The equatorial rainforest that covers much of the Republic of Congo is part of the larger Congo Basin, which is the second largest rainforest after the Amazon.
Threaded with rivers and tendrils of savannah that provide a natural home to a wonderful diversity of wildlife, this wilderness contains more than 1,000 bird species, 700 types of fish, and over a 10,000 plant species. There are thought to be 100,000 western lowland gorillas in the Congo Basin, along with large populations of forest buffalo, forest elephant and bongo.
At present Odzala-Kokoua National Park, is only place where it is possible to meet habituated family groups of western lowland gorillas. Only for the adventurous the park is an exploration to rival all others. From wading belly button high in dark muddy waters to snipping your way through leafy canopies, from looking at an army of head banging termites to sitting among a group of western lowland gorillas, the Congo is a truly wild place where you can feel like one of Africa’s original explorers. Only you have talented and knowledgeable guides to explain your discoveries and you can sit back and relax in luxurious rooms when your feet tire and the sun sets.
Did you know?
- Treks and expeditions range in length often over difficult terrain. You will need at least a basic level of fitness to take part in many of the trips.
- Waking up in the jungle is incredible, the cabins at Mboko are right on the riverside and hidden among the forest, with a large sundeck overlooking open grassland visited by elephants and a great place for birding.
- Established in 1935, Odzala-Kokoua is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, with 13,600 sq km of rainforest, savannah, and rivers.
- The climate in the Congo is equatorial and the country’s terrain is relatively flat with low altitude, so it tends to be hot year-round.
- There are two green seasons March-May and September-November, this is the best time for photographers as the sudden tropical downpours leave the air clear. There is not so much fruit available so gorillas and chimps reduce their range for food. Also the elephants visit the bais in search of minerals.
- Drier seasons December-Feb and June- August its cooler and less humid but can be hazy. Gorillas climb the trees to feed on fruit so they are easier to see ad chim anzee sightings are good at this time.
- Birding is amazing all year round with forest endemics and migrants.
- A livelihood diversification project has planted 40,000 cocoa seedlings outside the park and seen the installation of over 70 beehives, providing the communities around the park alternative livelihoods to hunting bush meat.
- Odzala has three upmarket tourist lodges, Lango, Mboko and Ngaga Camps, which are directly managed by Odzala Discovery Camps and which contribute much needed revenue to the park and local communities.
- Congo really is only for the adventurous, the lodges are very comfortable but the game viewing can be hot, wet and hard work!