Embark on an unforgettable journey to the heart of Central Africa and immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty of Odzala-Kokoua National Park, the sanctuary of Western lowland gorillas. Located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this park is nestled within the vast Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest rainforest, only surpassed by the Amazon. Let’s delve into the wonders of this pristine wilderness and learn about the captivating experiences it offers.
Established in 1935 and later designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1977, Odzala-Kokoua National Park spans a sprawling 13,500 square kilometers. Situated within the Congo Basin, the second-largest rainforest globally, this park is a living testament to nature’s resilience. Despite human habitation in the region for over 50,000 years, the Congo Basin remains one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas, teeming with countless species. It provides clean water, sustenance, and shelter to over 75 million people across six countries.
However, managing this vast and remote landscape comes with its share of challenges. Approximately 12,000 people inhabit the park’s periphery, relying on its natural resources for survival. The persistence of bush meat poaching poses a significant threat to the park’s wildlife, particularly the Western lowland gorillas. In 2019 alone, authorities confiscated 14,500 snares and over 50 tons of bush meat. The survival of Odzala’s western lowland gorillas, a substantial portion of the global population, hangs in the balance.
In 2010, African Parks embarked on a 25-year agreement with the Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Forest Economy, Sustainable Development, and Environment to safeguard this globally significant park. To address the challenges posed by poaching, African Parks employs an enhanced eco-guard team and employs various law enforcement strategies. Simultaneously, the organization initiates community projects aimed at mitigating human-wildlife conflicts, promoting sustainable livelihoods through farming initiatives, and building local capacity. Changing human behavior takes time, but the future of Odzala-Kokoua National Park hinges on these interventions, ensuring that the surrounding communities perceive the park’s value and actively contribute to its preservation.
Flights to the Republic of Congo are limited, typically connecting through Brazzaville. Air France via Paris and Kenya Airways via Nairobi are popular options for travelers from Europe, though overnight layovers in Paris may be required. To reach Odzala National Park, local flights can be arranged through park officials.
Congo experiences two rainy seasons and two drier seasons:
Discover the ultimate safari adventure by staying at one of the following camps, each offering a unique experience:
Prepare to embark on a remarkable journey into the heart of the Congo Basin, where the enchanting beauty of Odzala-Kokoua National Park and the captivating Western lowland gorillas await your exploration.