The thick, forested swamps of the Congo provide a protective haven for what is believed to be the world’s largest population of western lowland gorillas

The rain forest of the Congo basin is number one on our list of exhilarating destinations! The Republic of the Congo, or Congo-Brazzaville, is home to the second largest rain forest in the world. Here, unique species of animals and over 400 bird species flourish. The forests are also home to the western lowland gorilla, cousins of the better-known mountain gorilla.

Under its dense canopy, visitors track lowland gorillas or perhaps enjoy unexpected encounters with chimpanzees. Unlike traditional safari, the forests are best explored on foot or by water. There is no doubt that this offers the best opportunity to find forest elephants and buffalo and the almost-mythical bongo. Wading through the baies or kayaking silently along the rivers offers a perspective that brings a deep appreciation of this ancient world.

Oil, natural gas, mining and logging form the bulk of the economy in the Republic of the Congo. Sadly, exploitation of these natural resources has resulted in deforestation and has made wildlife vulnerable to trafficking and hunting. But a group of private conservationists is working with African Parks Network to bring tourism to the country.

A visit to the Odzala-Kokoua National Park is a life-changing journey.  Located in the centre of the Congo basin, this park covers an area of over 13 000 square kilometres (over 5000 square miles). Since approximately 12 000 people live on the periphery of the park, conservation of its flora and fauna is impossible with community participation. Consequently, park officials, conservationists and communities are working together to ensure the longevity of the ecosystem. The result is an exhilarating mix of wildlife viewing, cultural engagement and adventure that we believe anyone planning to return to Africa should experience!


These are some of our favourite experiences in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park:


Exploring the forest on foot, paying attention to the astounding adaptations insects have made to survive

Walking out of the lodge and into the forest to track gorillas

Wading silently through the bai on a quiet, misty morning

Meeting the people who call the forest home

Viewing forest elephants and buffalo from a kayak or on foot

Spotting a life-list bird


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