Safari in Congo VS Safari in Kenya: Forest VS Savannah

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.

When to Explore Congo Basin according to Climate?

The Congo Basin Rainforest

The Congo Basin rainforest is the second largest in the world, in terms of area, just behind the Amazon Basin. This vast region is inhabited by 185 million inhabitants spread over 6 countries. While exploring this region, you discover 6% of the world’s forest area. More specifically, choosing to visit Central Africa means discovering 286 million hectares divided between Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Central African Republic (CAR).

Its forest cover and peat bogs sequester the equivalent of ten years’ global CO2 emissions. Essential, this African region plays a vital role in global climate stability. More than 10,000 varieties of tropical plants and endangered species can be found in the region, 30% of which are native, such as forest elephants, lowland gorillas, mountain gorillas and okapis. In total, more than 400 mammal species, 700 fish species and 1,000 bird species live in the Congo Basin.

The Altitude of Central Africa's Rainforests

65% of the territory lies between 300 and 600 meters above sea level. Around a third, almost 30%, is located between 600 and 1,650 meters above sea level. Only 5% of this zone’s forests are situated between 0 and 300 meters. Finally, just 1% of these forests are montane, that is to say above 1,650 meters altitude.

The Congo River Basin

The biggest river basin in Central Africa and on the African continent is the Congo Basin, with a surface area of around 4 million km². With annual renewable water resources of around 1.3 billion cubic meters, it represents around 30% of Africa’s water resources. The average annual flow of the Congo River is 41,000 m3/second. Although located in six different countries, 85.3% of the Congo River Basin lies in the predominantly forested regions of four countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Republic of Congo. The Congo Basin has a complex hydrographic network composed of rivers, vast flooded forests, and lakes.

Congo Basin Climate Commission

In 2016, the Congo Basin Climate Commission, under the aegis of the African Union, was created by the countries of Central Africa. This was made possible by the joint initiative of Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and Moroccan King Mohammed VI by including all the states of the extended Congo River basin and the neighboring Atlantic and Indian Ocean basins. The objective of this commission is to accelerate the implementation of the climate transition and economic transformation of the Congo Basin in a perspective of sustainable development.

Find more information on its declaration (in French) by clicking here. 

Three-Basin Summit on Biodiversity Ecosystems and Tropical Forests

Congo is recognized worldwide for its biodiversity. Brazzaville hosted the summit of the three basins of biodiversity ecosystems and tropical forests. The event took place from October 26 to 28, 2023, and broached environmental issues related to the Amazon Basin, the Congo Basin, and the Borneo Mekong Basin in Southeast Asia.

For more details, we share you the declaration here

Rainfall in Central Africa

Average annual rainfall in this part of Africa is higher along the Gulf of Guinea.  For instance, it reaches 3,000 mm in Libreville, the capital of Gabon, 3,200 mm in Gata, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, while it can rise to 6,000 mm south of the island of Bioko, which belongs to that country, 3,400 mm in the economic capital of Cameroon and almost 12,000 mm in Debunscha, a coastal village in Cameroon with one of the highest rainfall records in the world. Nevertheless, in the south of Central Africa, rainfall drops sharply to around 1,000 mm at the mouth of the Congo River. In northern Congo at Ouesso, average annual rainfall is 1,590 mm, compared with 1,345 mm in southern Congo at Brazzaville.

Congo's Climate

The Republic of Congo is an intertropical zone influenced by the dry Sahelian and South African anticyclones and the humid St. Helena anticyclone, also known as the South Atlantic anticyclone. On one hand is the Sangha region and its capital Ouesso, and on the other is the country’s capital Brazzaville. The average year-round temperature in Congo is 26°C/70°F, due to its proximity to the equator. However, temperatures can rise to 32°C/89.6°F in the wet season.

In the north of the Republic of Congo, the mornings are often beautiful and sunny, with the rains that rather come at night. This information is for guidance only, as no two years are alike. In fact, rain can be short and intense, just as it can last a few hours.

  • Ouesso: Capital of the Sangha Region

The pleasant equatorial climate in northern Congo guarantees both humidity and warmth. At night, temperatures drop below 24 degrees. During the day, it can reach 30°C/86°F. Rains are regular throughout the year, with a peak between October and November. The rainy season remains a crucial period, as the rivers have a greater flow and allow navigation. Consequently, from the end of January to the end of March, when rainfall is at its lowest, navigation in the North is interrupted due to the lack of water.

  • Brazzaville: Capital of the Republic of Congo

The sub-equatorial climate of southern Congo includes two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. Rainfall falls between October and May, making way for a dry season between June and September. In October and November, the colors of the landscape are at their most spectacular, despite heavy rainfall.

Temperatures in Other Central African Countries

Temperatures in Cameroon range from 20°C/68°F to 28°C/82.4°F. Rainfall is highest between April and October.

In the Central African Republic, annual temperature reaches 33°C/91.4°F. Rainfall is heaviest between May and October. The best period is also during the dry season, from November to March.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has an equatorial climate in the center. Its climate is tropical in the south and north. The dry season takes place between December and May for the part north of the equator, and between May and September for the part south of the equator.

The countries of Central Africa enjoy magnificent biodiversity and bearable heat all year round.


In other words, there is no single best season to travel to Congo Brazzaville. Book from now your rainforest cruise with Expeditions Ducret!

What animals can you see on safari in the Congo?

Animals to spot in the Congo Basin?

If you decide to venture into the depths of the Congo, you are likely to come across a large number of living creatures. Plants, mammals, birds, insects, fish and reptiles – the Congo Basin is teeming with animals, each more fascinating than the last. Our imagination and popular culture have often led us to see Africa as a fairly homogenous continent where, in a vast savannah, a lion chases an antelope in a wild and hostile environment. In reality, however, this continent, where animal species and humans have lived for thousands of years, boasts a huge diversity of landscapes. By definition, the Congo Basin and its equatorial rainforest embody this richness. Here you will find many species, some of them endemic, that have found refuge in the heart of the dense forests, far from man. In this article, we’ll try to give you a flavour of this richness before you decide, perhaps, to go and see for yourself.

The great primates of the Congo Basin

Two of the wide variety of apes found around the globe can be seen on a Congo safari.

