What to choose between a Congo safari and a Kenya safari?
Congo and Kenya represent two ideal countries to go on safari: one is located in Central Africa while the other in East Africa. Both crossed by the equator, they have numerous national parks, nature reserves, wildlife areas, and sanctuaries, some of which are protected to preserve their biodiversity.
A safari allows you to glimpse the silhouettes of animals in the midst of their natural environment, whether in the middle of a Congolese forest or the Kenyan savannah. It is an experience like no other!
Observing Congolese wildlife VS Kenyan wildlife: what animals live in each of these destinations?
Congolese fauna is fascinatingly diverse, with its large mammals, colorful birds, and imposing reptiles. The Republic of Congo’s main animal is the endangered gorilla. However, nearly 60% of these are found in the Congo, where they are becoming increasingly rare. The Congo is becoming famous for the large primates it protects, such as the mountain gorilla in eastern Congo and the lowland gorilla in the west, in the country’s dense forest.
Moreover, we can observe in Congo one of the mammals the closest relatives to humans, the chimpanzees, whose intelligence and social behavior impress many people. Pangolins are mammals that can be observed along forest paths. Hippos can also be seen basking in shallow water.
Furthermore, Congo is also home to over 700 species of birds. The Congo Basin is the habitat of the African grey parrot, the region’s famous colored bird named touraco, the silvery-cheeked hornbill, the African fish eagle, and the migratory African swift.
A little more complicated to see: crocodiles and pythons that are long but non-venomous reptiles. On the other hand, Kenya is home to the black mamba. Dangerous and fast, it is the most venomous snake in the world. It lives in eastern and southern Africa: in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and South Africa, for example.
In Kenya, you can observe herbivores such as zebras, gazelles and wildebeests. In addition, elephants, rhinoceroses, and others such as lions and leopards can be seen.
Kenya and Congo both have elephants. The difference is that in Congo, they are forest elephants, smaller than their savannah cousins in Kenya. In the Congolese territory, elephants can easily be observed in the forest or in the bais, where they can gather by the dozens with other mammals.
Subspecies of lions and their food antelopes live in each of these destinations. Indeed, in the Republic of Congo, lions live in the northeast of the country, while the bongo, a species of antelope, lives in Central Africa. In Kenya, the Masai lions, also known as East African lions, are another subspecies that can be seen. Highly endangered, these felines are victims of the ancestral practices of the Masai, a semi-nomadic people of herders and warriors from East Africa. Nevertheless, some of them try to protect these lions, but their number is declining, from 30,000 in the 1970s to around 2,000 in 2022, according to AFP.
Which flora is best for a good safari?
These two African countries feature incredible landscapes: in one, you are immersed in the Kenyan savannah, with its tall dry grass, ancient trees, and mountains, while in the other, you are on the Congo River, surrounded by lush green vegetation in a peaceful, luminous setting where spectacular waterfalls lurk.
The Congolese forest represents 65% of the national territory, that is to say over 22 million hectares. In Congo, landscapes are made up of tropical forests and clearings. For example, Africa’s largest forest is the Congo Basin, covering 3.6 million km². Indigenous peoples and local communities have a rich cultural heritage as fishermen and hunter-gatherers. One of Congo’s biggest parks is the Nouabalé Ndoki National Park. It is home to a very large population of western lowland gorillas.
Whereas in Kenya, panoramas are different, with more savannah, valleys, and mountains. With several private reserves, over 25 national parks and around 35 nature reserves, it is a famous safari destination.
What activities are offered on each of these safaris?
In the Congo, safaris can be enjoyed on foot or by boat. The comfort of the cruise ship, including the cabin and the services available on board, enable tourists to fully enjoy their stay while having an observation site.
- In the Congo: Expeditions Ducret suggests kayaking and trekking in addition to motorboat excursions. Wildlife observation is at the heart of the safari cruise experience. Accompanied by naturalists, passengers discover the incredible richness of the Congo. On board, conferences are organized on wildlife, history, biodiversity preservation, and indigenous people. Passengers visit National parks listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites including parcs Dzanga Sangha, Lobéké and Nouabalé-Ndoki. At the Mondika scientific camp, gorillas can be observed for an hour from a distance of seven to ten meters, in groups of four.
- Kenya: The country’s most famous safari is in south-western Kenya, in the Masai Mara National Reserve. It is renowned for its safaris, which can be enjoyed from the air by plane or hot-air balloon, or on the road by car or minibus. The best activity, however, is watching the sun set over the savannah. Toursits enjoy going to the beach or a stroll along the shores of the Indian Ocean, where water sports and diving are sometimes possible.
When is the right time to go on safari?
- In the Congo: animals can be seen all year round. The peak of the rainy season is in October-November.
- In Kenya: between December and March or June and October.
A safari in Kenya takes place in the savannah, whereas in the Congo it is in the forest. The Republic of Congo is just opening up to tourism. So, a safari there is a safari away from the crowds, in virtually unexplored places. UNESCO recognizes the biodiversity of these countries, with the Congo Basin listed as a natural World Heritage Site.
The Congo is certainly one of the best places to see gorillas and forest elephants! A cruise on the Congo River guarantees a unique experience and the chance to go where only a few tourists have gone before.