September 12

Top 5 Reasons to Travel to Congo


By Michelle Welvering on September 12, 2023

As if emerging from the pages of an adventure novel, the Republic of Congo reveals an alluring tale of emerald forests interlaced with ribbons of rivers, savannah slivers, unexpected creatures, exciting exploits and unforeseen twists. However, let it not be confused with the DRC to the east. Oh no, this burgeoning land stands in a league of its own. So, without further ado, here are five reasons why Congo should be the next chapter in your travels.

Tropical forest and marsh with meandering waterways

Congo is home to tropical rainforests filled with unique fauna and flora, Image Credit: Lango Camp

1. Odzala-Kokoua National Park

If you were to ask any of our audacious Travel Experts where in the Congo they would most like to venture, they'd declare (with great enthusiasm) the wild and wonderful Odzala-Kokoua National Park

A cluster of white butterflies at the river's edge

A place of stunning biological diversity, Image Credit: Ngaga Camp

Found in the northwestern reaches of the Republic of the Congo, Odzala-Kokoua National Park unfolds as a pristine, prehistoric-like jungle at a staggering 1,350,000 hectares in size. Additionally, Odzala is a haven for an exuberant ensemble of exotic, endemic and endangered animals, including the majestic western lowland gorilla.

Guests sitting at the river's edge appreciating the surroundings

Head into the forest and uncover plenty of primates, Image Credit: Ngaga Camp

Embark on forest walks that tread lightly through nature's artistry, revealing secrets hidden beneath verdant canopies. And, to add more dimension to your adventure, we highly recommend engaging in tranquil boat safaris, refreshing water wades, invigorating waterfall hikes, and leisurely kayaking quests through Odzala's Jurassic-like terrain.

Kayaking along the Congo River

Game drives, walks and boating opportunities unveil a wealth of wildlife, Image Credit: Lango Camp

2. Western Lowland Gorilla Encounters

No exploration of the Congo would be truly fulfilled without a rendezvous with the enigmatic western lowland gorillas. Expert guides will lead you into the heart of the country's lush jungles, where every rustle in the leaves and each soft hoot brings you closer to these awe-inspiring beings.

Gorilla mother and offspring sitting on her back

Skilled local trekkers will guide you in the search for gorillas, Image Credit: Ngaga Camp

Having experienced gorilla trekking first-hand, believe us when we say the bond you form when you lock eyes with a gorilla, sensing their ancient wisdom, is ineffable. The fleeting glimpse of a mother cradling her young, the commanding aura of the silverback – it's these moments that etch memories no amount of time can unravel.

Gorilla partially obscured by leaves

The Congo's main drawcard is undeniably its habituated troops of gorillas, Image Credit: Ngaga Camp

3. Fascinating Forest Animals

While our beloved gorillas may be the headliners, the Congo's cast of characters remains expansive and diverse. Lofty elephants move with quiet grace, forest buffaloes trundle through the undergrowth, and mischievous mangabeys swing through the trees, their vibrant calls resonating through the dense vegetation.

The Congo is home to forest buffalo

The Congo is home to the forest buffalo, Image Credit: Lango Camp

With over 400 mammal species, the vast Congo wilderness teems with wildlife at every turn. Whether you venture on foot, by boat or by vehicle, an abundance of spectacular sightings will surely greet you.

Critically endangered forest elephant bull in Odzala Kokoua National Park

A critically endangered forest elephant bull in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Image Credit: Mboko Camp

Explore the bai and meet bongo antelope, navigate the Lekoli River where the red river hog dwells, and wander the towering forests, all teeming with captivating creatures – including one of our personal favourites, the dapper (and, in our opinion, rather handsome) putty-nosed monkey.

Greater putty-nosed monkey, Image Credit: Lango Camp

4. A Paradise for Birdwatchers

And fear not, our fellow twitchers, for we haven't forgotten about you! With over 1,000 different bird species gracing its skies, brush and shallows, the Congo offers a kaleidoscope of colours and melodies to match.

African green pigeons in flight, Image Credit: Lango Camp

From the iridescent plumage of sunbirds to the haunting calls of the African grey parrot, each sighting is a testament to the diversity of avian life calling this land home.

Whether you're an experienced birder or embarking on your first birdwatching endeavour, the Congo's feathered inhabitants promise to impress, igniting a newfound appreciation for the fascinating world of avifauna.

Birds in trees, birds in flight and even birds on forest buffaloes, Image Credit: Lango Camp

5. Culture in Brazzaville

While the wild landscapes of the Congo dominate the narrative, its urban heart, Brazzaville, offers a different kind of adventure. Lying lazily on the edge of the Congo River, this vibrant capital presents a sublime combination of tradition and modernity.

Brazzaville local

Meet the curious characters in Congo's capital

"Charming" seems almost an understatement when describing this unpretentious city. Its French heritage proudly unfolds in the form of light-hued colonial buildings, boulevards shaded by graceful trees, and historic Catholic churches.

Vendor selling fruit juice at a market in Brazzaville

Discover a wonderfully wild array of goods at local markets

Lose yourself in bustling markets where traditional cuisine, colourful fabrics, and intricately carved crafts tell stories of generations. Engage with the warm and welcoming locals, and allow the rhythm of Congolese music and dance to transport you into the heart of their culture.

Streets lined with stalls boasting intriguing items

Streets lined with stalls boasting intriguing wares

Let Your Congo Adventure Begin!

And there you have it – our top five compelling reasons to heed the call of the Congo. Each moment in this enchanting land is a chapter waiting to be written in your very own adventure novel.

So, unlock the explorer within, start planning, and embark on an unforgettable journey.

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Brazzaville, Odzala-Kokoua National Park

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About the author 

Michelle Welvering

Growing up, Michelle always wanted to become a world-renowned artist, a kickboxing-champion and an eccentric explorer – aka a Kickboxing Exploring Artist! After pursuing an education in Fine Arts and opening her own Kickboxing gym in Pretoria, an unexpected twist led her to a six-year stint as a travel consultant in South African tourism. She believes that all things happen for a reason and, driven by adventure, she was eager to find a more “wild” and cultural space to call home. This led her to wander the Western Cape coastline, fall in love with the city of Cape Town and, of course, her workplace, Rhino Africa.

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