Thursday, July 11, 2013

Low Land gorilla trekking in Kahuzi Biega National Park in Congo: What a thrilling experience! And the place is very safe

We will never forget our encounter with these gentle low land gorillas. On 28th June 2013 I went with Paolo Neri and Patrizia Amadelli (from Modena, Italy) for the trekking of low-land gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park. We spent the night before at a beautiful lodge in the surrounding of Bukavu town, Coco Lodge. The service was excellent, the place superb and you start feeling the presence of the nearby gorillas, as many information are displayed in the lodge itself.
In the morning, after a short transfer by vehicle, we arrived at the Head Quarter of the National Park. With a surprise, we were the only visitors taking the activity. It is very unfortunate that the international image of Congo is so bad, that even safe places like Bukavu and Kahuzi Biega National Park are suffering loss of tourism because of the general image of the Eastern Congo situation of unrest.
We went with the rangers to a family of 37 gorillas, Chimanuka. The rangers were the most professional; they even gave us masks to cover our mouth so that we better respect the habitat and the gorillas.  It took us less than 45 minutes to meet and greet the friendly gorillas. 
As soon as we arrived to the point they were, the whole family was there watching us as we watched them, the babies in most cases came closer to us, some wanting to touch our cameras because they were very curious. We watched them feed, play and clap hands (interesting). When our guide clapped his hands, the small babies and the juveniles also clapped and it was such a thrilling adventure for us.
This trekking was the most exciting; you really feel the real adventure, the real remote tropical forest, in its full powerful presence. It is just incredible that travelers miss out this trekking because they fear to enter the border of Congo. As long as you have acquired a valid visa from an Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo, you will only see how in Bukavu and Kahuzi Biega everything is safe and well organized. Not only that: tourism will help conservation; we need to support tourism in Congo because this is how the gorillas will be always being protected.
Check out our itinerary for the trekking of Low land gorillas or you can take the long program the Eden of Africa Safari. Thank you to Paolo Neri to give us the permission to use his beautiful and amazing photographs for our gallery.

Allen Natukunda

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