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It’s very rare that an entirely new wilderness destination opens up in Africa. Finally, the pristine rainforests of Central Africa are making their debut for intrepid travellers. Be among the forerunners to explore this pristine home of western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, monkeys, bongo antelope and forest elephant.

The Republic of Congo belongs on every safari aficionado’s African bucket list, but with poorly developed infrastructure, this is one destination where your Africa safari expert is absolutely essential. The Congo Rainforest Expedition is a six-night safari into the wild heart of Odzala National Park where two jungle lodges have been established. Intimate and comforable, each lodge accommodates a maximum of twelve guests and offers a unique perspective on the jungle: Lango Camp overlooks a ‘bai’ – a large natural mineral lick and watering point frequented by forest buffalo and elephant; Ngaga Camp sits deeper in the forest, well-placed for trekking for gorillas and chimpanzees.

Our inaugral Congo safari combines Lango and Ngaga Camps in a fly-in itinerary featuring guided nature walks, river cruises and kayaking adventures in the care of passionate local guides and expert naturalists. The birdlife is spectacular, the wildlife unique and the atmosphere of unchartered Africa is simply sublime. Flights are via Africa’s main hubs Nairobi (Kenya) or Johannesburg (South Africa), making it easy to combine Congo with a traditional big game safari or a beach vacation.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Central Africa’s magnificent rainforest
  • Rare, unique & endangered wildlife
  • Gorilla & chimpanzee trekking
  • Expert guides & naturalists
  • Guided walks, boating & kayaking
  • Intimate, comfortable, fly-in lodges

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1

The adventure begins

Your adventure begins on arrival in Brazzaville, where you are met at the airport. There is a daily charter flight to Odzala-Kokoua National Park, so depending on your arrival time you are either transferred to a hotel to overnight, or to an airfield to fly to the park.

As your flight descends, the sea of lush green rainforest opens up to reveal a runway – your entry point to the ancient, flourishing rainforest of the Congo Basin. Few travellers have been here, but Odzala is a triumph of conservation in a landscape largely untamed. Guides meet you at the airstrip in 4X4s – your introductory game drive is an hour’s transfer to Lango Camp.

Set in the heart of the park, the camp sits in dense, galleried forest overlooking the Lango Bai, a waterhole and natural mineral lick that attracts a steady parade of wildlife. By day and night, forest buffalo and elephant, spotted hyena and sitatunga antelope slip out of the shadows to drink and wallow in the clearing.

After freshening up in your thatched suite, you settle down on your private viewing deck to soak up the forest sights and sounds, or take a short guided stroll to the bai for your first taste of the rainforest.  The sun sets quickly in the jungle but, as with every sunset in Africa, the close of day is marked with convivial conversation and tall, cool sundowners.

Day 2

Walk the rainforest

The smell of fresh coffee and jungle’s dawn chorus lure you from your suite. A full morning hike in the rainforest lies ahead, and you set off to explore with expert guides after a light breakfast.

The local waterholes and mineral licks of the bais are the most rewarding locations for game viewing: herds of forest buffalo wallow in their favourite mud hole, shy antelope lick the minerals, their twitching ears constantly alert to the sounds of danger, and wide-eyed monkeys hoot out the alarm when they spot you. You may hear chimpanzees calling to each other from deep within the forest, and it is not far to the Lekoli River where hippo grumble in the shallows and crocodile sun themselves on the banks. There are open savannah floodplains to explore, the haunts of serval cats and a whole host of bird species that are quite different to those found in the rainforest.

You return to Lango Camp for a delicious lunch and well deserved siesta through the drowsy heat of the day. After a refreshing tea, it is time for the afternoon game drive, which finishes with a flourish after dark: a spot-lit drive, looking out for the forest’s most elusive inhabitants – leopard, forest elephant, river hog and the magnificent bongo antelope.

