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67mila

RDC-Kahuzi Biega NP/Lake Kivu

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67mila

Hello 

i just want to share my excellent experience in RDC this June ten days between Rwanda and RDC (Bukavu area ).

Flight from Europe to Kigali-Rwanda

Driver Kigali-Bukavu

3 nights in Bukavu

2 gorilla trackings in Kahuzi Biega NP

Lwiro Primates Center

I was supposed to take the speed boat to Goma and then to make a mountain gorilla tracking in the Virunga NP but I had to change my  plans due to the security problems and because the NP was closed.I stayed instead in Cyangugu 3 nights in Emeraude Kivu Resorts and made 2 chimps Treks in Cyamudongo Forest,a part of Nyungwe NP.

I was this time as a solo female on this trip and at any time I felt unsafe in RDC.People and rangers take great care ot the tourists and are so warm and kind.They really deserve that tourists come and see the beauty of this region.

If you speak French is easier to talk to people because most of them doesn’t speak very well Englisch.Drivers and guides do.

The Kahuzi Biega NP is beatiful and the gorilla tracking were excellent. First tracking we were three  tourists and a  Gorilla Doctor researcher  and the second one I was the only tourist,I had a private gorilla tracking,can you believe it?!

Now to Rwanda:

I travel more than 20 years in Africa and I notice that a lot of tourists come to do trackings and they don’t have any idea about the walks and how long does it take. I don’t know if is a lack of informations from the travel agency or a lack of experience in traveling generally speaking.

Sometimes the gorillas and the chimps are near but you have to be prepare to walk easily 2-3 hours and for chimps also 4-6 hours until you find them.They move very fast so you have to wear good shoes and  be prepared to walk fast and depending on the season in slippery hills up and down.

It seems that a lot of tourists,especially in Rwanda , are really bad informed .

During my chimps tracks I had to deal with tourits without any fisical conditions and others with flip flop and sandals ...

These tourists had not chance to see the chimps like I have done moving very fast behind the trackers.

Depending of the seasons they keep walking in search of food or you find them eating on figue trees and you can watch them very well.

I just want to give these informations to other people because these kind of trips in Africa are very expensive and popular but to get the best of it,you have to be prepared and well equipped.

I have been in Uganda in Mgahinga NP in 1997 to see mountain gorillas and it was excellent,but these two gorillas trackings in RDC were much better. 

I posted pictures of Bukavu,from the  Ihuzi Express where you can take the speed boat to Goma.Ihuzi Express has an App where you can buy online tickets if you want.

Other pictures ( sorry I am not a professional ) are from Lwiro Center ,Kivu Lake .

If you decide to go to RDC think about to bring warm clothes and old clothes to give to the people,people are very poor,especially the last village before you enter in Kahuzi Biega NP..I flew Brussels Airlines and it was excellent,I could bring also 23 Kg of old clothes and shoes to leave there and people need it really!

 

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gatoratlarge

very interesting and intrepid---look forward to this report!

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Alexander33

I’m looking forward to hearing more. I would love to visit the DRC someday, for the very reasons you stated, but right now the security issues are just too much of a concern for me to consider it seriously. I do hope things improve there. 

 

I couldn’t tell from your descriptions whether you did any trekking in Rwanda itself on this particular trip?   We were there last year, but I never saw anyone in flip-flops or anything like that. Everyone on our treks had thoroughly prepared. (Well, I did see one man at the Park headquarters in shorts and sneakers one day — but it seems he learned his lesson well. The next day, he was wearing long pants and sturdy boots. :lol: ) However, as Rwanda continues to market itself as an exclusive destination for the very wealthy, I suppose we may see more of that sort of thing. 

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wilddog

@67mila Could you just clarify that your gorilla trekking was in  Kahuzi Biega NP rather than Virunga??

 

Could this explain the lack of preparedness of the tourists you indicate?

 

and I believe the gorillas tin Kahuzi Biega are Lowland rather then Mountain.

 

 

Edited by wilddog

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ForWildlife

I think the gorillas in kahuzi-biega are eastern lowland gorillas Gorilla beringei graueri (sometimes also called Grauer's gorillas). Same species as the mountain gorillas (G. beringei beringei) but different from the ones you see in zoo (although there used to be one Grauer's gorilla in a Belgium zoo not too long ago), which are western lowland gorillas (G. gorilla gorilla) or the Cross river gorilla (G. g. diehli) which occurs only near the Cross river at the border of Nigeria and Cameroon, and which is the rarest of all.

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wilddog

Thanks for clarifying @ForWildlife

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ForWildlife

I re-read my post and it might be a bit confusing. The vast majority of gorillas found in zoos are western lowland gorillas. Antwerp zoo used to have a few eastern lowland gorillas. The original founders seemed to have come in captivity in the 50's. The last 2 females remaining were Victoria and Amahoro. Victoria was born in the zoo 1968 and died in 2016, Amahoro I think is still alive. She was born in the wild in 1989, I don't know how she ended up in Antwerp zoo. The gorillas in Kahuzi-Biega are eastern lowland gorillas, same species, but different subspecies as the mountain gorilla, but different species than the western lowland gorilla. There are some voices which advocate to split up the mountain gorillas in two separate subspecies (with Bwindi and Virunga populations treated as different subspecies).

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67mila

@ForWildlife is right.

After having seen in 1998 in Mgahinga NP in Uganda mountains gorillas ,I wanted to go back and see the mountain gorillas in Virunga NP and the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega NP because as far as I know is the only place where you can see them.

Carlos Schuler is a swiss citizen  leaving in Bukavu since more than 20 years,he runs the Coco Lodge there and wrote an incredible book about his life there .He worked for the Kahuzi Biega NP long time and his wife is Christine Deschryver ,the daughter of Adrien Deschryver,the founder of the Kahuzi Biega NP in the 70s.

She collaborates I think with Dr.Mukwege and she manages a women project  in Bukavu.

This book was so interesting that I decided to organize this trip.

The eastern lowland gorillas are bigger than the mountains gorillas and it was fantastic.

 

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Atravelynn

Flip flops for gorilla tracking?  Oh my! 

How wonderful you saw the Eastern Lowland Gorillas on this intrepid adventure!

 

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