Best time for Congo Gorilla Trekking Safaris
Crossed by the equator line, the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the less-visited countries because of the political instabilities in some places, despite the fact that the country is having a variety and abundant fauna that explores the 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 for gorilla trekking. It is during these months that the amount of rain reduces and the skies are clear most of the time. This is the best time for taking photos of the countryside, physical features, and mountain gorillas because there are no obstructions like mist or overgrown vegetation.
July to September are by far the driest and best months for gorilla trekking in Congo. However, during this time, the movement of the gorillas is limited to some extent making it more strenuous to trek.
It is important to note that the Democratic Republic of Congo receives more rainfalls in March-May, however, this does not stop tourists from having their safari activities. During this 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 “the best time” for trekking, tourists should book their permits as early as possible at 400 $ for foreigners, and Congolese pay only 200 $ which is booked up months in advance. It is recommended to book at least 6 months prior to your preferred trekking date to avoid inconveniences.
The 3 Days Congo gorilla trekking safari budget is sold at around 1500$ and luxury is sold at around 2000$ making it cheaper compared to Uganda and Rwanda.
Gorillas in Congo
Congo is the only country in the world with two gorilla subspecies 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. Kahuzi – Biega national park has two spectacular vanished volcanoes including Kahuzi and Biega. Kahuzi – Biega national park has over 250 significant gorillas with the beautiful lakeside town of Bukavu offering good accommodation in colonial mansions. Both parks are under UNESCO World Heritage supervision. About 1063 mountain gorillas are estimated to be in existence 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 the human presence and safety of tourists who come in for gorilla safaris in DR Congo.
Eastern Lowland gorillas are found in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park living at between 2,100 and 2,400m above sea level. These live at 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, you’re required to get a gorilla trekking permit which is sold at $ 400 for each person who is a non-citizen, and Congolese pay only $200. The Congo gorilla trekking permit price is much less than that of Uganda and Rwanda. The gorilla trekking permit in Uganda is at US$ 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
DR Congo is known to have political unrests which worry intending travelers visiting the country. However, efforts have been made to keep the country safe especially around all the tourist places and public places therefore the country is visited all year round.
Situated in a region that has been deeply impacted by the effects of war and armed conflict for over 20 years, Virunga is protected tightly by a dedicated trained team of rangers. At all the national parks there’s tight protection by security personnel and strict measures for entrance and exit which is set to ensure the safety of those intending to go for gorilla trekking as well as the gorillas and wildlife in the parks.
To trek gorillas in Congo, a person should be above the age of 15 the same as it is regulated in both Rwanda and Uganda. Jewel Safaris organizes Congo gorilla tours for 2 days, 3days, 4days, five days, and more of Eastern Lowland or Mountain Gorilla Treks combining volcanic mountain hiking and cultural adventures. We also organize 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.