Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the best destinations offering opportunities for unique gorilla tracking in Africa. In this same country, you can see three of the known four species of gorillas.

Now you can walk in the footsteps of Africa’s giant ape, the mountain gorilla when you go gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park. Africa’s oldest and most biologically diverse park located in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mountain gorilla conservation and safaris are hot and trending news. With the ongoing threat of habitat loss, poaching, human diseases and civil wars recent in 2014 led to death of 10 gorillas despite the relentless conservation efforts of Virunga Park rangers and Congolese institute for wildlife and nature conservation. Virunga Park has a successful conservation story worth to share.

In the early 1990’s there were less than 500 mountain gorillas left on earth. Today, that figure has grown to 880 individuals protected only in four national parks. Uganda, Rwanda and DRC jointly continue to protect gorillas and their natural habitats. Could there be a better way to be part of gorilla conservation than going gorilla tracking in Virunga National Park on a safari with a tour operator.

The Virunga National Park authorities have managed to habituate at least 6 gorilla families which tourists can track. They include Humba, Rugendo, Mapuwa, Munyaga, Lulengo and Bageni is the largest with 26 members. Individual gorillas can be identified by the expert guides while armed rangers offer maximum security improved in Eastern DRC and the whole of Virunga Park.

A gorilla safari in Congo has strict gorilla tracking regulations. Unlike 8 tourists in Rwanda and Uganda, in DRC only 6 tourists can track gorillas. Children below 15 years of age are not allowed to trek gorillas. Visitors must not be sick and are required to cover their mouth with surgical masks during one hour with the gorillas. Photographing and watching gorillas is done at 7 meters distance. Even though gorillas are wild animals, it’s good to know that a 400 pound silverback gorilla approximately 1.7 meters tall is by far the most peaceful animal.

Your gorilla tracking expedition starts early morning at 07am from Rumangabo, the park headquarters near Mikeno lodge. Guides comprehensively brief visitors on tracking guidelines and what to expect on a trek through the forest.

When briefing is done, you’ll head into the forest led by armed rangers. Expect to trek without crowds, as well as seeing a lot of other wildlife too, including primates, many birds as you search for gorillas deep into the interior of Virunga National Park.