For travellers looking for an exclusive, truly memorable, once-in-a-lifetime Africa experience, Republic of Congo's Odzala-Kokoua National Park presents an extraordinary allure. Considered one of the 7 best tours of the world's greatest rainforests the park is part of the world's second largest expanse of tropical rainforest and, as you might expect, a garden of eden for nature and wildlife enthusiasts, most famous as a home for Western lowland gorilla.
With this example itinerary, guests spend seven nights in the national park and stay at three different lodges, each built from locally-sourced materials and creatively designed to blend with the surroundings. Each camp has only a small carrying capacity so visitors enjoy a feel of exclusivity and intimacy with the surrounding nature.
In the rainforests of Odzala-Kokua National Park, three habituated groups of Western lowland gorilla reside. Searching for these great apes during a rainforest hike is one of many highlight of any Republic of Congo holidays. But visiting the lowland gorillas is only one facet of the Congo experience. The national park has another 11 species of primate, as well as Forest elephant, Forest buffalo, Bongo antelope and a myriad of beautiful birds.Keen twitchers will be thrilled by the 430 bird species recorded from the area, including specials such as White-crested Tiger-heron, Congo Serpent-eagle, Vermiculated Fishing-Owl and Forest Swallow and Black-and-White Casqued Hornbill.
Day 1 Check in for your Ethiopian Airlines flight departing at 21h00 to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Day 2 On arrival in Addis Ababa Bole, catch your 09h20 flight to Brazzaville. On arrival at 13h40 you will be met and transferred to Radisson Blu to overnight.
Day 3 Transfer to the airport for the two hour charter flight, which departs at 1pm. On arrival at Mboko airstrip at 3pm, take a road transfer to Ngaga Camp (about 2hrs,30min drive through the Odzala- Kokoua National Park). Here you will be able to meet the gorilla research team for a briefing before dinner. Overnight in your luxury en-suite tented forest room.
Day 4 After breakfast, you will be taken to track one of the resident, habituated family groups of Lowland gorilla. While chances of seeing the gorillas are generally very high, please note that nature can never be guaranteed. Recent (January-February 2017) reports indicated that reaching the gorillas tends to take on average 90 minutes - 2 hours. A big plus here is that terrain is relatively flat. After tracking gorillas, return to camp for lunch and a rest. In the aftrenoon there will be the opportunity to explore one of the forest trails on foot and seek out some of the resident wildlife and birdlife.
Day 5 This morning you have another gorilla tracking excursion. In the rainforest, keep an eye open also for Putty-nosed and Crowned monkeys, both of which are fairly common. Birdlife is prolific here. After dinner, you will be taken on a guided night walk to seek nocturnal wildlife.
Day 6 This morning you have the chance for an optional 3rd Gorilla tracking experience. You will then be taken by road through Mbomo Village and the Odzala-Kokoua National Park. Arrive at Mboko Camp for lunch, followed by a late afternoon river cruise and sundowners. Overnight in Mboko Camp in an en-suite river room with all meals included.
Day 7 Make the journey from Mboko Camp to Longo Camp: a guided morning kayak on the Lekoli River is followed by a walk upstream to the Lango Bai, where guests can seek wildlife such as Forest buffalo, Forest elephant, Sitatunga and the rare Bongo. Enjoy lunch at Lango Camp. In the afternoon, you can either relax at camp, or take a dip in the Lango bai. Overnight at Lango Camp in a luxury, en-suite forest room.
Day 8 Today's activities can include a game drive (look for primates such as Guereza Colobus, Grey-cheeked Mangabey and Moustached Monkey as well as bushbuck and various species of forest-dwelling Duiker (small antelope) and also, a pirogue trip along the river, before returning to camp on foot through Lango Bai. In the evening you will be given a camera-trap presentation to see what wildlife researchers have managed to capture on film.
Day 9 A guided morning walk to the bird hide from where you can watch species such as African grey parrots and African green pigeons at the bai, is followed by a game drive transfer and then a walk along a raised, wooden walkway through the swamp. Arrive in time for lunch at Mboko Camp. In the afternoon, choose between an adventure walk in the Likeni River or take an afternoon river cruise on the Lekoli River. Overnight in an en-suite, river room at Mboko Camp, all meals included.
Day 10 After breakfast at Mboko Camp, depart on the charter flight back to Brazzaville at 09h00. On arrival in Brazzaville at 11h00, you will be met and assisted with checking in for the Ethiopian Airlines flight departing at 14h35 back to London Heathrow via Addis Ababa. Arrive in Addis Ababa at 21h00. Remain air side and connect with the flight departing after midnight to London Heathrow.
Day 11 Early morning arrival in London Heathrow or selected other UK airports.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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