tailored safari specialists

Lowland Gorilla Trekking


Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of Congo-Brazzaville

from US$ 9,865 per person sharing

Bird-watching

Bush-walking

Classic Safari

Cultural

Gorilla and chimp trekking

Lowland Gorilla Trekking

E-mail    +27 (0)21 701 1622

Indication Price (from): US$ 9,865 per person sharing *view all prices and dates

Length: 9 days

Group Size: Up to 12 guests

Location: Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of Congo-Brazzaville

Departure Dates: Flights to Odzala from Brazzavile depart every Monday/Thursday & return form Odzala every Thursday/Monday. As such unless your flight arrives in Brazzaville before 11h00 am on Day 2, we suggest you sleep in Brazzaville before Monday or Thursday.

INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

The price you see includes all services rendered by us and we only generate revenue once and if you book one of our safaris. Going directly to any of the lodges and other suppliers in our safari packages will not save you money because we earn discounts from suppliers based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

Odzala-Kokoua National Park is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, situated in the remote north-west of the Republic of Congo. Covered in forests, rivers, marshes and swamps, the park extends over 13 600km2. It is an integral part of both the Congo Basin and the TRIDOM Transfrontier Park that overlaps Gabon, Congo and Cameroon.

It receives approximately 1,500mm of rain annually, with most of the rain falling during the two wet seasons. Permanent rivers are a primary feature, with the Lekoli and Kokoua rivers flowing into the park’s major channel, the Mambili. The Mambili can, in some places, extend up to 100 metres in width, and eventually finds itself flowing into the great Congo Basin.

A significant feature in this park is the bais (salines) that can be found dotted around. These are open clearings that offer a glimpse beyond the ‘green curtain’ of the dense rainforest as various mammal species come to the bais regularly to access various elements – from water, minerals and salts, to sedges and grasses.

Join us as we make our way through towering rainforests while tracking western lowland gorillas, keep an eye out for unique bird species – such as grey parrots – by crystal-clear streams, and experience incredible wildlife sightings while out on the expansive open savannah.

This is a safari like no other. It’s not for the faint-hearted or the luxury-focused traveller. It’s for those who are willing to exercise a bit, discover a new realm, and are ready to step away from wi-fi and A/C, all while being well looked after in comfortable camps with access to an area that can only be described as uniquely naturally privileged.

Day 1: Arrival in the Republic of Congo

From the moment you arrive in Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of Congo, there is a sense of adventure in the air. On arrival at the newly built Maya Maya Airport, an AG representative will be there to meet and greet you and guide you through the all-sensory adventure that is the Congo.

After clearing customs and immigration, you will have the chance to put your feet up and enjoy the view from the Radisson Blu Hotel *, looking out across the enormous Congo River whilst sipping a local beer. Or, drop your bags and hit the town, as Brazzaville is home to a rich heritage and diverse culture with plenty of markets and sights to explore. A local guide will be available to show you around.

Please note that in SOLO and SINGLE traveller itineraries accommodation in Brazzaville has not been included in the costing. Talk to us if you would like suggestions to spend the night. Alternatively, if you are able to reach Brazzaville before 11h00 am on Day 2, you can connect direct with the fight out to Odzala.

Dinner and overnight at The Radisson Blu Hotel in Brazzaville.

Day 2:  Transfer to Ngaga Camp in Odzala-Kokoua National Park

After a leisurely breakfast and a transfer back to the airport, you will take a two-hour privately chartered flight with your sights set on the northern Congo rainforests, where your rainforest camps for the next week are located.

During this flight, you will be able to enjoy some breath-taking and mesmerising views of vast uninhabited rolling hills and plains sliced by slow-flowing meandering rivers, suddenly giving way to a dense ‘lung-like’ rainforest that promises to get your heart racing. Brush up on your fauna and flora for the upcoming forest walks and rainforest experiences, because you are about to enter an entirely new realm of discovery.

You will land around lunchtime and start the journey to Ngaga Camp, via a 4×4 track through the rainforest where you will come across your first sights and smells of one of the richest ecosystems in the world.

Later in the day, you will arrive in camp for the night, but well in time for sundowners. Ngaga is home to the gorilla research team and, if the research team are in camp, we encourage you to ask them any questions you may have about their research and the fascinating area they call home.

Dinner and overnight at Ngaga Camp, in a luxury en-suite forest room that is raised from the forest floor.

Day 3: Tracking western lowland gorillas and forest walk

You wake up in a near mythical place, closest to the geographical ‘Heart of Africa’, and epicentre of biodiversity. Rising just before the dawn chorus of birds and insects, you enjoy a hearty breakfast overlooking an alluring open glade within this primary forest that extends in front of your doorstep. You will then set out on foot in search of western lowland gorillas. There are two habituated family groups to meet during your stay at Ngaga, captained by two silverbacks, Jupiter and Neptuno.

