One of Africa’s oldest parks, Odzala-Kokoua National Park is situated in the remote northern part of the Congo. It forms part of the Congo Basin, and is also a significant piece of the TRIDOM Transfrontier Park.
Odzala comprises numerous diverse habitats, from profuse primary forest and savannah to fertile rivers and forest bais and salines. A bias is a naturally occurring clearing in a forest area, home to countless endemic species. Mammal species frequent the bais in order to extract vital minerals and salts from the grasses and water.
Viewing at the bais takes place from raised platform hides, or miradors, and requires some patience. However, the bais at Odzala-Kokoua are relatively small, so there are good opportunities for close-up wildlife viewing as a reward for your patience! Look out for the diverse antelope species which live in this area; bongo, sitatunga, black-fronted duiker, Peters’ duiker and harnessed bushbuck. You may even be lucky enough to spot the reclusive forest duiker.
Odzala-Kokoua is also blessed with the highest number of diurnal primates in central Africa. Regular sightings of primates include guereza colobus and grey-cheeked mangabey, Agile mangabey, De Brazza’s monkey, Allen’s swamp monkey, crowned monkey, black and white colobus and putty-nosed monkey. A highlight of the Republic of Congo safari is the opportunity to trek into the forests which are home to the western lowland gorilla and chimpanzee.
Recently recognised as a full species, the forest elephant is also observed along the Lekoli River. The charismatic forest buffalo also call this area home. Night drives are a good opportunity to spot golden cat, spotted hyena and water chevrotain (mouse deer).
The Odzala experience is undertaken from two sensitively constructed camps that blend into this remote forest environment: Lango Camp, on the edge of the savannah and with access to the Lekoli and Mambili Rivers, and Ngaga Camp in the heart of a marantaceae forest.
Taking inspiration from local B’Aka Pygmy design, each camp is constructed from locally sourced materials such as sustainably harvested hardwoods, bamboo and raffia palm matting. Enjoy the Ngaga Camp where each of the guest rooms sits 3 metres above the forest floor, allowing true appreciation of the forest canopy.
Activities range from gorilla tracking (habituated groups), pirogue rides along lush river systems, game drives in the savannah, night drives, walks along lush forest streams and salines, and of course time spent at the productive forest bais.