The chimpanzee

Famous for its close genetic relationship with humans, the chimpanzee is very common in the equatorial zone of Africa. 

Although it belongs to the Pan genus of the Hominidae family, along with its cousin the Bonobo, it is mainly found north of the Congo River, in the Republic of Congo. 

Its diet consists mainly of plant fruits and insects, which places it in the omnivore category. Proud of its great intelligence, the Chimpanzee has been widely introduced into human society.

 In science, psychology, cinema and the circus, it is not uncommon to see this primate portrayed as a parallel to man. 

However, the development of the animal cause and the major threats to the species and its natural habitat have led us to rethink the way it is treated in modern society, and have kept it away from laboratories and entertainment.

The lowland gorilla

Although highly endangered, the western lowland gorilla is still very present in the Congo Basin.

This majestic, strong animal, which has inspired a number of successful films, is a far cry from the brutal, stupid beast we are shown in cinemas and in popular culture.

Measuring 1.7 metres for males and 1.3 metres for females and weighing up to 230 kilos for the largest specimens, the gorilla is actually highly intelligent. Research has shown, for example, that it uses tools to live, such as branches, which it uses as a probe before crossing bodies of water.

Even more surprisingly, researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have concluded that the rate of blood flow to the gorilla’s brain is twice as fast as that of our australopithecine ancestors. As a result, they are better oxygenated and have better connections, which has an impact on their cognition.



If you accidentally decide to dive into a pond in the Congo, we advise you to be careful not to disturb a potential mammal… measuring up to almost 4 metres and weighing up to 3.5 tons, the hippopotamus is considered to be the most dangerous animal in Africa.

Its aggressiveness is mainly due to its highly territorial behaviour, prompting it to confront any creature that comes too close to its habitat.

Its impressive jaw, which can open up to 180°, and its sharp 50cm canine teeth give it one of the most powerful jaws in the animal reign.

Despite this advantage, the hippopotamus feeds mainly on fodder, which it grazes at night. The rest of the day, it lurks in the water among its fellow creatures. Its unsocial nature has led to the herds being divided into 3 categories. The females on one side look after and protect the young, the males on the other, and the dominant alone.

Forest elephants

This majestic creature, a symbol of Africa and the Congo crest, lives in the tropical forests of the Congo Basin.

Its natural habitat is very localised, in Central and West Africa in dense forests. This is largely due to the fact that the species has disappeared from 75% of the areas it once occupied. Poaching, the expansion of urban areas and ever-increasing deforestation policies are the main causes of this disappearance.

Today, thanks to the fight to protect animals and their natural habitats, many forest elephants have found refuge in protected areas, reserves and nature parks. This is where you’ll have the best chance of seeing them. Forest elephants are highly social creatures, living in smaller groups than their Asian cousins.

They play a key role in the ecosystem, as their diet and digestive habits encourage the germination of certain seeds. Knowing that a single elephant can easily eat 180kg of food a day from a wide variety of products, more than 300 according to studies, you understand the importance of this animal in its environment.

A wide variety of birds

Although the Congo Basin abounds in a unique wealth of animals, we tend to forget about those above our heads that we hear singing without seeing them, those that make the branches creak and that watch us with a watchful eye: the birds.

When it comes to ornithology, the Congo has nothing to envy the rest of the world. There are over 760 species living in Congo Brazzaville. From the little gnat-fly to the crowned eagle, not forgetting owls, falcons and pelicans, there are an impressive number of birds in the region. And with good reason: its dense forests and biodiversity provide a high-quality habitat for these winged creatures.

If you venture out into these areas, it’s not unlikely that you’ll spot one, but it’s all a question of how carefully you look.

If you would like to find out more about all the bird species found in the Congo, please visit the following website:

Insects, a micro-scale world that populates Africa.

If all the animals we have mentioned above manage to live, or even prosper, it is largely thanks to those we don’t see, the little creatures that walk under our feet, those at the base of the food chain.

The Congo Basin is home to 370,000 species of beetle, not counting the flies, ants and caterpillars that are present in their millions in the equatorial forest. Their presence ensures the pollination of more than 11,000 species of tropical plants, some of which are endemic to the region.

The region also abounds in butterflies, one of the most emblematic of which, the Papilio antimachus, can reach a wingspan of up to 25 cm.

Insects are also very popular in African culture and widely consumed. In the Republic of Congo, caterpillars already account for 10% of the population’s annual diet.



The Congo is home to a large number of rodents. But don’t worry, we’re not talking about disgusting-looking city rats. Scientific studies have captured and studied almost 12 species of rodents and soricomorphs (including moles and shrews).

Unlike all the other animals mentioned above, the latter do not find refuge in primary forests. Recent studies have shown that they thrive in areas inhabited by humans, such as fields and farmland, where they can find abundant food.

They are therefore a major issue for local populations, given the havoc they wreak. Rodents include squirrels, gerbils, shrews, dormice and mice.

Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo, how to differentiate them?

What are the differences between the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo?

The name of the Congo region comes from “Bakongo”, the name of the Bantu people who live there. Archaeological discoveries and excavations have established that the Bakongo people have lived in the region for thousands of years. This is why the region naturally took the name Congo from the colonial period onwards.

Two countries, one name – that’s what makes the Congo region so special. It’s easy to get confused. And with good reasons, there are many similarities between the Republic of Congo and its big sister, the Democratic Republic of Congo: the same region, the same climate, the same language, the same wild and unspoilt nature. However, a closer look reveals that the two countries are much more different than they first appear.

Different heritages: the French Congo and the Belgian Congo

What differentiates the two Congo’s is their history. Congo Brazzaville is a former French colony, created in 1891. Initially under the name of “Moyen Congo”, before taking on its current name, Republic of Congo, on 15 August 1960. Since then, its capital has been Brazzaville. Congo Kinshasa, on the other hand, is a former Belgian colony founded in 1908 which gained independence on 30 June 1960. Congo Kinshasa took the name of Zaire under the dictatorship of General Mobutu in order to avoid confusion with neighboring Congo. However, with the arrival of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo and Joseph Kabila, Congo Kinshasa changed its name once again to become the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Two countries, two scales

Of all the disparities, the difference in size between the two countries is surely the most glaring. With a surface area of 342,000 km², Congo Brazzaville is around 7 times smaller than Congo Kinshasa, which covers an area of 2,345,000 km². This makes the Democratic Republic of Congo the second largest African country after Algeria.

