You can go gorilla trekking in Odzala-Kokoua National Park.

Republic of Congo | Gorillas, Rainforest & Rivers | 7 Nights Odzala-Kokoua National Park

This luxury Congo safari takes you right to the heart of the world’s second-largest rainforest in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. Stay in Ngaga Camp, Lango Camp and Mboko Camp to explore the forest, savannahs, rivers and salty bais, and track the critically endangered western lowland gorilla for the safari adventure of a lifetime.

  • Dramatically-varied range of scenery within Odzala-Kokoua National Park – including pristine rainforest, forest clearings and grassland savannah, rivers and salty bais – allowing for staggering biodiversity.
  • Opportunities for gorilla trekking, game drives, forest walks, night walks, forest-and-bai ‘walk-and-wade’ excursions, boat safaris, kayaking and pirogue excursions.
  • All three camps offer chalets built in traditional Congolese style with the use of sustainable materials: Ngaga Camp, built on stilts high above the leafy forest floor; Lango Camp, with sweeping views over the forest canopy and into the bai; and Mboko Camp, set on the fringes of the Ndzehi Forest amid grasslands and dramatic rivers. For more information see Ngaga Camp, Lango Camp and Mboko Camp.

Three nights at Ngaga Camp

Our journey into Odzala-Kokoua National Park started with a light-aircraft flight from Brazzaville to Mboko airstrip, where we met our friendly guide for a three-hour 4×4 adventure to Ngaga Camp, nestled in the heart of the dense Congo rainforest.We were so engrossed in spotting – and, with our guide’s help, identifying –the birds, butterflies and monkeys amid the soaring trees, that Ngaga Camp, set in a forest clearing high up in the forest canopy, seemed to come out of nowhere. After freshening up, we headed to the lounge to meet the research team based at Ngaga Camp, headed by Dr Magda Bermejo, a primatologist who was the first to habituate western lowland gorilla. It was fascinating to learn about the conservation challenges and hear some of their future plans, and this topic kept us in hot debate all through dinner!We were up before dawn for our gorilla safari, feeling unabashedly excited. After nearly an hour of quiet trekking through the marantaceae forest, the crash of branches stopped us in our tracks and we quickly donned our face masks. Just a few metres away, a large silverback was digging roots out from the forest floor, while all around gorilla preened, foraged and fed. An hour passed in a heartbeat, and we wandered happily back to the lodge for lunch. That afternoon we enjoyed a birdwatching walk in the forest, rounding off our special day with sundowners by the river.After much muddy trekking, we found the second habituated group of Odzala gorilla. It was thrilling to watch a newborn frolicking on the ground, walloping his tiny chest as our passionate guide told us about their family relationships. Even with only an hour to observe them, we started seeing their personalities emerge. After lunch, we met up with the research team again to learn more about their work – which includes educating and involving local communities who are integral to the gorillas’ survival. Later, a forest walk by night allowed us to see some of the forest’s nocturnal life out at play.

Our journey into Odzala-Kokoua National Park started with a light-aircraft flight from Brazzaville to Mboko airstrip, where we met our friendly guide for a three-hour 4×4 adventure to Ngaga Camp, nestled in the heart of the dense Congo rainforest.

We were so engrossed in spotting – and, with our guide’s help, identifying –the birds, butterflies and monkeys amid the soaring trees, that Ngaga Camp, set in a forest clearing high up in the forest canopy, seemed to come out of nowhere. After freshening up, we headed to the lounge to meet the research team based at Ngaga Camp, headed by Dr Magda Bermejo, a primatologist who was the first to habituate western lowland gorilla. It was fascinating to learn about the conservation challenges and hear some of their future plans, and this topic kept us in hot debate all through dinner!

We were up before dawn for our gorilla safari, feeling unabashedly excited. After nearly an hour of quiet trekking through the marantaceae forest, the crash of branches stopped us in our tracks and we quickly donned our face masks. Just a few metres away, a large silverback was digging roots out from the forest floor, while all around gorilla preened, foraged and fed. An hour passed in a heartbeat, and we wandered happily back to the lodge for lunch. That afternoon we enjoyed a birdwatching walk in the forest, rounding off our special day with sundowners by the river.

After much muddy trekking, we found the second habituated group of Odzala gorilla. It was thrilling to watch a newborn frolicking on the ground, walloping his tiny chest as our passionate guide told us about their family relationships. Even with only an hour to observe them, we started seeing their personalities emerge. After lunch, we met up with the research team again to learn more about their work – which includes educating and involving local communities who are integral to the gorillas’ survival. Later, a forest walk by night allowed us to see some of the forest’s nocturnal life out at play.

