"Bukavu and Kuhiza Biega National Park" Top 5 Page for this destination Democratic Republic of Congo by janiebaxter

Democratic Republic of Congo Travel Guide: 202 reviews and 620 photos

The Gorillas

The Gorillas here were the sole reason for taking this trip, in 1989. I saw the David Attenborough programme on TV and just had to see the Gorillas.
I was very lucky to have gone at that time, when some of the gorilla population in the park had recently become habituated to the presence of humans, travelling was reasonably easy and the town of Bukavu was peaceful and, if not prosperous, able to support itself economically.
The Kahuzi Biega National Park is now an endangered UNESCO World Heritage site - the gorilla population has declined drastically since 1990. Even then there were only 600 gorillas here and the numbers are thought to have declined by more than 60%! Poaching has resumed and the fighting in the area has spread to within the park.
This was the original site where Dian Fossey (protege of Dr. Louis Leakey) studied gorillas before relocating to Rwanda.
Once you have seen these beautiful creatures and spent time with them, you realise what a tragedy it would be to lose them and how important it is we make every effort to save them and help them in their plight

Bukavu

At the time of my visit Bukavu was a peaceful town, on the shore of Lake Kivu, 50km from the park, a lush green area with good soil to grow a wide variety of fruit and vegetables and a plentiful supply of Tilapia fish from Lake Kivu.
Although not a wealthy town, the people ate well with plenty of fresh food available.
We stayed in a very small hotel by the lake, which was simply furnished but very comfortable with lovely food and when we weren't trekking to see the gorillas we took relaxing walks by the lake

Trekking to find the Gorillas

We were told to expect a hard trek through difficult terrain, maybe for quite a few hours so went suitably prepared. However, we were extremely lucky both days. The first day we found the gorillas after one and a half hours and the second day after just one hour.
We were also lucky that permits and guides were easy to get in those days so we had a team of 5 guides and trackers with us.
The forest was very dense and slippery, as it was rainy season, and the guides had to hack away a lot of vegetation to make our way through.
As flash photography is not allowed the photographs are quite dark and a bit grainy.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Gorillas!
  • In a nutshell:We need to help save these gorillas!
  • Last visit to Democratic Republic of Congo: May 1989
  • Intro Updated Dec 18, 2007
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Reviews (5)

Comments (7)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Great page

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    Feb 5, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Jane, I have to tell you... I can read what you wrote about Gorilla etiquette all day long... but if that big silverback charged me, every instince I ever had would be to run like Usain Bolt on amphetamines in the opposite direction. :)

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2009 at 11:53 PM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JANIE! I MADE IT BACK FROM DRC !

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Oct 12, 2009 at 1:00 AM

    I think you were lucky to go when you did also, and what an experience it must have been, obviously one of the top ones I should think, that you will never forget.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2008 at 9:26 AM

    Wow, that must have been an experience of a lifetime to see a Gorilla poking his head up out of the vegetation! I enjoyed reading your account and only wish I had seen more of DRC all those years ago when I was living next door!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2007 at 8:58 AM

    Wow...seeing gorillas in the wild. For me, I have seen this fascinating apes in St. Louis Zoo, Missouri and other zoos.. Dumb question, did you see any gorilla or DR Congo postcards sold during your trip. Cheers, SL

  • triplehelix's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2007 at 2:56 PM

    thank you for posting!! i rarely see information about this place. i hear goma is under attack again. hope the madness stops.

janiebaxter

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