Twin capitals

Separated by the Congo River, the capitals of Brazzaville and Kinshasa face each other on the banks of the Malebo Pool.

Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of Congo. Its name “Brazza” coming from the patronymic of the Italian Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, an explorer in the service of French expeditions. Kinshasa or “Kin”, formerly known as Léopoldville until 1966, is the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To avoid confusion, it is also possible to differentiate the two Congos by using their informal nicknames of Congo Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa.

Each country has its own flag

Flags are also a way of distinguishing the two Congos. The flag of Congo Brazzaville uses the colours of pan-Africanism. These colours can be found on many African flags, they are red, green and yellow. The flag of the DRC, for its part, is red, yellow and blue, with a star symbolizing the country’s promising future.

The great demographic gap

The difference between the two countries is also marked at the demographic level. While the Democratic Republic of Congo has a population of 96 million, Congo Brazzaville has just 5 million.

In addition, there is a 5-year difference in life expectancy between the two states. it is set at 60 for the DRC and 65 for the Republic of Congo.

The distribution of the population is also not the same. Congo Brazzaville has a population density of just 15 inhabitants per km². In Congo Kinshasa, the population distribution is 45 inhabitants per km². However, the majority of the population live on the plateaux and in the savannah near rivers and lakes. While the humid and swampy forest areas of the Congo forest are deserted by the population due to the inhospitable nature of the forest.

Two different political realities

Since the 1960s and the independence of the two countries, the official language has remained French. The second most widely spoken language is Lingala in both the DRC and Congo.

However, despite their proximity, the two states have very different political situations. During the Cold War, Zaire was influenced by the Western bloc, while the People’s Republic of Congo (Congo Brazza) was influenced by the Eastern bloc.

Today, the Congo’s political situation remains much more stable than that of its neighbor, the DRC. Since the civil war of the 1990s, the country has been ruled by President Sassou Nguesso. In the DRC, despite attempts to stabilize and secure the country, it remains highly unstable, with persistent risk zones in the east of the country.

A natural world

The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to most of the Congo Basin forest. It is the second largest tropical forest in the world after the Amazon rainforest.

The region is divided in two by the Congo River and its tributaries. It is the river that acts as the border, distinguishing the Republic of Congo on the right bank from the Democratic Republic of Congo on the left bank.

In total, the natural border created by the Congo River and its tributary the Ubangi is almost 2,410 kilometers long, making it the 15th longest border in the world.


The two regions are not only rich in exceptional biodiversity. The Republic of Congo is the fifth largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the DRC also has diamond and mineral resources that are essential to the energy transition.

Policy of respect for the environment

As well as sharing the Congo River, the two countries share the Congo Basin Forest, most of which is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The regulations governing the preservation and protection of the environment are not the same in the two countries.

The Democratic Republic of Congo owns most of the Congo Basin, covering an area of 234 million hectares. The forest covers some 181 million hectares. However, the forest is shrinking by half a million hectares every year as a result of slash-and-burn farming and logging. Agroforestry and reforestation have been put forward as solutions to this environmental problem. Indeed, they could help meet the demand for wood and food in a sustainable way.

For its part, the Republic of Congo is largely covered by forest. More than 70% of the country’s surface area covered by forest, making it the fifteenth most forested country in the world. The environment is therefore highly vulnerable and its protection is vital. But the Republic of Congo is not sufficiently prepared to adapt to climate change. The country is suffering from climate disruption. It represents a risk for the population whose livelihood depends on this environment. Nevertheless, the Republic of Congo is aware of its ecological importance at global level and is working to put in place climate-smart practices.

Nouabale Ndoki Park

A call from the wild

We’ve all dreamt of going on an adventure. Young or old, fascinated by exploration or just to escape a monotonous lifestyle. But where to go? Well away from the big polluted cities, the sound of horns, car fumes and exhilarating buildings as far as the eye can see, there’s a place waiting for you in the heart of Africa’s equatorial forest, at the centre of one of the richest regions on our planet: the Parc Nouabale Ndoki.

Where is the Nouabale Ndoki Park located?

The Nouabale Ndoki National Park (NNNP) is a protected area, listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, devoid of any human contact or exploitation, preserving unspoilt, pristine nature. It is located in the north of the Republic of Congo, in the Sangha department. Proud of its tropical forests and verdant clearings, it is undoubtedly one of the best examples of ecosystem protection in the Congo Basin, and indeed in Africa. No roads or buildings have been erected by man, and no home other than that of the animals has tamed this unique area of the world.

Covering an area of 4,000km2, it forms the Sangha Tri National, alongside the Lobéké Park in Cameroon and the Dzanga-Sangha complex of protected areas in the Central African Republic.

Together, these three protected areas cover more than 7,500 km2, offering a unique natural space teeming with rich, wild flora and fauna.

Hippos, gorillas, buffalo, elephants, chimpanzees, and hundreds of other species live here in perfect harmony. The density of these areas has allowed an exceptional flora to develop. Nature reigns supreme here.

When and why was it created?

The site was created in 1993 in response to the challenge of preserving natural areas in Africa, but also to combat the disappearance of species and the serious decline in forest areas as a result of the development of human society. Many of the species present on the site are already listed as endangered or could become so in the next few years.

The Sangha Trinational breaks down established borders and forces joint management of the area. But the fight to preserve these ecosystems goes far beyond the borders of the countries that host them. This area has been maintained, protected and safeguarded for almost 30 years thanks to close collaboration between the Congolese authorities and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

These areas have also benefited the economies of the countries that are responsible for them through the development of tourism. In the Parc Nouabale Ndoki, tourists can observe gorillas, elephants, buffalo and thousands of birds.

But the remarkable professionalisation of the Park has also enabled the protection of these natural areas to be promoted to a higher level. Numerous laws have been passed to combat poaching, and the number of forest rangers has increased tenfold. The stakes are therefore also political. The Nouabale Ndoki Park presents itself as a spokesperson for animal causes on a global scale.

How do I get around the Nouabale Ndoki Park?

In keeping with the principles of eco-responsibility and conservation, most of the Park is visited on foot, accompanied by experienced trackers. These visits also allow visitors to immerse themselves in nature and observe the animals that live there as closely as possible.

