Planning to take part in gorilla adventure in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but you do not know when it is favorable or the best time to travel? When you think of a safari to any destination in Africa, first you need to be aware of when to get to that dream destination and so it is a case with gorilla trekking safaris in the DR Congo. For beginners, gorilla treks in the DRC are conducted in the Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park. The two parks offer refuge to distinct gorilla species with mountain gorillas thriving only in Virunga and the eastern lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Trips to see these unique creatures can be done at any time of the year however, regardless of this fact, you to put into consideration two important seasons-the dry and wet season.
Depending on what your travel interests are, the dry season is usually regarded as the most ideal season for one to explore more about these Great Apes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This season comes with favorable weather conditions and the ground is normally kept relatively drier making it a bit easier for one to hike through the park’s dense vegetation and steep slopes while in search for these amazing creatures. The dry season equally is experienced twice a year with the first phase that starts from June to September while the second one begins from December to February. The advantage with trekking gorillas during this season is that, weather conditions are favorable as it comes with low rainfall amount received compared to the rainy season. However, the fact that DR Congo lies astride equator and given the kind of habitat where these creatures thrive, you have to expect rains at any time of the day. As well, note that the northern part of the Virunga National Park experiences its dry spell from December to February then when you to the south, the dry season is experienced between April and October.
On the other hand, the wet season which is also best known as the low season, is good for gorilla trekking given the advantage that it has. In the northern side of the Virunga National Park, the wet or rainy season is experienced from April to October while the southern part experiences it from late November to early March. However, the DR Congo generally experiences its rainy season from October to November while the long wet season begins from Mid-March to late May. December features as the busiest month of the year when it comes to safaris in the Virunga National Park. For any plans to explore what this magical country has to offer for its visitors, please note that most visitors prefer visiting from June to September and then February as they are characterized by low rainfall amount. During this period or even other seasons, you are encouraged to secure your permit early enough to avoid last minute struggle that may result into disappointments as there is high demand for gorilla permits.
The wet season is characterized by heavy rainfall amount and dense vegetation cover and in the Virunga National Park it is experienced from March to May and October to November. The ground normally becomes muddy, slippery and this makes it a bit challenging for one to hike through the steep slopes and thick vegetation while in search for these creatures. Whether you plan to trek gorillas during wet or dry season, there is need for you to pack appropriately for your adventure. In your packing list, consider the following items a must-water proof hiking boots that are light weight, water proof daypack, gardening gloves, rain jacket or poncho, camera with no flashlight, walking stick (this one can be got at the park headquarters or lodge), insect repellent, sweater, a valid gorilla permit, long sleeved shirt or t-shirt, hat, sun glasses, first aid kit, snacks, bottled water a mention but a few.
In conclusion, if you have any plans to pay a visit to DRC for a safari this coming holiday, take note of both the dry and wet season as each comes with its advantages and disadvantages.