THE SECOND LUNG OF THE WORLD
The most exciting development in African travel is the Congo (or Congo-Brazzaville). Access to the equatorial rainforests of Africa is now easier than ever before. Home to around 100 mammal species including the western lowland gorilla, chimpanzees, forest elephant, buffalo and the rare bongo antelope, it is an extremely important biodiversity centre for the world.
With 70% of the country covered in rain forests, these forests have been referred to as “the second lung of the world.” In this way, they contribute to world climate in many ways. They are dense, complex and remote, making them the least-explored corner of Africa.
The key safari location lies in the exceptional Odzala-Kokoua Forest, which has been protected since 1935. It is an undisturbed primary forest and home to the western lowland gorillas that have become habituated to human presence. This low-impact safari allows guests the opportunity to partake in walking safaris to view the gorillas. Entering into marshy clearings, known as a bai, guests will see where herds of elephant and other wildlife congregate. They can also swim through the crystal clear waters, kayak and boat along waterways spotting antelope, birds and beautiful butterflies along the way.
As a country rich in wildlife and in culture, the Congo is the next big thing in safari travel in Africa. If you want an experience that cannot be offered anywhere else, then this is the place to visit.
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Housed in the seemingly endless Congo Basin is a tropical rainforest so expansive that it is seen as the earth’s second lung after the Amazon. Within the heart of this deep, dark and dense natural paradise, travellers will find the nearly 1,350,000ha Odzala-Kokoua National Park. This is a place of stunning biological diversity and is home to the mighty western lowland gorilla.
The numerous habitats of Odzala – dense forest, wide open savannahs, winding rivers and forest bais – are teeming with diverse wildlife: an astonishing 400 bird species and 114 mammal species. The best place to view wildlife though is the forest bais – swampy areas which contain a rich concoction of minerals and salt, as well as water and sweet grass. The park’s main draw is undeniably its two habituated troops of gorilla that visitors can track and get close to.