Two nights at Lango Camp

After a last relaxed breakfast at Ngaga, we set off for Lango Camp, driving through Mbomo, the biggest village in the area. Here, we experienced the life of local villagers who sustain themselves from the forest, and bought some palm fruit and a basket ingeniously made of dried leaves. We arrived at Lango Camp and its bai (a saline marsh that’s irresistible to wildlife) in time for lunch. After an adventurous walk through the forest and bai, often in waist-deep water, we lazed on the deck, watching a myriad of birds flitting about in a parade of colour.We left early for a guided morning walk to the bird hide overlooking Lango Bai, where our chances of observing the African grey parrot, a rare sighting in the wild, were highest. We captured some brilliant images as a herd of forest buffalo disturbed a flock of African grey parrots and green pigeons. That afternoon, we enjoyed the comforts of our forest suite before we returned to the bai for a dip. This idea had to be postponed when we saw that we weren’t the only ones there – a family of forest elephant were feeding and bathing in the muddy water!

After a last relaxed breakfast at Ngaga, we set off for Lango Camp, driving through Mbomo, the biggest village in the area. Here, we experienced the life of local villagers who sustain themselves from the forest, and bought some palm fruit and a basket ingeniously made of dried leaves. We arrived at Lango Camp and its bai (a saline marsh that’s irresistible to wildlife) in time for lunch. After an adventurous walk through the forest and bai, often in waist-deep water, we lazed on the deck, watching a myriad of birds flitting about in a parade of colour.

We left early for a guided morning walk to the bird hide overlooking Lango Bai, where our chances of observing the African grey parrot, a rare sighting in the wild, were highest. We captured some brilliant images as a herd of forest buffalo disturbed a flock of African grey parrots and green pigeons. That afternoon, we enjoyed the comforts of our forest suite before we returned to the bai for a dip. This idea had to be postponed when we saw that we weren’t the only ones there – a family of forest elephant were feeding and bathing in the muddy water!

Two nights at Mboko Camp

The transfer to Mboko Camp wasn’t without its share of adventure – we walked along a wooden walkway through the swamp, scaring off a harmless snake, before our game-drive transfer, which yielded sightings of a harnessed bushbuck and giant forest hog, as well as a fleeting glimpse of a chimpanzee in the trees.With its location alongside both tropical rainforest and grassland savannah, Mboko Camp gave us a different perspective on the reserve, and we enjoyed an afternoon relaxing out on our deck. From here we could watch both grey and Peter’s duiker grazing on the plains, while listening to monkeys play noisily in the trees. Later, we joined the other guests for a boat cruise. As we slowly drifted down the river, we intermittently sipped at cocktails and snapped pictures of forest buffalo bathed in rosy light, putty-nose monkeys leaping acrobatically from tree to tree, and an slender-snouted crocodile perched on a tree trunk.For the second day at Mboko Camp we decided to do a guided morning kayak down Lekoli River. The river was an ideal vantage point for seeing the reserve’s primates, and we identified three different types of monkey: moustached, grey-cheeked mangabey and De Brazza’s. As we glided by, the water splashed, indicating several carnivorous fish feeding upon the insects that breed there. Although we could’ve chosen a guided bai and river walk, we decided on another boat cruise after lunch, spotting African fish eagle on the treetops, and a shy sitatunga retreating to the forest shadows.For our final morning at Mboko, we opted for a dawn forest walk, admiring how the rising sun cast dappled shadows over the forest floor and delighting in how tiny specks of dew dripped off the lush green trees. After our last breakfast feast, it was, regrettably, time for us to fly back to Brazzaville for our connecting flight back home.

The transfer to Mboko Camp wasn’t without its share of adventure – we walked along a wooden walkway through the swamp, scaring off a harmless snake, before our game-drive transfer, which yielded sightings of a harnessed bushbuck and giant forest hog, as well as a fleeting glimpse of a chimpanzee in the trees.

With its location alongside both tropical rainforest and grassland savannah, Mboko Camp gave us a different perspective on the reserve, and we enjoyed an afternoon relaxing out on our deck. From here we could watch both grey and Peter’s duiker grazing on the plains, while listening to monkeys play noisily in the trees. Later, we joined the other guests for a boat cruise. As we slowly drifted down the river, we intermittently sipped at cocktails and snapped pictures of forest buffalo bathed in rosy light, putty-nose monkeys leaping acrobatically from tree to tree, and an slender-snouted crocodile perched on a tree trunk.

