See Lowland Gorillas in Congo-Brazzaville

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If you have been to Africa before, love getting far off the beaten path, and especially if you have already seen mountain gorillas, a trip to the Congo to see lowland gorillas might be right up your alley (not to be confused with seeing mountain gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), which is extremely difficult because of the instability in the country). This trip is an amazing chance to visit a country that few tourists see, it will definitely earn you bragging rights but is probably best suited for experienced Africa travelers, for those who have been once or twice before.  If you think this kind of trip might be for you check out this itinerary below. It comes from Wilderness Safaris, a leading conservation tour operator in Botswana which has recently started working in the Congo. Their expertise gives us the confidence to provide you with an itinerary for such a remote location.

Odzala National Park: Sharing the Gabon border, Odzala-Kokoua in Northern Republic of Congo is one of Africa’s oldest national parks covering Africa’s richest equatorial rainforest protecting within its 3,360,633 acres globally-significant populations of western lowland gorilla, forest elephant and forest buffalo as well as 11 diurnal primates that are regularly encountered on drives, walks and by boat.

Days 1/2/3~Lango Camp

Day 1:In the early afternoon depart by private charter from Brazzaville to M’boko Airstrip, Odzala-Kokoua National Park. The charter flight takes approximately two hours and includes a light packed lunch. On arrival at M’boko Airstrip, you will be met by a Lango Camp guide who will drive you 30 minutes to Lango Camp, home for the next three nights. Once at camp, freshen up and settle in before embarking on a short afternoon activity such as a walk around Lango Bai or brief game drive.

Day 2: An early morning wake-up is followed by a light breakfast and coffee on the main deck before your first activity for the day. This could be a walk from camp through Lango Bai and along the clear, shallow waters of the Lango Stream to its confluence with the Lekoli River. A motorized boat will then head upstream for two hours (stopping en route for tea/coffee) to the Mbouebe Bai, where a short excursion on foot reaches a concealed hide. The return to camp includes a game drive through the savannah. Back in camp enjoy a hearty lunch before heading out again for the afternoon and sun-downers on the Mambili River. A night drive back to camp offers the chance to see some of Odzala’s more secretive nocturnal creatures.

Day 3: Wake up early for a light breakfast and coffee before setting off on a boat trip down the Lekoli River in search of primates and forest buffalo before returning to camp on foot. The trip along the river offers great opportunities for birding and excellent viewing of buffalo, red river hogs, a number of primate species and even bongo. Return to camp for lunch and some downtime. In the afternoon head back to the boat and travel up the Lekoli River enjoying sundowners and perhaps some catch-and-release fishing before returning to camp on a night drive, searching for species such as Spotted Hyaena, Golden Cat and even Water Chevrotain.

Days 4/5/6~ Ngaga Camp

Day 4: This morning, after an early wake-up and breakfast you will drive to the south-western corner of the Park to spend time at Dzebe Bai some two and half hours’ drive from Lango. Spend midday in the hide waiting for secretive forest animals to appear in the clearing; there’s a chance of viewing unhabituated gorillas here, as well as species such as black-fronted duiker, guereza colobus monkey and perhaps even chimpanzee. Enjoy a packed lunch in the hide before heading north towards Ngaga Camp. In the evening at Ngaga Camp you will receive an extensive briefing on Western Lowland Gorillas, including the research project in the area, conservation of the species, their biology and ecology and of course what to expect when tracking the habituated groups of the area. This will prepare you for the two-days of gorilla trekking that start in the morning!

 

Day 5:  This morning, after an early wake-up and light breakfast depart on foot with your guide and tracker for your first gorilla tracking excursion. Using the expert skills of the trackers we start at the point where the group chosen to be monitored for that day and follow their tracks as they move through the forest until we find them. While home range sizes are relatively small, the gorillas can move quite quickly through thick forest undergrowth and during a 2-5 hour tracking excursion (including time spent observing the gorillas) we may cover 3 to 5 miles After this exhilarating experience return to camp for lunch and some downtime. In the afternoon after a light tea enjoy a guided forest walk in search of birds and primates or visit the Gorilla Tracking Academy run by Dr Magda Bermejo and German Illera and learn about the comprehensive training of local community trackers from all over west-central Africa.

Day 6: This morning set out on foot for your second gorilla tracking excursion. Our expert trackers will again follow the obscure tracks and sign of the group through the forest until we find the group and enjoy another fascinating experience watching them resting and foraging. After lunch and rest back at camp spend the afternoon out on the forest trails in search of the birds and mammals of the area, returning to camp for a sundowner on the main deck overlooking the forest canopy and Ngaga Stream.

Day 7~Depart  from Brazzaville
After a leisurely breakfast you will leave for M’boko airstrip (a drive of 2.5 hours) to meet our private charter flight back to Brazzaville. You will land in Brazzaville in the afternoon in plenty of time for your connecting flight home.

Price for this package starts at $8200 per person

INCLUDES:

  • Internal flights with Republic of Congo
  • Ground transportation (M’boko airstrip to Lango Camp and return; Lango Camp to Ngaga Camp and return).
  • Accommodation (full board basis) as per itinerary
  • All meals
  • All local drinks (excludes premium alcoholic brands)
  • Laundry at camps
  • Activities: Lango Camp – guided walking/game drives/boat cruises/canoeing/park and forest visits. Ngaga Camp – daily tracking of habituated gorilla groups/guided forest walks.

EXCLUDES:

  • International air travel to/from Brazzaville 
  • Gratuities/Tipping
  • Curios and personal purchases
  • Visas
  • Accommodation in Brazzaville where this is required
  • Departure tax of US$ 30 from Brazzaville

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