Tayna Nature Reserve – 893KM2

Tayna Nature Reserve is amazingly one of the very few strongholds of the critically endangered Grauer’s gorillas/lowland gorillas  in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Tayna is found in the Eastern side of the D.R. Congo, North Kivu province and it is easier to get to this beautiful Nature Reserve by road or air.

tayna-nature-reserveThe Reserve is one of the remarkable nature reserves boasting of its breathtaking landscape. Geographically, Tayna is strategically positioned in an area of transitioning of the great Albertine Rift Valley to the Congo River making it one of the best places to enjoy panoramic views.

Established in 1998, Tayna Nature Reserve spans on the land area of 893sq.kms and it is where over 450 Grauer’s gorillas are being habituated. Tayna is a typical example of community based conservation area in the world. It is managed by locals living in the neighboring communities.

Like the National Parks, Tayna Nature Reserve attained equal status from the Congolese government. The reserve receives most of its support from the different organizations and the Congo government to facilitate its growth into a conservation area.

Creation of the Reserve had its challenges. Pierre Kakule a one chief a brain behind establishment of Tayna as a Nature Reserve plus other chiefs in the region who supported its formation to help the Batangi and Bamati people, were affected by civil wars leaving many orphaned children. This led to establishment of an institution in support of the orphaned children and also create awareness about value of conserving the environment for sustainable tourism.

Since, Tayna receives donations from non-government organizations including Conservation International and the Walt Disney Company. Donations are mainly to help facilitate activities leading to protection of the nature reserve for future generations.

Tayna Nature Reserve lies in a transition zone between the lowland forests of the Congo basin to the West and the highlands of the Albertine rift to the East. The Nature Reserve is set in an undulating terrains with altitudinal range of 850 to 1850m. Tayna is part of the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspots, a significant area in the Kivu region most popular for its diverse species and endemic creatures. It is also a significant upland water shed, regulating water flow in the area.

Creation and management of Tayna Nature Reserve

The Reserve lies within the land donated by community members and it is a community led protected area unlike many National Parks that are managed by the government. Towards late 1990s, the community and traditional leaders spearheaded efforts to protect Tayna Area and the main goal was to prevent the loss of local forests, sacred cultural sites, wildlife to commercial cattle ranchers and agricultural settlements which were creeping westward.

The idea to protect the area was kept despite the civil war in the 1990S and early 2000s in the Eastern Congo. The land was donated by 21 Barazas/families of traditional landowners to pave way to creation of the Reserve. La Reserve des Gorilles de Tayna was formed to run the Nature Reserve. The Reserve was officially designated as a Nature Reserve in 2006 by the Congo’s government. Today, the reserve is completely under protection of Congolese law.

Other wildlife/animals in Tayna Nature Reserve Congo

Located in the Kivu Province, The Reserve is a rich protected area inhabiting not only Grauer’s gorillas but also other wildlife. These include bonobos, Nile crocodiles, forest elephants, okapis, chimpanzees, etc.

Activities to do Tayna Nature Reserve

There are several potential activities for tourists on Congo safari to expect to engage in while at Tayna Nature Reserve. These include Grauer’s gorilla trekking, birding, guided nature walks, game viewing and more.