In the swampy clearing of Mbéli Bai, for example, you can meet many primates such as gorillas, as well as more majestic animals such as forest elephants, buffalo and sitatungas.

Last but not least, some sections of the Park can also be explored on pirogues, boats that will take you to the heart of the habitat of numerous marine animals such as crocodiles or the astonishing articulated freshwater turtles.

What can you see inside?

The list of animals present inside the site is far too long to list in full, but here is a brief overview.

The park is home to a number of majestic animals, including gorillas, elephants, crocodiles and hippos.

The Nouabale-Ndoki forest is home to a multitude of insects, colourful Euphaedra butterflies, dozens of species of birds such as the bright red Cassin’s Malimbe, frogs and monkeys of various breeds.

The unique flora found in the Parc Noubalé Ndoki is one of its most important features. The Park is home to 244 species belonging to 45 different families. There are emblematic species such as the strangler fig, recognisable by its aerial roots, and the mukulungu (Autranella Congolensis), which is found in equatorial Africa and can reach heights of up to 50 metres.

While this flora plays an active role in the survival of the animal species that live in the Park, offering a certain shelter and abundance of food thanks to its density and richness, it has also benefited the local tribal populations. Honey, leaves and mushrooms represent the wide range of products that this area produces, a key point in the development of these people, providing them with an almost infinite source of goods.

But far removed from local traditions and survival, other people have also found in the Parc Nouabale Ndoki a consuming passion. Every year, dozens of groups of scientists visit the Congo Basin to record its plant species, which are often threatened with extinction.

The Nouabale Ndoki Park and indigenous peoples?

While the Nouabale Ndoki site provides a safe haven for animals, it has also served to highlight the indigenous ways of life in the area.

Hunting, fishing, crafts and the way of life of the indigenous peoples are often neglected in favour of city life, which is simpler at first sight.

It is therefore a real challenge to enhance and safeguard these ways of life close to nature so that all the knowledge that goes with it does not disappear.  The Nouabale Ndoki Park and the river tourist cruises provide an opportunity to discover these ecosystems and help to promote the knowledge of the indigenous peoples. The encounters you will have in the Park with the pygmy peoples, most of whom are trackers, will enable you to meet men and women whose way of life is far removed from that of modern civilisation.

Is it possible to observe gorillas in the Park?

Some “habituated” gorillas have been monitored for almost 20 years by scientists. Habituation is a long process involving several stages. Each research assistant is given a group of gorillas (between 6 and 15 individuals) to spend 8 hours a day with, until the day when his presence at a distance of around ten metres no longer disturbs the silverback. The habituation process can take between 5 and 10 years. This habituation work has made it possible to document the species and monitor groups over several decades. Today, the Park has three groups of habituated gorillas that can be observed at less than ten metres. Tracking begins not far from the scientists’ camp at Mondika, a two-hour walk and 45-minute drive from Bomassa, the Park’s entrance point.

Packing for a Safari Cruise

Safari Cruise Luggage List

A Safari cruise in the Congo is an opportunity to immerse yourself in an unknown and remote environment. That’s why an exceptional environment goes hand in hand with the right equipment.


For the expedition, you’ll need light, breathable clothing first and foremost. Choose long-sleeved, quick-drying shirts and long, quick-drying trousers. Make sure you also take discreet clothes in the colours of nature.

Take a light fleece or jumper for cooler evenings and for morning or river activities. Although the Congo is not renowned for its low temperatures, rain combined with a light breeze will make you want to cover up.

Similarly, rain and showers are commonplace in the Congo, so take a light raincoat to cover up in case of rain.

For the various activities planned, whether during the expeditions or for your moments of relaxation, please remember to take a swimsuit..

After a long day, it’s time to relax. That’s why you’ll need casual clothes and a comfortable pair of shoes to relax on board.


On treks and hikes, you will need a pair of walking or sports shoes. Please check that they are sturdy and comfortable enough for walks that may last several hours. They should be closed shoes, ideally lightweight and quick-drying, as we’ll be walking in wet conditions.

It is also advisable to take pairs of high socks to minimize the risk of bites, or to avoid small insects accidentally slipping into your shoes during forest expeditions.


Soft backpacks are best for trekking through the Congolese forest. Please check that your backpacks are comfortable enough and suitable for trekking in the forest, so that you can carry binoculars and your water bottle.

We also recommend that you take rain covers for your bags or check that they are waterproof in case of heavy rain.

As far as travel bags are concerned, we also recommend soft bags to make them easier to carry and store on board the ship. Make sure that your baggage does not exceed 20kg, as this is the weight limit on domestic flights.

Water bottle or reusable water bottle

For long excursions in the forest, and because you mustn’t neglect hydration in hot, humid areas, we recommend that you always take a water bottle with you. Especially as these are not provided by the cruise. For the cruise, you’ll need reusable containers, which you can fill on board using the ship’s various water fountains.

First-aid kit

If you have everything you need on board in the event of an accident or injury, you can take a small travel kit with you, including antiseptic wipes, bandages, tweezers, plasters, aspirin, anti-diarrhea and anti-malarial medication, etc. Make sure you also take your medical documents with you.

You should also bring your yellow fever vaccination certificates, as well as your polio, measles and covid 19 certificates, all of which are required for gorilla watching.

Sun protection

The Congo is an equatorial country, so the sun shines all year round. You are therefore strongly advised to take something to protect yourself from UV rays. Make sure you take a sun hat, which should be suitable for expeditions, that is to say of a neutral colour and preferably canvas. You must also take sun cream.

Insect repellent

If you’re preparing to visit the wilderness areas of the Congo Basin, remember to bring insect repellent containing DEET, the most effective for wetlands.


To get the most out of your safari experience, we strongly recommend that you bring a pair of binoculars. Remote areas are full of details, and binoculars will allow you to observe animals without frightening them or disturbing them in their natural habitats. A pair of binoculars will also allow you to continue exploring even during the cruise, as you’ll be able to observe the shores and contemplate the richness of the rainforest from the deck of the ship.

Night-vision binoculars are always a plus on a wilderness expedition.

