The Democratic Republic of Congo or République Démocratique du Congo is one true definition of a thrilling adventure destination in the African continent. Straddled by the equator in the heart of Africa, D.R Congo boasts massive area covering almost the whole of Western Europe. On top of being blessed with the mighty Congo river plus one of the world’s known largest natural tropical rain forests.
This combination of factors results in unsurprisingly interesting climate and weather variations in addition to fascinating landscape coupled with rolling Savannah plains, jaw-dropping volcano ranges and unending flush jungle canopy making it a must-visit destination in the region.
Recently viewed by many as an unsafe and dangerous place to visit, the story has gradually changed over the last five years. The best thanks to the largest United Nations peacekeeping unit in the world endeavoring to create a peaceful environment in the country. This has seen numbers of visitors steadily rising and making Democratic Republic of Congo a thriving tourism hub once again.
What to do in D.R Congo?
Congo has a lot of attractions and activities to indulge in when you happen to find your way to this flourishing destination. Attractions ranging from gushing and calm rivers like River Congo, dormant and fire-spitting volcanoes like Nyiragongo, diverse culture and rich flora and fauna with endangered mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas being on top of the list. Some famed activities include hiking, culture encounters, safaris and gorilla trekking. In this article, we will talk about gorillas in particular, where to find them and most importantly the best time to visit these beautiful creatures.
Unlike Virunga area which neighbours of Uganda and Rwanda and only shelters the mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), Democratic Republic of Congo is most importantly the home of lowland gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri) in Bukavu region; while the Virunga national park is famous for mountain gorillas and is the hotspot for mountain gorilla trekking in D.R. Congo.
Facts about Gorillas in D.R. Congo.
Gorillas live in families of 2 to 50 members with one dominant male, always a silverback easily noticed by the grey hair covering its back. They are mainly herbivores with their daily meal consisting of plant shoots, tree roots and leaves and occasionally feeding on insects and smaller animals.
A full-grown gorilla is estimated to consume about 15-18 kilograms of food in a day. They may go without drinking water for a long period as they derive all the water they need from the moisture in the diet they have. Wild gorillas sleep in nests that are made every day on the move.
Younger individuals prefer to nest in the branches while older ones prefer sleeping on the ground because of age which comes with reduced agility. Gorillas have a life expectancy of 35 years when in the wild and up to 55 years when in captivity.
Mortality rate of gorillas under the age of 3 is relatively high while for members above five is amazingly five per cent. Lastly, they share the same gestation period of nine months and an individual is counted as an adult at seven years and can bear offspring of its own.
The best time to trek gorillas.
D.R. Congo is ideally good to be visited any time of the year but the best time like other African countries along the equator is the dry season. In Congo, this period usually spans from July to September when rains are very rare and conditions more suitable for trekking in Virunga national park. You can incorporate your trip with other fun activities like tasting Kinshasa lively nightlife, hiking the different volcanoes or just chill at Tchegera island.
If considering travel soon with the aim of trekking gorillas, include Democratic Republic of Congo on top of your list; it will give you one of the best authentic African experiences.