Mountain gorillas in Congo

Mountain gorillas in Congo are a few of the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world. The Democratic republic of Congo is home to a percentage of the 1,000 or so mountain gorillas left in the world. The mountain gorillas are a sub species of the gorilla species and there are three other sub species of this species and these are the eastern lowland gorillas, cross river gorillas and the western lowland gorillas.

The mountain gorillas are on the species list of the IUCN as an endangered species with about 1,063 individuals left in the world since the last census that was carried out in 2019 however with the conservation efforts of the two places the mountain gorillas are found, numbers have been growing.

The mountain gorillas can only be visited in the Virunga massif and in the Bwindi Forest where by this Virunga massif covers three national parks the Volcanoes national park in Rwanda on Rwanda Safari, the Virunga national park in the DR Congo and the Mgahinga gorilla national park of Uganda. The mountain gorillas just like their name suggests that they prefer to stay in the mountainous areas and this is the area where the Virunga volcanoes are located.

The mountain gorillas prefer to stay in places that are at an elevation of about 2,000 to 4,000 meters and these points in the forests can be quite chilly thus the thick hair that the mountain gorillas have allover their bodies to keep them warm. Temperatures in these parts of the forest can go as low as 0 degrees and this is why the thick fur of the mountain gorillas is much more compared to the other gorillas.

The mountain gorillas in the democratic republic of Congo are one of the reasons this country is commonly visited. Tourists flock the DR Congo for a chance to take part in the mountain gorilla trekking and they usually connect from Kigali in Rwanda or Goma.

Mountain gorillas in Congo
Mountain gorillas in Congo


The mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic Congo are found and can only be trekked in the Virunga national park. The Virunga national park is the oldest national park in Africa as it was established as a national park in April the year of 1925 as a protected area being among the first in Africa. The Virunga national park is located in the Albertine Rift valley which is in the eastern part of the DR Congo.

The Virunga national park also known as Parc National des Virunga is sited on an area of approximately 3,120 square miles which is approximately 8,090 square kilometers. The nearest city to the Virunga national park is the Goma city which has an international airport for guests to fly into. One of the international airlines that land on this airport is the Ethiopian airlines.

The Virunga national park is world Heritage site according to UNESCO and was also designated as a Ramsar wetland site of importance on the 18th of January 1996 under the name Parc National des Virunga.

The Virunga national park can be accessed from a number of points and these are the Goma International airport which is the closest or guests can fly into Rwanda at the Kigali International airport and drive about 5 hours to connect to the Grande Barrier where the Virunga tourism office is located. Guests coming from Kahuzi Biega on their DR Congo safari, can take a 3 hour speed boat from Bukavu port to Goma port.

Size and behavior

The mountain gorillas are relatively large species and these are the largest of the ape family with an adult mountain gorilla weighing from about 135 kgs to 220 kgs and a height of about 161 to 171 centimeters approximately 63 to 67 inches. The arm stretch of the mountain gorilla is approximately 2 to 2.7 meters which is approximately 6 feet 7 inches to 8 feet 10 inches.

The adult male starts to grey on its lower back and the gorillas stay in families led by one silverback gorilla as these greyers are commonly referred to as. Once a male gorilla starts to grey and is strong enough, he can fight to over throw the current leadership or leave his group to start another with a few females from other groups.

The mountain gorillas are omnivores as they feed on plants and small insects. They also sleep in new nests every night and the nests of the adults especially the male is built on the ground as their weight may not let them sleep up in the trees. They leave their nests as early as 6 am once the sun starts to come out.

The mountain gorillas are very gentle and social animals as you may see them relating in their gorilla families. The gorilla families usually have one dominant male but it is also possible to spot some families with more than one male.

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