About Kahuzi-Biega National Park
Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a secure area close to Bukavu town in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Its located near the western bank of lake Kivu and the Rwandan border and most visitors that travel to the park come from either Goma or Rwanda via Rusizi border. Kahuzi-biega is one of the biggest national parks in the country with a coverage size of 6000 sqkms. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, engraved in 1980 for its exceptional biodiversity of rainforest habitat and its eastern lowland gorillas.
The park is named after spectacular extinct volcanoes which lead its high altitude sector that is Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega and its one of the safest destinations managed by Wildlife Conservation Society. Kahuzi-Biega National Park is the new tourists’ destination for travelers in Congo who enjoy looking at the eastern lowland gorillas. The park is offering the chance to admire the world’s largest species of primates, and have a simple hike of the two mountains that make the national park which are the extinct volcanoes which is a key issue for conservation of the national park and the forests in Congo and the forest elephants.
Democratic Republic of Congo is well known to be a region full of mystery, and we have also come to realize that security is a primary concern for the tourists as it’s also important to always stay updated on the internal issues that affect travels in the DRC. Since its not completely safe in all parts of DRC, it’s advisable to use a tour operator who is very knowledgeable about the destination in terms of local conditions.
The park lies west of the Bukavu town in South Kivu Province, covering an area of 6000 km2. A slight part of the park is in Mitumba Foothill range of the Albertine Rift in the Great Rift Valley, and the greater part is in lowland terrain. A corridor of 7.4 kilometres (4.6 mi) width joins the hilly and lowland terrain.
The eastern part of the park is the slighter hilly region measuring 600 square kilometres (230 sq mi), the greater part measures 5,400 square kilometres (2,100 sq mi) and consists mainly of lowland stretching from Bukavu to Kisangani, drained by the Luka and Lugulu rivers which flow into the Lualaba River. Two dormant volcanoes are set within the park’s limits and lend their names to it, that is Kahuzi (3,308 metres (10,853 ft)) and Biéga (2,790 metres (9,150 ft). The park gets an average annual precipitation of 1,800 millimetres (71 in).
The maximum temperature recorded in the area is 18 °C (64 °F) while the minimum is 10.4 °C (50.7 °F). The park was baptized after two mountains of Mt. Kahuzi (3,308m) and Mt. Biega (2, 790m) situated in the South Kivu Region, eastern chunk of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It ranges from the Congo River basin close to Itebero-Utu to the northwest of Bukavu. Around 1937, for the fortification of the Eastern Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri), the Belgian colonial administration generated the Zoological Standby of Mt. Kahuzi with an area of 750 sq. km. Since this addition, the park is comprised of two segments which is the high and the low altitude that is connected to the narrow ecological strip.
The Kahuzi-Biega National Park was celebrated as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1980. Though, enormous number of Rwandan refugees came to live in and around the Park due to the internal conflict in Rwanda in 1990-1994. Then there were two major wars in the area, the First Congo War (Nov. 1996 – May 1997) and the Second Congo War (Aug. 1998 – July 2003). Subsequently the park has been put on the tilt of World Heritage in Danger since 1997 due to the overwhelming threats and danger caused by the political instability; influx of refugees, illegal settlers, poaching, removal and burning of timber, presence of militia groups. Currently the situation has much upgraded and the park authority, the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) is working energetically to observe the gorillas and safeguard the park.
Democratic republic of Congo is known to be a region full of mystery, and we have also come to realize that safety is also the primary concern for the tourists in the recent days and it’s also important to always stay updated on the internal issues which might affect travel in the democratic Republic of Congo.
Since it’s not completely safe in all the parts of the DRC and it’s important to choose a tour operator who is knowledgeable about the local conditions. Additionally, like any other economic activity, Kahuzi Biega National Park guides take Care of Gorilla Trekkers and Hikers when in the park for any movements and never think of self-drive Safaris to Congo.
Rain season is April-May and October-January. The monthly average temperature for a year in Bukavu is between 19C and 21C. The high temperature in the park would be a bit calmer than in Bukavu. It can be cool in the evening and you need a sweater or jacket.