Camera equipment

A Congo Safari cruise is an opportunity to discover the flora and fauna of the Congo Basin. To immortalize these timeless moments, it’s advisable to take a camera with you, in addition to your connected objects, to ensure the best possible photo quality. We recommend a camera with a minimum 200mm lens.


For the expedition, please bring a torch, preferably a headlamp. Even at night, the exploration continues, providing an opportunity to discover a different type of fauna, or simply to go out on deck to observe the stars without light pollution.

Books or board games

The setting of the cruise promises to be one of disconnection and relaxation, all immersed in the setting of the Congo Basin. During the cruise, you’ll also have time to relax. It’s a good idea to bring along something to keep you entertained, such as books, for your moments of rest during the cruise.


The Hippopotamus, a semi-aquatic mammal

The common hippopotamus, or Hippopotamus amphibius for short, is a semi-aquatic mammal found in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. It can be distinguished from its counterpart Hexaprotodon liberiensis, commonly known as the dwarf hippopotamus, due to its smaller size.

The common hippopotamus, the more emblematic of the two, is one of the largest land mammals, alongside rhinoceroses and elephants. An adult male can measure between 3 and 5 metres and weigh up to 3,200 kilos. The name Hippopotamus, which translates as “river horse” in Greek, is a reminder of the special lifestyle this mammal has adopted. It spends most of its days lounging passively in the water, only coming ashore at nightfall to feed.

As it is unable to submerge completely, evolution has given the Hippopotamus a special morphology that enables it to keep its sense organs out of the water while the rest of its body is underwater. This particularity also enables it to remain on the alert for the various threats hanging over these wild lands. In addition, it secretes an oily substance that protects the parts of its body exposed to the sun. This reddish-pink protective oil has also contributed greatly to the animal’s popularity.

How does a Hippopotamus behave?

Although popular culture has given it a rather childlike and weary appearance, the Hippopotamus is in reality a ferocious and very territorial animal. This aspect, often forgotten by Westerners, generally leads to a difficult cohabitation between the Hippopotamus and the local people of Africa. Although highly gregarious during the day, the hippopotamus quickly becomes a solitary animal when night falls, making it much harder to keep an eye on, and the agricultural fields pay a high price. In fact, this enormous mammal is often the cause of a great deal of destruction during its nocturnal feeding bouts.

During the day, the animal settles down and forms groups of between 2 and 150 individuals. In society, male hippopotamuses do not try to attract females, or at least not directly. The two individuals are attracted through an intermediary, their territory.

The male, who is very dominant, takes care of finding a comfortable habitat and defending it from various predators. It is this same territory which, depending on its quality, will have an attractive effect on the females of the species.

The female looks after the young, accompanying them to feed at night when the herds separate. However, the young hippos can quickly become a threat to the adult males in the herd during the breeding season, when intra-herd clashes over leadership can occur.

Hippopotamus: an endangered species?

According to scientific studies, hippopotamus populations are declining in more than half the countries where the species occurs. The number of individuals is currently estimated at around 120,000. This sudden disappearance is closely linked to the large-scale poaching of the species. The ivory in its gigantic teeth and the animal’s meat are a rare commodity that fuels both the legal and illegal trade. In addition, the significant development of human activities in areas where the hippopotamus lives has led to an increase in encounters between humans and animals.

What solution is provided?

In response, many African countries have asked for the Hippopotamus to be added to the list of the world’s most endangered animals. This would give the species the highest level of protection under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). But this protection would also make it possible to combat the illegal trade that threatens the species.

The Hippopotamus is already listed as an Appendix II species, which means that they are not in danger of extinction, but could become so in the next few years if their plight does not improve.

Finally, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has already classified the species as vulnerable on its red list.

What role do hippos play in dispersing seeds and regenerating aquatic plants?

Like many other African species, the hippopotamus contributes in its own way to the balance of the ecosystem around it. Through its faeces, the hippopotamus encourages the flow of silicon into lakes and rivers. This mineral is no less vital for certain terrestrial and aquatic organisms (algae, diatoms, water sponges) than it is for climate balance. Indirectly, through plants, silica controls part of the carbon cycle and therefore certain carbon sinks.

how does it happen?

This distribution of silicon by hippopotamuses is easily explained by their lifestyle. They feed at night on dry land before returning to the water during the day, where they excrete their faeces. According to research, their faeces modulate up to 76% of the total flow of silicon, thereby promoting the development of the food web and carbon fixation.

Their presence is therefore essential to the survival of many plants and microplankton in Africa.

How do hippos communicate?

Ethnological studies in recent years have revealed some interesting facts about how hippos communicate.

Hippos use voice recognition to manage their group relationships.

The sound frequencies they emit tell them whether the animal in front of them is a stranger or not.

The animal responds in various ways. An approach, a cry or even a jet of excrement can be emitted in response to an animal’s call.

Throwing excrement allows them to mark their territory, as many animals would do.

Although the Hippopotamus appears to be idle during the day, it is actually when it is lurking in the water that it pays the most attention to its environment and the individuals in it.

Even more surprisingly, voice recognition also enables hippos to distinguish between their fellow hippos and the groups to which they belong. In this way, it could determine whether a hippopotamus on the riverbank belonged to a rival clan or to its own group.

Where can I see hippos in Congo Brazzaville?

The great efforts made by certain African countries to protect the hippopotamus have led to the creation of numerous reserves where the animal can be observed.

The Lefini reserve in the Republic of Congo and the Nouabalé-Ndoki national park are natural sites protected by the government where Hippos can be observed in their natural state.

During the safari cruises offered by Expéditions Ducret, it is possible to observe hippos in many places along the Congo or Sangha rivers.

What place do hippopotamuses occupy in African culture?

Given its age-old presence on African soil, the hippopotamus has been given a place in the continent’s stories and myths. These traditions, which are largely passed down through stories and tales, have given the animal a divine place.

It is the female animal in particular that has been given this honorary title. In African mythology, she was known as Tawaret, the goddess of fertility and childbirth in ancient Egypt.

This legend dates back to ancient Egypt. Tawaret, or Taouret as it is pronounced, meaning “the great one”, is a hippopotamus goddess standing on her lion-like hind legs and holding a hieroglyphic sign meaning “protection” in her human hands.

