Where Can You See Lowland Gorillas?The Republic of Congo and the DRC
There are two parks in the Congo region where gorillas can be seen. The eastern lowland gorilla is much rarer than the western lowland gorilla and their numbers are depleting rapidly mainly due to poaching and armed conflict in the region. The eastern lowland gorilla can be seen at the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (in the DRC). This park appears to have suffered enormously from the armed conflict raging on and off in this region for years now. For more information on helping Kahuzi-Biega National Park see Born Free, a UK based international wildlife protection charity, and also the Kahuzi-Biega blog.
The Odzala National Park (in the Republic of Congo) is home to the densest population of the western lowland gorilla. The civil war situation in the DRC and the parks' proximity to Gabon makes it easier to get to from Gabon. It is the only park where you can see gorillas in the open grass. There are 5 tented camps dotted around the park some of which are only accessible by canoe. This is definitely a park you should visit with a tour group, just for ease of travel. A true safari experience if ever there was one.
The Ivindo National Park is new and a good place to see lowland gorillas. It is quite undeveloped, but you can stay at the nearby Loango National Park. The gorillas are quite unsused to human contact here and therefore are quite accessible. The park is also home to some spectacular waterfalls.
Loango National Park boasts gorillas on the beach no less. This unique setting makes it a very attractive destination. There are several accommodation options including a lodge, bungalows and beach camps around the park.
For a recent travelogue on these two parks read this from the New York metro site.
There are two parks you can see lowland gorillas in Cameroon. The Korup National Park which covers a large tract of rainforest and the Lac Lobeke National Park. There is very little information for visitors to these parks, but check the Berggorilla website for up to date information about conservation in this area.
Lowland Gorilla Safari ToursSafaris to see the lowland gorillas can be quite rough and strenuous, especially those that venture in to the Republic of Congo.
- Steppes Discovery offers safaris to various National Parks in the Congo and CAR to see western lowland gorillas and forest elephants. UK based operator.
- Baka Pygmy and lowland gorilla tour from Camtours in Cameroon.
- ResponsibleTravel.com offers a wonderful two week lowland gorillas safari in Gabon and the Congo. The costs are over USD 8000 per person but it includes flights.
Further Reading and Listening
- Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
- Gorilla Facts from the World Wildlife Foundation so you can know the difference between the lowland and mountain gorilla and where they reside.
- About Uganda has updated information about the conditions in the parks in Uganda and news affecting your gorilla tracking such as cost of permits, movement of habituated groups and more.
- Amateur traveler Podcast Listen to a podcast from Chris Willis who tracked Gorillas in 2006/7 in Rwanda and Uganda. Chris offers tips about getting a permit, country conditions, what it's like to see Gorillas and more.
A Guide to Gorilla SafarisPage One: Where to see mountain gorillas, gorilla tracking tips and gorilla permits.
Page Two: When to go, how to get to the parks, where to stay and sample gorilla safari tours.