Comparison of Mountain and Lowland Gorillas in Congo


Many people could not differentiate the difference between the lowland gorillas and mountain gorillas, thus below is a comparison between the two. Lowland gorillas are mostly resided in the zoos around the world, lowland gorilla is the smallest subspecies of gorilla but nevertheless still a primate of an exceptional size and strength, the hair on the back of older males is grey while mountain gorillas older males is silver and that’s why older males are referred to as silver-backs and also in numbers, the lowland gorillas are much more than the mountain gorillas in the whole world.

The population of lowland gorillas is currently more than 50,000 and population of mountain gorillas are over 1000. The trekking of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is somehow expensive, especially in Rwanda and Uganda, but the experience achieved is of a life time.

While on your gorilla trekking safari in Africa you can have this same experience at ago depending on how you arrange your trip with your safari operator, you can take one designed gorilla route starting from Democratic Republic of Congo and start with Kahuzi Biega National Park where you can trek the lowland gorillas, then to Virunga National Park for the mountain gorilla trek. Thereafter, visit to Rwanda’s Volcanoes and Uganda’s Mgahinga and Bwindi Forest National Park for the mountain gorilla trekking adventures.

Where to trek the Mountain gorillas

World-wide, the mountain gorillas can only be found in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Uganda resides the largest number of mountain gorillas, with over 600 gorillas, inhabited in two Uganda’s Parks: Bwindi Impenetrable Forests National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Both Parks are found in the southwestern parts of the country and Uganda currently have 19 habituated gorilla families, 18 in Bwindi and 1 in Mgahinga. In Uganda, a gorilla permit costs US$ 600 for each of the Park you are to take your gorilla expeditions from.

The trekking of mountain gorillas in Rwanda takes place only in Volcanoes National Park and the gorilla permit price in Rwanda is at US$ 1500, the country has 11 habituated gorilla families currently. The gorilla trekking permit in DR Congo costs only US$ 400 and it is one of the three countries protecting the mountain gorillas in its Virunga National Park.

Where to trek lowland gorillas

Lowland gorillas can be found in central Africa; Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Republic of Congo and Angola. Democratic Republic of Congo is the only country in the world to reside both the mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas. The lowland gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo can be trekked from Kahuzi-Biega National Park and in the Odzala National Park (Republic of Congo) both parks have had problems of civil war situation which have made both parks not to develop and yet the two parks are the only place where one can find lowland gorillas in the open area.  Slight differences, listed below, can be used for identification of mountain and lowland gorillas:


Eastern lowland gorillas can be found in the lowland tropical forests, well as the Mountain gorillas usually reside on the rocky slopes of dormant volcanoes and in the cloud forests on the altitude from 7.200 to 14.100 feet.


Most types of gorilla are 4 to 6 feet tall. Mountain gorillas are in between the size of eastern lowland gorilla, that can reach around 450 pounds of weight, and western lowland gorilla, that usually weighs between 150 and 400 pounds.


The eastern lowland gorilla has light-colored and brownish-gray coat, well as fur of mountain gorilla is longer and shaggier compared with the fur of lowland gorillas which is much shorter and softer.


Mountain gorillas emit strong odor from the glands under their arms when they are under stress. This type of signaling is not typical for lowland gorillas. Besides via sense of smell, gorillas also communicate via various sounds, facial expressions and body postures.


Lowland gorillas consume leaves, vines, stems, roots and around 100 different types of fruit. Insects and small reptiles are occasionally on the menu. However the diet of mountain gorilla is more strictly based on the plant material such as leaves, shoots, stems, flowers and bark from the trees.


The lowland gorilla is peaceful, non-aggressive animal which does not attack unless it is provoked. Fight inside the group is usually consequence of competition for dominant position in a troop and opportunity for mating with females. Mountain gorilla is a shy and gentle creature, but females often form strong bonds with males in the group to ensure protection against predators and prevent infanticide.

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