Since gaining independence from France in 1960 and enduring decades of political turbulence, the Republic of Congo has developed into a country that is both safe for travelers and is still relatively undiscovered. The majority of the country’s sparse population lives in the major urban areas like the capital of Brazzaville in the south, leaving the thick, lush rainforests untouched and virtually uninhabited. These forests sprawl over 80% of the country and are a haven for a myriad of primate species, like lowland gorillas and chimpanzees. Forest elephants also make their home here in this untouched ecotourism destination.
The northern rainforests of the Congo Basin comprise the second-largest collection of rainforests in the world, second only to the Amazon in South America. Along with the mighty Congo River, the Shanga and Mambili help to drain this basin and provide access to hidden gems of the forest—the wealth of endemic wildlife and some of the world’s last flourishing Pygmy settlements.
Odzala-Kokoua National Park is in the northern region and was officially proclaimed a park in 1935 by the French administration, making it one of the oldest in Africa and one of the least disturbed. There is rich ecological diversity here among the steep hills and dense forests, swamps, and some grassy clearings where wildlife often congregate. Hundreds of birds fly through the lofty, thick foliage, reaching up to the blue heavens. The vibrant red tails of the African grey parrots pop against the green trees. The Lekoli and Kokoua rivers give life, fed by often abundant rains, making this a fertile area where monkeys, buffaloes, antelopes, and crocodiles make their home.
Republic of Congo is a country of immense untamed beauty and one of Africa’s best kept secrets, making it an attractive destination for adventurers in search of a true journey into the wild.