Led by skilled local trackers, and with expert guides to interpret the sights and sounds of the forest, you will navigate through a network of forest trails to get close to some of our nearest living relatives in the wild, and observe their behaviour as they go about their daily business.

These trekking expeditions do not cover vast distances and can range in length from 1 – 8 kilometres (0.5 to 5 miles) over gently undulating country. The areas where the gorillas are located will be approached using a network of cleared trails. However, the final approach often requires stepping off-piste – your trackers will clear the way ahead, but you can expect to negotiate some thick undergrowth. On average, trekking expeditions last two to five hours, with one hour spent in close and direct visual contact with the gorillas.

By the time you get back to camp you will have surely worked up an appetite, and fortunately it will be good news all round as lunch will be ready for you to tuck into.

In the afternoon, you will be able to rest and explore the edge and vicinity of camp, its ecotone attracting may birds, reptiles and butterflies, as well as plants and trees that are well worth noting and inspecting.

Dinner and overnight at Ngaga Camp in a luxury, en-suite forest room.

Day 4: Second tracking of western lowland gorillas and forest walks

After your wake-up call, you will enjoy breakfast and set out on your second trek to search for other gorilla families. Each tracking excursion offers a privileged, intimate encounter with habituated gorillas, a rare opportunity to explore and inspect the full spectrum of gorilla personality and community relations in small, intimate groups.

Your return to camp often becomes a soulful experience, reminiscing what you just witnessed and storing in your bank of memories a plethora of images, sounds and experiences that you will cherish forever and fear to ever forget.

A hearty meal awaits back at camp.

The marantaceae forest, which is favoured by the gorillas, also supports an incredible array of life of every shape and size. Walking the forest trails in the afternoon, you will feel as though you have stumbled into one of the world’s most avant-garde workshops of evolution.

No matter how much of an experienced safari-goer you may be, Ngaga is certain to surprise and delight you!

Your walk ends at a crystal-clear stream where sundowners can be enjoyed before dinner. And, for those with an even bigger sense of adventure, head out on a night walk (with a UV light and head torches) to discover and search some of the phenomenal nocturnal forest life that scours the forest floor at night.

Dinner and overnight at Ngaga Camp in a luxury, en-suite forest room.

Day 5:  Waterways and transfer to Lango Camp

By now your internal clock and ears will have attuned to the elements. You will have noticed that nights can be louder and noisier than days, and learn to identify some of the screams, yelps, hisses and honks that fill the still night air. Awakening is a somewhat joyous and fascinating affair, as you start to feel more at home in this exotic paradise.

After breakfast, you will hit the road again for a 4WD transfer to Lango Camp.  You will transfer via road through Mbomo Village, en-route to the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, and reach Mboko Camp in time for lunch.

The highly-experienced guides of Odzala will invite you to join them for a transfer river cruise on the Lekoli River to Lango camp. Expect to be awed by the impressive trees that flank these waterways and the wealth of life that lives in them and its shores. Gliding down these rivers is always an incredibly peaceful and serene experience.

On arrival at Lango Camp you will be shown to your tent, and the rest of the afternoon is up to you…you can either spend more time on the river, exploring the confines of camp, or if you feel energetic and time and weather allows it head out to the bai for a discovery walk and sundowners.

Overnight at Lango Camp in an en-suite forest chalet.

Day 6: Walking, wading and exploring Lango bai

Lango Camp is spectacular when bathed by the early morning light.

The bai attracts huge flocks of African green pigeons and African grey parrots, as well as impressive herds of forest buffaloes by day and forest elephants by night. Bongos, bushbucks, red river hogs, giant hogs, western sitatungas, spotted hyenas, grey-cheeked mangabeys, tons of butterflies and the cutest dwarf crocodiles can also be sighted at the bai at any time of day.

There is a diverse range of habitats surrounding the lodge and a rich wildlife present – the perfect location to set out on foot and explore.

After breakfast, you will set off on a morning adventure walk and wade through various biomes, including rainforest, savannah and the freshwater swampy bais as you search for creatures both great and small, as well as an incredible assortment of reptiles, insects, and plant life.

A delicious, well-prepared lunch awaits on your return and in the afternoon you may do as you please, either reveling in the scenery from the deck or setting out on a second guided walk  back to the bai

In the evening, you may want settle in for a camera trap presentation where you can learn more about this rainforest from a new angle.

Dinner and overnight at Lango Camp in a raised, en-suite forest room.

Day 7:  Breakfast and birding with a transfer to Mboko Camp

A morning walk to the bai and quiet awakening at the hide will allow you to fully enjoy the beauty and variety of melodic sounds that African grey parrots bring to the bai when they flock into the area in their thousands, searching water and minerals. Other birds to keep an eye out for are kingfishers, bee-eaters, forest ducks, hornbills, raptors and flocks of African green pigeons.

