The Republic of Congo is surrounded by five countries: Cameroon and the Central African Republic in the north, Gabon to the west, the enclave of Cabinda (Angola) to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the east. This former French colony is a sparsely populated, little-known nation, with a population of just over 4 million people, 2 million of which are located in the capital of Brazzaville. Republic of Congo spans an area of 342 000 square kilometres – with the rainforest in which Odzala is situated covering more than half the area of the country.
Much more stable and more lightly populated than its neighbors in the region of central Africa, the Republic of Congo can be easily accessed from Paris, Nairobi or Johannesburg. Traveling independently within the country is challenging, but we offer a set itinerary using shared charter flights to access spectacular regions of lush and pristine tropical forest interspersed with savanna.
Odzala-Kakoua National Park
Odzala-Kakoua National Park, in the remote northeastern corner of the Republic of Congo, is one of the oldest national parks in Africa. Covered in forests, rivers, marshes and swamps, the Park receives some 1 500 mm of rain annually, mainly during the two wet seasons. Permanent rivers are a primary feature, with the Lekoli and Kokoua rivers flowing into the Park’s major channel, the Mambili. In some places, the Mambili is up to 100 metres wide between densely forested banks; it then flows into the great Congo Basin.
Bais, or salines, are major features of this rainforest. These swampy, grassy areas are dotted across the rainforest and offer a rare chance to catch a glimpse beyond the ‘green curtain’ into the lives of the forest dwellers. Various mammal species come to the bais on a regular basis in order to access various elements, from water to minerals and salts to sedges and water-loving grasses to water.
This park is home to a sizable population of Western Lowland Gorilla which is the main reason to visit although the region is rich in other primate, mammal and bird species.
Since this is a very remote and specialized region of the world, we encourage you to contact us directly with questions.
Odzala aims to use responsible lowland gorilla-orientated tourism as a catalyst to spread the rainforest conservation message both globally and locally.
The Odzala experience is undertaken from two intimate, sensitively constructed camps that leave as light a footprint as possible and blend into this remote forest environment: Lango Camp, on the edge of the savannah and with access to the Lekoli and Mambili Rivers, and Ngaga Camp in the heart of a marantaceae forest.
Each camp consists of six creatively designed guest rooms, taking inspiration from the designs of the local B’Aka Pygmy groups. Natural locally sourced materials are used extensively in the construction of the camps: sustainably harvested hardwoods, bamboo and raffia palm matting.
In the case of Ngaga Camp, each of the guest rooms is raised 3-4m above the ground with a wraparound walkway allowing full appreciation of the forest canopy. The same use of natural materials is a feature of large comfortable hides at the bais where guests spend time waiting for and watching forest wildlife.
Odzala’s camps are situated in Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the remote north of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) – in the heart of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest expanse of tropical rainforest. Aside from a host of forest biodiversity, it holds Africa’s densest population of western lowland gorillas and significant populations of forest elephant. It is also renowned as the richest forest block in central Africa for primates, with eleven diurnal species recorded and more than 100 mammal species – of which around 50 are classified as medium- or large-sized.
Activities range from gorilla tracking (habituated groups), pirogue rides along lush river systems, game drives in the savannah, night drives, walks along lush forest streams and salines, and of course time spent at the productive forest bais.
Forest Buffalo and Western Sitatunga are regular visitors to the bai and can be seen at any time of the day. Forest Elephant and Spotted Hyaena are also regular visitors but are more typically seen after dark. Nocturnal visitors to the bai include the rare Bongo, Leopard and Red River Hog. Western Lowland Gorillas are the main species of wildlife searched for from Ngaga Camp and two groups are tracked on foot from the camp itself.
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