This hybrid appearance, a cross between different animals and humans, is intended to symbolise several aspects, such as fertility, but also the ferocity of a mother defending her son.

The obsidian knife that accompanies it in some of these representations symbolises fertility. The obsidian knife was once used to cut the umbilical cord.

Finally, its reddish-brown skin colour is thought to represent women’s menstruation.

Sailing on the Congo river, a unique experience

Discovering the Congo River

The Congo River is a Central African river that flows through the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Angola. With a length of 4,500 km, it is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile, and the second largest in the world in flow after the Amazon. It is also the deepest river in the world, at over 220m in some places. This imposing river serves as the natural border between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Congo.

The river takes its name from the Congo region. Now the region is divided into 2 countries (Congo Brazzaville and Congo Kinshasa), of which it is the natural border. The Portuguese were the first to refer to the river as Zaire, which means river. This name was later used to name the current Democratic Republic of Congo under President Mobutu. In 1997, the name of the DRC and the river were changed back to Congo.

The course of the Congo is segmented by alternating rapids, waterfalls and slack water. Its course initially runs northwards, then from the town of Kisangani in the DRC, westwards and south-westwards from the town of Mbandaka. The Congo River floods twice a year. The first flood is in September and October, when the rains fall north of the equator. The second flood is in March and April, when the tributaries south of the equator rise. Its reddish-brown color is due to the large amount of organic matter present in its waters.

Where is the Congo River located?

The Congo River rises in the Katanga region, in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. From its source to Kisangani, the upper reaches of the Congo River (Upper Congo) are known as the Lualaba. It then becomes the Congo (Middle Congo) and flows through the equatorial forest to Pool Malebo. This stretch of the river, which is almost 1,740 km long and free of obstacles, is used as a shipping route and as a link between towns. With its many tributaries. The main ones being the Oubangui, the Sangha and the Kwa-Kasaï, the Congo River gains in depth and power.

Between the Republic of Congo and the DRC, it widens to form the Pool Malebo, on whose banks the capitals of the two Congo are located : Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) and Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo). Finally, downstream, after passing the Livingstone Falls, the river widens before flowing into the Atlantic. The river form an 80-kilometre-long estuary.

An unique ecosystem in the world

The Congo River plays a major role in the Central African ecosystem, flora and fauna largely dependent on it. Hundreds of species live together in this rich basin of biodiversity. The waters of the Congo River are home to a wide variety of fish species, as well as crocodiles and turtles. The riverbanks provide an ideal habitat for primates and birds.

The flora is also rich, with many tropical plant species and aquatic plants, including water hyacinth, water lilies and aquatic ferns.

The heart of economic and social life

As well as being a source of food for neighboring ethnic groups, the Congo River is an essential artery of communication and transport. The various ethnic groups in the region, including the ancient Bantus, already used it to travel and transport goods. The Congo River is therefore of economic importance to the regions along its banks, which are still poorly served by land routes. Congo river is used to transport goods by barge, mainly manioc, maize, groundnuts, palm oil and smoked fish.

Adapted boats

The river bed is highly irregular, with sandbanks creating a wide range of depths. So flat-bottomed boats are excellent for easy, year-round navigation. They are easy to fit out and suitable for navigation in shallow water, and are very stable in calm water. The characteristics of the Congo River make them the most widely used boats in the region for trade of all kinds.

Navigation on the Congo River

Congo River is navigable in sections because of its waterfalls and rapids. The river is subject to navigation rules and regular maintenance. These tasks are divided between Congo Brazzaville and the DRC.

The care, conservation and development of the waterways are entrusted to the Joint waterways maintenance service in the Republic of Congo and to the Riverways Direction in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The aim of river maintenance is to make navigation safer and more efficient. This is why the river is developed through buoyage (to make navigation safer by marking navigable passages). But also dredging (to maintain the channel by deepening or widening it but also to widen and deepen rocky corridors). And finaly hydrographic studies (to develop reliable navigation routes)

The history of exploration

The mouth of the Congo River was first explored in 1484 by the Portuguese sailor Diego Cam. But waterfalls 200km upstream prevented the expedition from venturing any further. It was in the early 1800s that the river was explored in greater detail by a British expedition. These discoveries have led to more accurate mapping and a census of the river’s various tributaries. Finally, Henry Morton Stanley’s expedition concluded the exploration of the river. He made the discovery of Upper Congo and Lualaba.

The Congo and its tributaries

The Congo River is fed by numerous tributaries. They contribute to its flooding at different times of the year. In the Upper Congo, its upper reaches are joined by two main tributaries, the Loufira and the Louapoula. From the Middle Congo onwards, the tributaries are more important. Some of them being navigable for kilometers and forming part of the extensive navigation network of the Congo region. These tributaries, which join the Congo River, increase its size and flow considerably. Its three main tributaries are the Kwa-Kasaï, the Oubangui and the Sangha. Sangha river is navigable as far as Ouesso, and its banks are dotted with villages and alternating forest and savannah.

A vast majority of the Congo River’s tributaries join its bed before reaching the Pool Malebo. From where the Congo’s tributaries become rarer and less important.

Why is the Congo River unique in the world?

A safari cruise on the Congo River is an exceptional experience because :

– Its length of 4500km makes it the second longest river in Africa and the 8th longest in the world.

– It is the deepest river in the world, at over 220m in some places.

– After the Amazon, it is the second largest river in the world for its flow.

– Its history is intimately linked to the history of Central Africa. 

– It is the guarantor of an ecosystem that is unique in the world.

– As the natural border between the DRC and the Republic of Congo, it is the scene of Congolese life.

– It is a unique way to discover and immerse yourself in the scenery of the Congo forest.

The indigenous peoples of the Congo Basin

The forest people

Better known as “pygmies”, the forest peoples or indigenous peoples live in the forests of the Congo Basin. The term “pygmy” was first used at the end of the 19th century, when explorers began to penetrate the interior of the central African basin. Its origins lie in the ancient Greek word vipugmaîos, meaning “as high as a fist”. In anthropology, pygmy peoples are defined as ethnic groups whose average height is exceptionally low. The average adult male is less than 150 cm tall.

The indigenous peoples of the Congo : the first inhabitants?

