efforts have been made to keep the country safe for tourists and therefore can be visited all year round.
Situated in a region which has been deeply impacted by the effects of war and armed conflict for over 20 years, Virunga is protected by a dedicated team of over 700 rangers. All national parks are protected and strict measures set to ensure safety of those on Congo gorilla trekking tours as well as the gorillas and wildlife in the parks.
To trek gorillas in Congo, an individual should be above the age of 15 just like it is for mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Congo. Jewel safaris plans Congo gorilla tours that range from 2 days Eastern Lowland or Mountain Gorilla Treks to multiple day tours combining volcanic mountain hiking and cultural adventures. We also plan Rwanda gorilla tours and Uganda gorilla safaris. These trips can be customized for any kind of traveler for short or long gorilla tours. Beyond gorilla trekking check out our Kenya safari or Tanzania safari tours for the very best African game drive experiences.