By mid-morning you will hit the road again for a 4WD transfer to Mboko Camp. There are some wooden pathways crossing the marshy lands from Lango to Mboko Camp offering the perfect vantage points to search for swamp-loving creatures like the native dwarf crocodile, or dainty white-throated blue swallow.

Closer to Mboko, you will continue on foot and be greeted on arrival by a tasty lunch.

The remainder of your day can be spent at your leisure, doing whatever you choose. Perhaps a motor-boat river cruise down the Lekoli River? Or a final stroll through the undergrowth and waters of the Likeni River? Whatever you choose, it can be arranged and should help you sleep soundly.

Dinner and overnight at Mboko Camp in an en-suite river room.

Day 8: Kayak safari and Forest walks from Mboko Camp

After a good rest and an early wake up, you will enjoy breakfast at Mboko Camp before heading off on today’s adventure. Following a short drive to the Lekoli River you will kayak

on a gentle guided river expedition. Travelling down the Lekoli is a peaceful and exhilarating experience, and there is no better way to start the day.

The waters carry you past an abundant array of wildlife from various monkeys to a wealth of bird species, massive hornbills, and the occasional forest elephant or staring forest buffalo.

If you feel like it, you can also explore on foot any of the many trails that cris-cross Odzala. Expect to get muddy, wet, sweaty, and be totally immersed in this ecosystem that you are exploring – re-assured that you are indeed walking in the footsteps of the great explorers.

Whenever you choose, you will be returned to camp for lunch.

After some rest and siesta, you can choose again if you would like to go for a forest guided walk, or, a refreshing swim in the Lekoli River.

Dinner and overnight at Mboko Camp.

Day 9: Transfer back to Brazzaville and departure

After breakfast at Mboko Camp, you will bid farewell to this magnificent place and its kind, humble staff and the rustic beauty of Mboko, Lango and Ngaga Camps.

Your transfer to a nearby airstrip will be followed with a flight back to Brazzaville to connect with your onward flight.

And as you take off and gaze over the forests of Odzala below, the Africa Geographic team trusts that we will have left you spellbound, with a heart full of wonder and a brain filled with indelible memories, unique stories and loads of stories to share back home with your loved ones.

End of services.

Indication Price (from): US$ 9,865 per person sharing (see below for further pricing where relavant)

Departure Dates: Flights to Odzala from Brazzavile depart every Monday/Thursday & return form Odzala every Thursday/Monday. As such unless your flight arrives in Brazzaville before 11h00 am on Day 2, we suggest you sleep in Brazzaville before Monday or Thursday.

The 2021 prices below are only valid if booked and confirmed before the end of November 2020. 2021 rates will apply henceforth.

2021 per person sharing
SHARING: 2 Guests sharing a room US$ 9,865
SINGLE: 2 or more guests travelling together and not sharing a room (this is not a supplement) US$ 11,448
SOLO: A guest travelling alone on either FIRST Monday or Thursday of the month US$ 10,254


Children:

Children 16 years and older are welcome at all camps, full adult rates apply.

SOLO TRAVELLERS:
There is more than one way to shine a penny, so contact us if you are a solo traveller, and we will come up with a plan that suits you best. Please check our Solo Travellers section under ‘Additional Information’.

Price includes:
Letter of invitation to Congo. Airport and airstrip meet and greets. All accommodation at Ngaga, Lango and Mboko during your visit on a Full Board basis. Bed and breakfast basis on Day 1 accommodation at Radisson Blu for sharing travellers ONLY. This includes all meals and drinks (all local brand drinks including beers, wines or cocktails, but not imported brands) ex Brazzaville, all domestic flights and transfers to and from camp and between camps, TWO gorilla permits, ONE Boat cruise, guided daily walks, guided bai walks, ONE guided night walk, ONE community interaction at Mbomo village, local drinks, limited laundry and limited WiFi. ONE half day city tour including lunch. All park fees and Conservation levies. Medical evacuation cover. 24/7 Office support.

**Extra gorilla trekking permits are US$ 600 per person and can be paid in CASH ONLY at the camps in XFA, Euro or US Dollars.

Price excludes:
International flights, visa costs, excess baggage charges, vaccination/medical expenses, items of a personal nature, travel/medical insurance, gratuities, personal calls, and activities not mentioned in the itinerary.

INDICATION PRICES

Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and to tailor-make your dream safari.

OUR CHARGES

The price you see includes all services rendered by us and we only generate revenue once and if you book one of our safaris. Going directly to any of the lodges and other suppliers in our safari packages will not save you money because we earn discounts from suppliers based on the volume of business that we generate for them.

International Flights

Participants able to join this tour on Day 2 need to ensure that their international flight lands in Brazzaville no later than 11h00 am, or they will miss the connection with the charter flight to Odzala. If you are unable to find an earlier flight into Brazzaville we recommend that you fly in a day earlier (Day 1).