Later, they were referred to by local names such as “Batwa, Bambuti, Babinga”, which were used as synonyms or contiguous for “Pygmies”. This last term, often considered pejorative, has now been replaced by the term “indigenous people”. This term has its roots in the struggle for the rights of the indigenous peoples of Latin America. There is also debate about who is and who is not indigenous in Africa. It refers to the category of “first occupiers”. But who was the first occupant is much more difficult to establish in Africa than in America. We know that tribes in Africa, before colonization, always migrated for different reasons. It is therefore difficult to qualify some of them as “first inhabitants”. In Congo Brazzaville, it is forbidden to use the term “Pygmy”. It is considered an insult and is punishable under the Penal Code.

Indigenous peoples : a multitude of different groups scattered throughout the Congo Basin

Indigenous peoples are often defined as the small, nomadic forest dwellers of the Congo Basin who live by hunting and gathering. In reality, these populations form a multitude of different groups scattered throughout the Congo Basin. The size of these groups varies from several tens of thousands (Baka, Aka, Mbuti…) to less than 500 (Bedzan). They generally live in close contact with other non-pygmy communities and share their language.

Residing in the forested areas of Central and West Africa, the indigenous peoples are still trying to preserve their hunting culture, which has existed for thousands of years. They currently number around 900,000 people, most of whom live in the Congo Basin. Small communities also exist in neighboring countries such as Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia.

A 5,000-year-old culture

For thousands of years, they have roamed the forests of Central Africa with bows, nets and assegais, hunting and gathering to feed themselves, moving their camps according to the hunting grounds.  With their neighbors, the Bantu farmers, they have a bartering relationship, exchanging game and the products of gathering for tools and necessities, before returning to live in autarky under the forest canopy.

They have a long and difficult relationship with their Bantu neighbors. Their balanced bartering relationship was broken during the colonial era at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, indigenous families often work for a Bantu, and pygmy labor is used to meet the growing demand for timber and bushmeat. The Bantu will then ship the bushmeat to the town.

Lifestyle of the indigenous peoples (Pygmies)

Their way of life lasted for centuries, since the resources of the equatorial forest were sufficiently abundant: they built huts from the foliage; hunting pangolin, duiker – a small antelope – monkey, wild boar, etc. provided them with a meat diet and wild plums called safou as well as wild mangoes and nuts embellished their daily lives. Their knowledge of plants enabled them to cope with disease. As a people with an oral tradition, dance and song have always accompanied their way of life.

Traditional life of indigenous peoples

Aboriginal peoples live in groups ranging in size from 15 to 70 people, depending on external factors – the availability of game, trade relations with outside communities, the prevalence of disease and the size of the forest area. These groups are traditionally nomadic, moving to new parts of the forest several times a year and carrying all their possessions on their backs. Their nomadic lifestyle allows the group to move according to the availability of resources. This approach, combined with low population densities and a lack of encroachment by outsiders, has historically allowed wildlife populations to recover after a group has abandoned an area.

A semi-nomadic people of the Congo

When indigenous peoples establish a temporary camp, they generally clear the undergrowth, small trees and saplings, leaving the canopy trees intact. Under the canopy, forest dwellers are protected from the intense tropical sun and maintain a habitat for honey-producing bees and game. By leaving the canopy intact, the area can quickly revert to a healthy, productive forest after they leave. Their huts superficially resemble the igloos of the Inuit of the central Arctic, with a domed lattice of saplings and walls of shingled tree leaves.

Close to Bantu villages

Most African forest dwellers traditionally spend a large part of the year near a village where they exchange bushmeat, honey and labour for cassava, vegetables, metal products and cloth. According to anthropologists who have studied the dynamics between forest peoples and villagers, it is common for a forest family to establish a symbiotic relationship with a sedentary village family. These relationships between a single forest family and a single village family can persist for generations.


The organization of pygmy societies

In indigenous societies, the roles of men and women are traditionally distinct. Women do most of the gathering, carrying baskets on their backs. Men concentrate on hunting and harvesting honey. Honey is often the most prized and sought-after forest product among the indigenous peoples. They climb up to 30 metres into the canopy to reach the hives containing honey. Once at the hive, the climbers burn wood to produce smoke that stuns the bees, allowing the honey to be harvested.

The role of hunting among pygmies

Indigenous peoples depend on hunting for their main source of protein. Each forest group has its own technique. For example, the Efe hunt their prey almost exclusively with bows and arrows. Others use a combination of bows, arrows and nets to capture their prey. The BaAka are perhaps the best-known net hunters. The BaAka men arrange them in a semi-circle to form a wall, up to a kilometer long. The BaAka women throw the game into the nets, where the men use spears to kill the animals.

While indigenous peoples have generally lived within the carrying capacity of the local ecosystem, the growing bushmeat trade is altering the sustainability of hunting practices. Demand for bushmeat is increasing in villages, urban centers and even foreign markets. African forest peoples are sometimes hired as trackers for elephant poachers.

Belief in the afterlife

While preserving their belief in animism in general, Pygmies believe that everything in nature has a spirit as well as a material existence, and that every object is controlled by a spirit.

As they believe in the afterlife and the spirits of their ancestors everywhere, they hide their dead in tree bark or caves. It is also possible to find Muslims and Christians among the Pygmies who have come into contact with settled life in recent years.

The future of indigenous peoples

Internal migration, logging, the depletion of resources due to over-hunting, and confrontation with the modern world have led to a deterioration of the traditional habitat and a change in mentality. These rapid changes are leading to a rapid erosion of the indigenous peoples culture, making it difficult for them to adapt and redefining their future.

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Top 10 of the best things to see on a safari in the Congo

Safari in Congo: The 10 best things to see

A safari in the Congo means experiencing the country’s unique atmosphere. Between the hustle and bustle of Brazzaville and the unreal calm of the Sangha forest, a change of scenery is guaranteed. Each region has its share of entertainment and attractions, while offering a wide variety of landscapes. So here are the top 10 things to see on a Congo Safari.

