Gorillas and Elephants of Congo and C.A.R.

Discover ‘The Village of Elephants’ and a world of great apes deep in the ancient forests of the Congo basin…

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13 days from £4,050 pp sharing

Other tour dates available on request

  • Includes accommodation, activities, meals as per the itinerary, and all transfers
  • Deposit £950 pp. Single supplement £370 pp
  • Maximum group size 6 people
  • Excludes international flights

Download our 2013/14 Tours Guide for information on booking your flights and FAQs about our tours

The rooms at your riverside jungle lodge.

The great rainforests of Central Africa’s Congo basin are one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Containing approximately 400 mammal species; 1,000 bird species; and 700 species of fish, the swamps; forest clearings; savannahs; and lush jungles are perfectly suited to ambitious travellers and wildlife enthusiasts.

This adventurous tour brings you to the heart of the Congo’s rainforest, with opportunities to track western lowland gorillas in their natural habitat and forest elephants at the world famous Dzanga Bai (forest clearing) at the Dzanga Sangha Reserve. Your journey into the heart of Africa will also offer numerous other forest animals, such as sitatungas, bongos, 11 diurnal primates, and an array of unique and endemic bird species that live undisturbed in the forests. This is travel at its most intense and an opportunity to experience the primal mystery of the legendary Congo forests.

Our tour also gives you the opportunity to travel with local Ba’Aka guides whose intimate knowledge of the region’s flora and fauna ensure that you experience all the richness of the forest.

  • Spend restful days at the world famous Dzanga Bai, the “Village of the Elephants”, a magical clearing in the forest where elephants congregate en mass to socialise and take in vital nutrients. Impressive bird life and an array of forest mammals are also highlights.
  • Witness the extraordinary and remote Mbeli Bai forest clearing from a raised platform, where up to 150 unhabituated Western Lowland Gorillas regularly visit to feed and socialise.
  • Visit the nesting site of the extremely rare Red-necked Picathartes, only a few kilometres from your camp.
  • Observe groups of Western Lowland Gorillas at Bai Hokou, coming close to the powerful silverbacks and playful infants.
  • Take guided walks though one of the world’s most iconic ecosystems.
  • Learn about the region’s fauna and flora from resident researchers and the local Ba’Aka guides.
  • Take pirogue (dug-out canoe) trips along the Sangha River and its many tributaries and marvel at the quantity and diversity of the butterflies.
  • Spotlight around your forest camp and from boats to find some of the more unusual nocturnal species, such as Galago, Potto, Genet, Civet, Golden Cat, Hammer-headed Bat and a several owl species.
  • Take an optional journey into the forest with the Ba’Aka to camp overnight. The music and dancing that you will experience here is something that few westerners will ever see. All monies from this activity go directly to the Ba’Aka to help with their education and health issues.
  • Take an evening sundowner cruise up river from our lodge. Once at the head of the river, the motor is turned off and we will drift slowly back to camp, watching the forest sunset as we enjoy a gin and tonic or a beer.
  • Travel with some of the most knowledgeable and experienced wildlife guides in the business, and benefit from their years of experience in providing logistical support and tourism planning in the region.
  • Visit WWF and WCS research stations and learn about their important conservation work in the region.
  • Stay at comfortable forest lodges with good food, hot water, and ensuite facilities.

Day 1
You will be met upon arrival at Brazzaville by your tour guide (Jean-Pierre) and transferred to your hotel. Here you will have a chance to relax after your flight, meet your fellow travellers, and enjoy some Congolese cuisine before the adventure begins. If you wish, we can organise a city tour to see the markets and city life of Congo.

Day 2
After an early breakfast, we will travel northwards to Ouesso. This will be your first opportunity to enjoy the open savannahs and forests of the Congo, and perhaps visit a local village. The journey is long, but necessary in order to reach the deep forest areas and leave the cities and towns behind. We will overnight in Ouesso at the simple Hotel Mindongo.

Days 3 to 7
An early departure by 4×4 vehicle will take us along the banks of the Sangha River to Bomassa, the headquarters of WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) in Nouabale-Ndoki National Park. Then we will travel onwards to Mbeli and Mondika Camps, with time spent at both. These days are filled with exploration of pristine jungle and wildlife encounters in the most remote corners of the park. Tracking gorillas on foot, watching families of Gorillas socialise and feed at Mbeli Bai, and searching for wildlife as you explore the swamps, wetlands, and trails of the forest on foot are all thrilling wildlife experiences.

Day 8
Today we will transfer by pirogue (motorised Canoe) to Lidjombo (the checkpoint for entry into C.A.R). Here you will be met by your 4×4 vehicle and continue on to Bayanga for lunch. You will then have an introduction to the conservation projects at the National Park before arriving at the Dzanga-Sangha Reserve and your jungle lodge.

Days 9 to 11
The next 5 days will be a wildlife adventure through this remote and untouched reserve that spans part of Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Your time will be spent watching herds of up to 100 elephants socialising at Dzanga Bai, tracking Gorillas at Bai Hokou, setting out from camp to find the incredible Picathartes at their waterfall nesting site, net hunting with the local Ba’Aka, and enjoying night walks to spot rare and nocturnal wildlife. To outsiders, Dzanga is like another world, verdent, rich in life and full of wonder – the ultimate jungle experience for people passionate about wildlife.

Day 12 and 13
We will spend the next 2 days making our way back to Brazzaville, retracing our steps back via Ouesso.

Just some of the wildlife you may encounter in Congo & the Central African Republic:

  • Forest Elephant
  • Western Lowland Gorilla
  • Leopard
  • Bongo
  • Chimpanzee
  • Sitatunga
  • Red river hog
  • Giant forest hog
  • Red-cheeked rope Squirrel
  • De Brazza’s Monkey
  • Grey-cheeked Mangabey
  • Blue Duiker
  • Black & White Colobus
  • Congolese clawless Otter
  • African forest buffalo
  • Picathartes
  • African Grey Parrot
  • Dzanga Forest Robin
  • African Pied Hornbill
  • Olive-bellied Sunbird
  • Superb Sunbird
  • Rufous Flycatcher
  • Great Blue Turaco
  • Emerald Cuckoo

Many of the photos you see on this site were taken by amateur photographers on our tours.

No online reviews for this tour. Please contact the Encounter the Wild team for a review or testimonial.

Encounter the wild are privileged to work with and support the Ba’Aka Fund.

In the face of increased pressures to simply survive, this fund works to improve nutrition, medical supplies, and education to Ba’Aka communities. Please read our tour brochure for more information on how your participation can make a difference.