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Gorilla safari in Africa: travel safety in the DRC?

Hi all,

I was wondering if anybody had any advice concerning safety in the DRC? I have always wanted to go on a gorilla safari in Africa (maybe a few other chimps too), so I'm just doing a few checks. One place that I am thinking of going is the Rwenzori Mountains National Park. My main concerns are the journeys to and from the airport once landing in the country.

Can't wait to see some of these guys!

image

Comments

  • The tourist infrastructure in DRC is not that advanced, there are many more tour companies doing this in Uganda and Rwanda, but if you go there you are in for a treat. It is the best place to view gorillas in my view, and is also cheaper and less touristy. You will find the gorillas completely fascinating, the silverbacks are awesome and the newborn gorillas incredibly sweet.

    If you want to go to the DRC to see gorillas you will need to book your tour directly through Virunga National Park (http://visitvirunga.org) . This is the oldest national park in Africa, and it needs all the support it can get. There are only 880 mountain gorillas left on earth, and a quarter of them are in the Virunga National Park.

    A mountain gorilla permit costs US$400 for one day, which is cheaper than in Rwanda or Ugainda. The gorillas in Virunga National Park can be seen at any time of year. Treks usually take between 1-2 hours of hiking in each direction, depending on where the gorillas spent the previous night and the difficulty of the terrain. Note that some paths are hard to navigate during the wet season from May to October.

    You can also see Chimpanzees at Virunga, the day permits cost $100.

    Visitors to Virunga National Park usually fly into Kigali international airport (Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda) and take the three to four hour taxi ride to the border crossing with DRC (the taxi will cost around $100). Many of the international flights arrive in the late afternoon so you may need to spend the night in Kigali and leaving for Virunga in the morning. While Virunga is in the DRC, it borders both Rwanda and Uganda.

    Visit wordtravels.com for destination advice
  • Wow, Bertie! What an amazing idea for a trip! Why don't you check out this guide to the DRC?

    That should give you a pretty thorough perspective. It definitely helped on my trip. Have you been anywhere else in Africa before?
  • @Miriamtravels Do you have any advice for Bertie?
  • Thanks guys.

    Virunga looks amazing. It's so heartwarming to see the amount of infrastructure and effort that goes in to protecting these magnificent beasts. Hopefully, it continues to grow.

    And SamWilso, will check out the link you sent.

    In terms of travelling the rest of Africa, I'm actually from its most southern country! South Africa for those of you who didn't get that. So in terms of navigating my way through danger, I have a little bit of experience.

    I'm really wanting to explore and travel as much as I can in this side of the world. So I'm also looking to go out to Uganda and Rwanda. They're simply gorgeous.

    Still, I am a little worried about safety. So anything you guys can give me would be great?

    Thanks in advance,
    Berts
  • @Bertie

    One of the best ways to stay safe is to keep up to date with the latest travel news.

    Take this article about volcanic eruptions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example. About 15 years ago Mount Nyiragongo erupted and devastated a local town, killing around 600 people.

    Because of armed conflict in the area, scientists are struggling to predict when the next eruption might happen - so be sure you stay alert.

    So while you should worry about crime in the DRC, you should also make sure you consider every aspect, including natural forces.

    All the best!
    Luke, Word Travels Editor.
  • @Bertie The picture above is of a Chimpanzee. You can do gorilla trekking in DRC but you will land at Kigali international airport and take a car to Goma across from Rwanda. This is a about 3 hours drive. The permits indeed cost $400 and in Rwanda they cost $1500 and in Uganda it costs $600.

    Generally the area where trekking happens is currently open to tourists but I advise you contact a tour agency in Rwanda or Uganda that offers tours to Congo for easy planning. You can alternatively use public transport from Kigali to the border and have a local guide across in Congo pick you.

    Enjoy your trip.
  • Thanks @Miriamtravels! Yeah, that was my mistake! Wouldn't mind seeing some chimpanzees too though. Have you been anywhere in that region? If you got any general tips, I'd love that.

    The volcanoes sound incredible. Scary. But incredible. Definitely will look into climbing one. I'm also thinking of perhaps looking further than them mountainous regions. If there are any natural attractions besides wildlife, would love to hear your guys' opinions!

    Think I need a bucket list for my trips to West and East Africa. You're welcome to add to it!
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