Participants departing on Day 9, please ensure that your flight check-in time is not earlier than 1500 from Brazzaville.

Accommodation on arrival day: Participants wanting budget accommodation in Brazzavile, can be accommodated….just let us know.

Domestic Flights

Local return charter between Brazzaville and Odzala is included.

Flights depart Brazzaville for Mboko at 1pm and arrives at 3pm on Day 2

Flights on Day 9 depart Odzala at 9am and arrive in Brazzavile at 11am.

In order to accommodate for delays and unpredictable weather conditions, please do not book any International departing flights on Day 9 that require a checking time before 14h00

Baggage weight limit is 15kg per person due to travelling in a small charter flight. Please talk to us about excess weight charges and/or freight seats if you expect to travel with heavier camera gear, or suitcases exceeding this limit.

SOLO Travellers SPECIAL!!

Every first Monday or Thursday of the month we’ll offer this departure without a SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ON THE LOCAL FLIGHT and a 25% reduction off the single supplement on accommodation.  In addition, if a solo traveller is willing to share with another solo traveller, then the single supplement will be wavered entirely. Happy travelling young Solo’s!

Accommodation

You will spend 1 night at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Brazzaville (before or after the Odzala itinerary depending on international flight connections), 3 nights at Ngaga Camp, 2 nights at Lango Camp, and 2 nights at Mboko Camp.

  • Radisson Blu:The Radisson Blu M’Bamou Palace Hotel places guests on the banks of the famous Congo River within Brazzaville’s Central Business District. This hotel offers easy access to Maya Maya International Airport with views of the great Congo River.
  • Ngaga Camp:Ngaga Camp, located just outside the park boundary in the Ndzehe concession, overlooks a beautiful open glade within primary forest above a forest stream and is truly gorilla central. A focal point for world-class research as well as unforgettable primate encounters, Ngaga Camp’s unique design evokes the fun and mystery of childhood treehouses with six elevated guest rooms and tree top walkways.
  • Lango Camp:Nestled in dense gallery forest, each room, the dining room, lounge and bar area are all on raised decks overlooking Lango bai, and are constructed from natural materials such as locally woven raffia palm panels.
  • Mboko Camp:Ten double occupancy cabins and two family cabins are nestled along the Lekeni River in amongst the lush green forest which provides a feeling of privacy. Each cabin has a deck with lounge chairs on which you can rest and listen to the serenity of the river bubbling past you.
Additional Information

Climate: June through September, and December through February are the driest periods. During these months, the air can be relatively hazy and the humidity is lower, but rainfall during these times can still occur and be quite variable. During the wetter months, tropical rainstorms contrast with sustained periods of clear blue skies and beautiful light for photography.

Difficulty: Anyone in good health can join the adventure, although a basic level of hiking fitness is recommended. The activities in the camps are optional, so you may choose to participate or not. Many of our activities do not require previous experience and are not fitness related.

Ages: The camps are designed specifically for guests aged 15 and above. Consequently, they tend to focus on activities and nightlife that appeal to that age range. The minimum age at Ngaga and Lango camps, and on our basic activities, is 15 years. Younger children can be accommodated only at Mboko Camp on the condition that a child is accompanied by an adult at all times. There are no Children rates.

Visa: A visa is required. A letter of invitation will be supplied for your visa application. This must be requested from your nearest Congo embassy, consulate or High Commission, and presented to the immigration authorities on arrival in Brazzaville. We advise getting your visa ahead of travelling. Nevertheless, some passports may be allowed to obtain visas on arrival at the airport for our clients, and so long enough notice has been given.

 

Vaccinations: In order to protect the gorillas from any airborne diseases, you will need to share the following information with us:

  • A list of medical conditions that have afflicted you in the last 2 years, medications and any allergies
  • Yellow fever vaccination record for entry into the Republic of the Congo
  • Measles and polio vaccination record to comply with gorilla viewing protocols
  • Medical certification that the guest is free from Tuberculosis (certification may not be older than 6 months)

Tips on tipping:

  • Always tip for excellence, not by default
  • Tip if you can, not because you must
  • Tip the guide directly, and staff through the staff box provided
  • Your guide: recommended $10-20 per person per day
  • Camp staff: recommended $5-10 per person per day
  • Gorilla trackers: recommended $5-10 tip per person per trek

Booking and payment details: Once you have decided to join one of our safaris, you will need to contact us for a booking form, which will include details relating to the deposit and final payments.

Travel booking advice: At least 3 – 4 months ahead of travel day for international guests, and 1 month ahead of travel day for the local guests.

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" Make a real difference for African conservation - come on safari with us. We support sustainable, ethical tourism that benefits wildlife and communities. "

Simon Espley, Africa Geographic CEO