For the second day at Mboko Camp we decided to do a guided morning kayak down Lekoli River. The river was an ideal vantage point for seeing the reserve’s primates, and we identified three different types of monkey: moustached, grey-cheeked mangabey and De Brazza’s. As we glided by, the water splashed, indicating several carnivorous fish feeding upon the insects that breed there. Although we could’ve chosen a guided bai and river walk, we decided on another boat cruise after lunch, spotting African fish eagle on the treetops, and a shy sitatunga retreating to the forest shadows.

For our final morning at Mboko, we opted for a dawn forest walk, admiring how the rising sun cast dappled shadows over the forest floor and delighting in how tiny specks of dew dripped off the lush green trees. After our last breakfast feast, it was, regrettably, time for us to fly back to Brazzaville for our connecting flight back home.

What sets it apart

Our luxury Congo safari gave us the chance to experience the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest and one of the least disturbed parts of Africa – in depth. From trekking through the rainforest during a tropical shower and discovering the wealth of wildlife it supports, to cruising along the Lekoli River to find dwarf crocodile and forest elephant, or wading waist-deep through the salty bai to discover African grey parrots, green pigeons and reclusive forest buffalo, we unveiled the secrets of the forest with the help of our exceptionally knowledgeable guides.Of course, the gorilla predictably stole the show. The undeniable highlight of our safari in Odzala was trekking through the forest to find its habituated gorilla families – encountering them up in the trees, foraging for roots on the forest floor, and feeding upon the rich vegetation in the forest canopy.The three camps, although different in design and structure, were very much part of the forest, and all were made to have as little impact on the surrounding environment as possible. While Mboko Camp was all about the river and the abundance of water found flowing through woods and savannah areas, Ngaga Camp was about gorilla – finding them and understanding the challenges of habituation and conservation. Lango Camp, meanwhile, was centred around the bai – a magnet for both visiting wildlife and adventurous humans. Each camp allowed us to immerse ourselves in nature and feel its healing touch, and we left rejuvenated, with a newfound sense of purpose.

Our luxury Congo safari gave us the chance to experience the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest and one of the least disturbed parts of Africa – in depth. From trekking through the rainforest during a tropical shower and discovering the wealth of wildlife it supports, to cruising along the Lekoli River to find dwarf crocodile and forest elephant, or wading waist-deep through the salty bai to discover African grey parrots, green pigeons and reclusive forest buffalo, we unveiled the secrets of the forest with the help of our exceptionally knowledgeable guides.

Of course, the gorilla predictably stole the show. The undeniable highlight of our safari in Odzala was trekking through the forest to find its habituated gorilla families – encountering them up in the trees, foraging for roots on the forest floor, and feeding upon the rich vegetation in the forest canopy.

The three camps, although different in design and structure, were very much part of the forest, and all were made to have as little impact on the surrounding environment as possible. While Mboko Camp was all about the river and the abundance of water found flowing through woods and savannah areas, Ngaga Camp was about gorilla – finding them and understanding the challenges of habituation and conservation. Lango Camp, meanwhile, was centred around the bai – a magnet for both visiting wildlife and adventurous humans. Each camp allowed us to immerse ourselves in nature and feel its healing touch, and we left rejuvenated, with a newfound sense of purpose.

DAY 1–3

Enjoy sundowners on your chalet's deck at Ngaga Camp. © Odzala Discovery Camps

You’ll be met as you disembark from your international flight at Maya-Maya Airport in Brazzaville, and assisted through customs and immigration. Following a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Odzala-Kokoua National Park, you’ll take a transfer to Ngaga Camp, where you’ll spend three nights.

DAY 4–5

Lango Camp is situated in south-central Odzala-Kokoua National Park. © Odzala Discovery Camps

A transfer will take you from Ngaga Camp to Lango Camp, where you’ll spend two nights.

DAY 6–7

Elephant come right into Mboko Camp. © Odzala Discovery Camps

A transfer will take you from Lango Camp to Mboko Camp, where you’ll spend two nights.

DAY 8

There's nothing dull about the pigeons in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. © Odzala Discovery Camps

After a transfer from Mboko Camp to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Maya-Maya Airport in Brazzaville, to connect with your international flight.

  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, taking into account when you’d like to travel, how long you’d like to be away for, who you’d be travelling with, what safari lodge style you’d prefer, and more.
  • This luxury safari trip idea is simply to show you what’s possible. To see what this type of safari costs, and what’s generally included, click here.
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