1 - Brazzaville, a sensational city

Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of Congo, situated on the right bank of the Congo River. Unmissable and emblematic, Brazzaville is a colorful and verdant city, the ideal starting point for a Congo Safari. It stretches over 10 kilometers and faces its big sister Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Brazzaville is a bustling city, but not one that attracts many tourists, which is what makes it so authentic. The city of Brazzaville alone offers an interesting range of possibilities, with its museums, picturesque markets, old quarters and ceramics and sculpture workshops. Among the many monuments and tourist attractions you can discover are the Basilica of Sainte-Anne du Congo, the Sacré-Coeur cathedral, the Poto-Poto painting school, the sculpture and ceramics workshops scattered around the city, as well as the markets and old quarters. The Mungali Bakongo and Poto Poto districts are particularly lively, and will immerse you in the Congolese atmosphere from the moment you arrive.

2 - A remarkable environment : the Congo Basin

The Congo Basin is one of the largest expanses of equatorial forest in the world. An essential site for a Congo Safari, it stretches over six countries and is considered to be the planet’s second green lung after the Amazon forest. For over 50,000 years, the Congo Basin has played a major role in the region, providing vital resources for almost 75 million people.

The trinational Sangha site is located in the north-east of the Congo Basin and straddles three countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo. It comprises three national parks covering an area of 750,000 hectares. The special feature of this site is its high level of conservation, which has enabled it to preserve a pristine, untouched natural environment that promises an enchanting experience on a Congo Safari.

For example, the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park is located in Congo-Brazzaville, north of Ouesso, and forms part of the Trinational Sangha site with the Dzanga Sangha Park in the Central African Republic and the Lobéké Park in Cameroon. At the heart of the Nouabalé-Ndoki park lies Mbeli Baï, a veritable haven of peace. This 13-hectare marshy clearing is home to populations of elephants, buffalo and gorillas, as well as thousands of birds.

3 - Meeting the people of the Congo

A safari in the Congo is also an opportunity to immerse yourself in Congolese culture and traditions.

The Congo is home to a myriad of different peoples, depending on the region. In the northern forests, indigenous populations such as the BaAka pygmies still inhabit the Congo Basin forest. Although no systematic census has yet been carried out, in 1984 it was estimated that they represented around 2.29% of the population. The indigenous peoples of the Congo Basin region have lived in the primary forests for thousands of years. The pygmies are one of the last indigenous populations of this African forest. With forest exploitation and modernization, their cultures and traditions are threatened with extinction. Once semi-nomadic, many of these communities have now become sedentary.

4 – A unique flora

A safari in Congo Brazzaville is also an opportunity to discover some unusual flora. The Congo Forest, also known as the Congo Basin Forest, is characteristic of a forest in its purest state, untouched by any trace of human activity. Covering 180 million hectares in six Central African countries, it is home to a number of emblematic plant and animal species.

Its humid tropical climate, with an average maximum temperature of 30°C and minimum of 21°C and abundant annual rainfall, makes it a region where vegetation is extremely prolific.

This forest is of great importance as it provides a large quantity of goods and services, and its value to the economy is undeniable, both as a source of primary materials and as a climate regulator.

Threatened by human construction, poaching and deforestation, it is a vulnerable region. That’s why preserving the forests of the Congo Basin is essential, vital even, for the future and the ecological balance of Africa and the world.

5 – An Emblematic African wildlife

The wildlife of Congo Brazzaville is extremely varied, particularly in the forest where the environment has remained very wild. The area is home to common and widespread species as well as much rarer species, some of which are even endangered.

On a Congo Safari, you can see African elephants, chimpanzees, bongos, lowland gorillas, okapis, bonobos, buffalo, hippos, fish, crocodiles, hundreds of different species of birds and much more. All these species live together in a great diversity of wildlife, preserved thanks to its many ecosystems (Baï, forest, savannah).

6 - The Congo River and the Sangha River

Congo Brazzaville is also rich in rivers, starting with the Congo River. At 4,700 km (2,922 miles) long, it is the second longest river in Africa after the Nile, and the 8th longest in the world. It rises in the highlands of the Democratic Republic of Congo and flows through three countries before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. It is this river and its many tributaries that feed the world’s second largest tropical rainforest.

The Livingstone Falls in the DRC prevent navigation on the river from the sea. But the river remains navigable in sections, and in particular between Kinshasa and Kisangani, which represents a navigable corridor of 2,495 km, ideal for exploring on a safari or cruise. Much of Central Africa’s trade flows via the river and the surrounding railways.

The river provides running water and food for the people living along its banks on a daily basis. With its large flow, the river is also a source of hydroelectric power, exploited by a number of dams.

The Sangha River is 790 km long. It rises in Cameroon and flows into the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo. Easily navigable, the river flows through the forest of the Congo Basin, and its banks can be explored on the Expéditions Ducret cruises from Brazzaville to Ouesso.

7 - Dive into the immensity of the Loufoulakari Falls

Loufoulakari and Bela are waterfalls located in the south-west of the country, 75km south of Brazzaville. They are the most impressive waterfalls in the country and offer a beautiful view of the Congolese rainforest. An exceptional landscape, the falls are 291m above sea level. In a grandiose setting, the power of nature is revealed in a pool of greenery.

8 - Discover the breathtaking scenery of the Gorge de Diosso

Also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Congo”. An ideal stop-off point on a Congo safari, this natural curiosity was carved out by the rains of the Atlantic coast. The gorge is decorated by rocky ridges and red rock cliffs up to 50 m high, overlooking a valley with abundant vegetation.

9 - The Atlantic coast

To the west, on the Atlantic coast, lies the country’s second city, Pointe-Noire, the economic capital. Its deep-water port and oil reserves have helped to make the city a center of entertainment, business opportunities, fashion and cultural exchange.

The wild coastline close to the city boasts a number of heavenly beaches that attract families, including the Pointe Indienne beach, an ideal day trip away from the city. The Atlantic coast offers waves that will delight surfers.

You can also spot migrating whales between July and September. The whales migrate from the Antarctic to the Gulf of Guinea in July to give birth and then return to the cool waters of the south until the end of September. It is also possible to observe turtles laying their eggs between September and April.

The waters of the region are extremely well-stocked with fish, and fishing enthusiasts will be delighted.

10 - The enigmatic Trou de Nguela

The Trou de Nguela, or God’s Hole, 80 kilometers from Brazzaville, is a large basin with steep slopes covered in grass and shrubs, with a small relief in the center. While the reasons for this atypical formation remain a mystery, the landscape remains a unique and atypical place and is home to a ‘sacred’ site for pilgrims.