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Republic of the Congo

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Republic of the Congo Safari's

Immerse yourself in the heart of the Congo Basin rainforest – a biological hotspot of global importance and the world’s second biggest rainforest, surpassed only by the Amazon. Within these dense rainforests, lowland gorillas peacefully reside while the forest bais open up sightings of forest elephants. The Congo offers something unique for even the most frequent Africa-bound traveller. Republic of the Congo is a former French colony on the western bank of the Congo River known for its breadth of biodiversity and natural richness, which includes the largest area of primary rainforest in Africa. The Congo isn’t a well trodden safari destination with a well established tourist infrastructure. Long and uncomfortable journeys by planes, 4x4s and pirogues make this an experience not easily forgotten, but one that rewards the adventurous traveller.

Not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo, three little-visited national parks hide half the world’s lowland gorillas, while forest elephant, forest adapted hyenas, bongos, and diverse birdlife can be seen amidst the tapestry of pristine rainforests, savannahs, rivers and bais. Away from these untravelled and untouched pockets of wilderness, the thriving capital Brazzaville is a walkable and welcoming city with some great places to eat.

Why Natural World Safaris for your Congo safari?

We originally started back in 2005 as World Primate Safaris. Our CEO and Founder Will Bolsover spent many years in the jungles of Central and East Africa, working in the gorilla parks of Uganda and Rwanda, the Eastern Lowland Gorilla and Mountain Gorilla parks of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and tracking the chimpanzees of Tanzania in Mahale and Gombe. He was the first person to lead gorilla treks in Gabon working with Emmanuel de Merode who now runs Virunga National Park in DRC.

As well as our long history working in the region, we were invited to be one of only four official founding tourism partners worldwide for African Parks. In 2010, African Parks entered into a 25-year-long agreement with the Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Forest Economy, Sustainable Development and Environment to protect Odzala-Kokoua National Park which is the primary destination for tourism in the region. It is fair to say we have more experience, expertise and on the ground contacts than any other tour operator when it comes to the Congo.

How much does the Congo cost?

Typically, expect to budget around £11000 per person for a 10-day safari in the Congo. This will generally include charter flights to and from Brazzaville, two gorilla trekking permits and three camps in different locations. For a shorter 6-day experience staying at one camp expect to budget £8000 per person. A true wilderness experience, you will be staying in rustic but comfortable camps. Our safaris here are typically created on a bespoke basis for clients.

Odzala Marcus Westberg13

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The Congo Safari Experience

For most, a visit to the Congo is about exploring a seldom visited pocket of Africa in search of the unique wildlife encounters that the region offers.

  • Immerse yourself in one of the oldest parks in Africa, Odzala-Kokoua, located in the heart of the world’s second biggest rainforests, the Congo Basin.
  • Track western lowland gorillas through the dense rainforest.
  • Meet pioneering gorilla researcher Dr Magda Berejemo and her team to learn about primate conservation.
  • Explore the Lekoli River by kayak or boat, looking out for mammals, primates and birds.
  • Walk through the forest and wade through streams and explore the rich mosaic of bais, rivers, marshes and swamps on foot.
  • Swim in the natural pools of Ngaga Stream

Where to Stay in the Congo?

There are four main camps that we use in the Congo. In Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Lango Camp offers incredible views of the Lango Bai which attracts flocks of Green Pigeons and African Grey Parrots as well as Forest Buffalo and Forest Elephants. Another of our favourites is Naga Camp in the Ndzehi Concession, sitting amongst towering trees and open Marantaceae forest, is the home of the Western Lowland Gorilla research team. Read more about where to stay in the Congo.

When to Go to the Congo?

The Republic of Congo has an equatorial climate with high humidity levels year round. The best time to visit will depend on the region you wish to go to, but if your main focus is tracking gorillas in Odzala National Park it is best to travel during the drier periods, between June and September, or December to February. Read more about when to go.

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Republic of the Congo Safari's FAQs

Does The Republic of Congo have safaris?

The Republic of Congo offers diverse safari experiences, including Odzala-Kokoua and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Parks, where travellers can observe forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and other wildlife in their natural habitats. The country's rainforests, savannas, and wetlands provide unique opportunities for wildlife viewing and cultural encounters, making it an appealing destination for those seeking a range of safari adventures.

How much does it cost to go gorilla trekking in the Republic of Congo?

Gorilla permits for gorilla trekking in the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) are notably affordable, costing only $400 each. These permits are essential for gaining access to experience the incredible opportunity of gorilla trekking in the country. This affordability sets Congo's gorilla permits apart from other popular gorilla trekking destinations like Rwanda and Uganda, where the permits are considerably more expensive at $1500 and $600, respectively. This cost difference makes Congo an attractive option for travellers seeking a more budget-friendly yet equally rewarding gorilla trekking experience.

Can you visit the Republic of Congo rainforest?

Absolutely, you can explore the captivating rainforests of the Republic of Congo. With remarkable destinations like Odzala-Kokoua National Park and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, you have the chance to venture into pristine rainforest landscapes, encounter diverse wildlife including primates and birds, and experience the enchanting beauty of one of the world's most vital ecosystems. Guided tours and responsible travel practices will help you navigate and appreciate these remarkable rainforest environments while contributing to conservation efforts.

Is it safe to travel to the Republic of Congo?

The Republic of Congo is generally considered stable and safe for travellers compared to some neighbouring countries. Petty crime can occur, particularly in urban areas, so travellers should take standard safety measures such as securing belongings. Cultural sensitivity, adherence to local customs, and careful consideration of transportation options are recommended for a safe and respectful travel experience.

Are there crocodiles in the Republic of Congo rainforest?

Crocodiles can indeed be found in certain parts of the rainforests of the Republic of Congo. While rainforests are not typically their primary habitat, some rivers, water bodies, and wetland areas within or near the rainforest regions may provide suitable habitats for crocodiles. These crocodile populations are part of the broader biodiversity that thrives in the diverse ecosystems of the Congo rainforest. However, encountering crocodiles in the rainforest is not as common as in other types of habitats, such as rivers and marshes, where crocodiles are more prevalent. When exploring rainforest areas, it's important to follow safety guidelines and local advice to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Explore the wildlife of the Republic of Congo.

How many languages are spoken in the Republic of Congo?

In the Republic of Congo there are more than 60 languages spoken. The country is linguistically diverse, with a variety of indigenous languages reflecting the rich cultural tapestry of its ethnic groups and communities. While French serves as the official language and is used in government, education, and media, many local languages are spoken among different ethnic groups across various regions of the country. Some of the major indigenous languages include Lingala, Kikongo, Mboshi, Teke, and Vili, among others. This linguistic diversity reflects the country's vibrant cultural heritage.