Day 3

A river expedition

The Lekoli River is the focus of today’s excursions. A slow, snaking brown river bordered by towering rainforest, the Lekoli can be explored by motor boat, traditional pirogue or kayak. Its flat waters make for easy navigation and the surrounding jungle is alive with chattering birds and scolding monkeys. After your water expedition, you might walk back to camp via the Lango Bai or save your energy for an afternoon hike to more distant waterholes, and the prize of as yet unseen animals.

As night falls on your last day at Lango, you settle into the comfort of your private verandah and gaze up at Central Africa’s stars – there is so little light pollution here that the sky above you positively sparkles with endless pinpoints of light, a slice of heaven framed by a circle of towering rainforest trees.

Days 4-6

Trek for gorillas

After breakfast, it is time to discover the other side of Odzala. A three-hour drive follows jungle tracks and passes local villages to bring you to Ngaga Camp, sister-camp to Lango and set in pristine primary rainforest on the western border of the park.

Over a generous luncheon, you hear about the western lowland gorillas that live in the forest around this camp.  They are habituated to the sight of humans after many years of researchers working in the area. Your excitement builds as your guide explains what to expect and how to behave when you encounter a gorilla family in the forest.

Gorilla trekking is the highlight at Ngaga Camp: you walk directly from the camp, guided through the cathedral-like rainforest by expert trackers, making your way through lush undergrowth spotlit by sunbeams and full of whooping monkeys. A hush descends as the unmistakable black bulk of a lowland gorilla crosses the path ahead of you. Your guide signals a halt and your party stops to observe with the gorillas for an hour. This is one of Africa - of nature’s - most extraordinary encounters, impossible to fully explain and utterly unforgettable.

You have two more days for gorilla trekking, but Ngaga Camp’s nearby stream and surrounding fruit trees also attract an abundance of the forest creatures. A gentle pace on nature walks allows you to soak up the forest sights and scents, becoming part of jungle life, rather than an external observor. This is the planet’s second largest swathe of rainforest: Butterflies and birds fill the air, crowned and moustached monkeys are often seen near camp, and the calls of foraging chimpanzees carry on the air. Bird watching is sensational with a multitude of species on view – residents include the very large black-casqued wattled hornbill and the great blue turaco.

Day 7

The journey ends

After breakfast, you final day begins. You retrace the three-hour 4X4 drive back to the airstrip for your charter flight to Brazzaville. As you wing your way over Odzala’s incredible rainforest, you feel the full privilege of being one of the few travellers to witness one of the planet’s last truly wild places. You have explored the rainforest initimately, glimpsed a Bongo slipping through the shadows or watched a forest elephant drinking at a bai. You have heard the conversation of chimpanzees and been serenaded by monkeys, and you will never forget meeting a lowland gorilla family, free and at ease in their natural world.

Inclusions

  • 6 nights accommodation on fully inclusive basis
  • Airstrip / camp road transfers
  • Park fees
  • Laundry
  • Tracking of habituated gorilla groups / guided forest walks at Ngaga Camp
  • Guided walking / boat cruises / motorised pirogue trips / kayaks / park and forest visits at Lango Camp

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Additional Tour Notes

Package excludes all flights, departure taxes, custom stamp fee of US$40.00 per person, visas, accommodation and excursions in Brazzavile

Tour Rates

  • dates rates from
  • 02 Jan 2014 - 31 Dec 2014 $6475
  • 01 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2015 $6930

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

Liesel van Zyl

Liesel van Zyl

Product Manager

"The Congo Rainforest is about as offbeat as you can currently get in Africa; we've partnered with a reliable and professional company to bring to you not just another safari, but an opportunity to discover and delight in the smalls that make up this fast disappearing ecosystem. Must have: patience, no expectations & an enquiring mind! Some great adventure activities for those with who want otherwise just plenty of gentle forest walks and slow river cruises...this is an experience that goes alongside the likes of Mahali, Ruaha, Rubondo & Niassa - those last remaining gems which require an, ahem, aquired taste."

From

$6475

Per person sharing

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