TRACKING THE LOWLAND GORILLAS
The Republic of Congo boasts a mosaic of pristine tropical rainforest and moist savannah, and as part of the vast forests of the Congo Basin, holds most of the world’s remaining western lowland gorillas along with a host of fauna and flora diversity. Many of the mammals and birds have rarely been seen, and even experienced safari-goers will make many new discoveries.
The rivers that drain this vast area of central Africa provide one of the few means of access to these largely untouched forests and national parks such as Odzala-Kokoua, and Nouabale-Ndoki. It is this remoteness which has protected the rich ecology of the Congo and has allowed indigenous peoples to maintain their sustainable forest dweller lifestyle.
Congo offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore a little-visited African wilderness and to unveil some of the continent’s remaining mysteries.
Name: Republic of Congo
Population: 4 million
Area: 342 000 sq. km
WHY CHOOSE CONGO?:
- Tracking western lowland gorillas, and encounters with habituated groups
- Exploring the natural splendour of untouched rainforests
- Guided day and night walks focusing on every aspect of the area’s ecology, from primates to insects
- Boat trips along rivers that give wonderful views into the gallery forests
- Walking through freshwater bais in search of forest buffalo and elephant
Regions and Insights
The Wilderness Safari Camps are in the Odzala-Kokoua area in the north of Congo. Odzala-Kokoua is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, proclaimed in 1935. At some 13 600 square kilometres (1 360 million hectares) it covers primarily pristine equatorial rainforest typical of the Congo Basin but is unique for protecting a large area of savannah as well.
The size of the Bahamas, Odzala-Kokoua has long been regarded as one of the gems of west central Africa. In addition to the gorillas, 11 species of diurnal primate, six nocturnal primate species, and an astonishing diversity of other wildlife can be found.
Odzala is blessed with numerous habitats, from dense primary forest to forest fringe, savannah, wide, languid rivers and forest bais. Our M’boko Concession plays host to several important bais, the productive forest clearings on which wildlife viewing is focused. The Ndzehi Forest, near the western boundary of Odzala-Kokoua, is primary rainforest with a dense understory of marantaceae which provides ideal habitat for western lowland gorillas. The forest is interlaced with small, crystal clear streams flowing over quartz pebbles.
- Soaring ancient trees, many of them well over 50 metres tall
- The wide range of landscape is home to extraordinary biodiversity
- Perfect habitat for western lowland gorillas and hence very high densities of these endangered great apes
Congo Visa Information
This information serves as a guide only. Travellers should check visa requirements pertaining to their citizenship, as entry requirements can vary.
All visitors need a visa, which is to be obtained from their nearest Congo embassy or consulate prior to travel. Visas are usually valid for one month from the date of issue.
Visitors to Africa must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended departure date, together with onward travel documents, proof of accommodation and sufficient funds for the duration of your stay. Please also ensure that you have sufficient blank visa pages (not endorsement pages) in your passport, with at least 2 consecutive/side by side blank pages. Our recommendation is 3 pages (or even 4 if you are travelling through more than one country on your journey). Please ensure that you have any appropriate travel documentation before departing on safari.
The climate in the Congo is the same across the country, with slight variations between the northern and southern regions. In general, the year is divided into four seasons:
- a long rainy season from October to December
- a short dry season from January to February
- a short rainy season from March to April
- a long dry season from May to September
The north is equatorial, hot and humid, while in the south the climate is tropical and humid with slightly less rain from October to May and a dry period from June to September. The centre is distinguished by a sub-equatorial climate marked by a very pronounced dry season.
Malaria is common throughout the DRC and malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended. It is advisable to consult your primary care provider, prior to travel, concerning proper prophylaxis
Yellow Fever Vaccination
A yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling to the country.
Medical care in Congo is fairly basic but the Centre Prive d’Urgence (CPU) clinic in Kinshasa should be able to cope with basic health problems. Medical aid and facilities outside of Kinshasa are scarce and poor however and evacuation to neighbouring countries may be required if condition is serious.
Travellers visiting this country should make certain that all travel and medical insurance is up to date prior to travelling to the country. It is advisable to take specific personal medicines as well as supplies such as syringes and drip needles, as medical facilities are available only in larger centres.
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The following vaccinations are recommended:
Typhoid fever – vaccination is particularly important because of the presence of S. typhoid strains resistant to multiple antibiotics in this region
Hepatitis A or Immune Globulin (IG)
Hepatitis B or Immune Globulin
Rabies – if coming into contact with wild or domestic animals