Arrival in Brazzaville in Republic of Congo in the afternoon. (Ethiopian airlines or Air France flight). Night in a 5 star hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
1 hour flight at the morning in a 19 seats jet, plus 5 hours drive to Ouesso . Through the portholes, we can see all the primary forest. Such view of one of the largest primary forest of the world will stay in our memory for always. Embarkment during the afternoon. Then we ascend the Sangha River, slaloming between the sandbanks with caution. The depth decreases. Conference about Congo Basin Ecosystem.
Immersion in the tri-national sangha. Situated in the north-western Congo Basin, where Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo meet, the site encompasses three contiguous national parks totalling around 750,000 ha. Much of the site is unaffected by human activity and features a wide range of humid tropical forest ecosystems with rich flora and fauna, including Nile crocodiles and goliath tigerfish, a large predator. Forest clearings support herbaceous species and Sangha is home to considerable populations of forest elephants, critically endangered western lowland gorilla, and endangered chimpanzee. To be as discreet as possible, our group will be divided into three subgroups.
Three groups of 10 people will explore the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. (Each group will carry out the excursions below but in a different order).
Departure in the morning to reach the Mondika scientific camp in the Djéké Triangle (1 hour by car, 2 hours on foot) in order to track, in groups of 4, groups of lowland gorillas followed by the scientists (3 groups habituated). On the trail, we can see mqny other animals. Accompanied by Baaka trackers, we follow the signs of the groups passing through. Arrived near them, we observe them about ten meters away, and they observe us. The young bicker, the females feed, others rest. The silverback is watching. The largest measure up to 1.70 meters. So as not to disturb them, after an hour we will leave, with images in our heads. In the evening, we will spend the night in the camp with the scientists and we will have plenty of time to ask countless questions. Night in a safari tent with bed, shower and individual dry toilets.
Departure at dawn for a 3-hour expedition to the Baï de Mbeli (40 mins by car, 1 hour by canoe, 40 mins walk). This clearing is the gathering place for hundreds of animals, attracted by the mineral-rich waters. We discover from the top of a watchtower used by scientists the breathtaking spectacle of fauna: lowland gorillas, forest elephants, chimpanzees, bush pigs, bongos, sitatungas and forest buffaloes. We will spend the morning there to observe the animals. The most adventurous could arrive the day before to spend a night on the platform.
We descend the Sangha River towards Pokola where we meet representatives of a forestry company, who explain to us the sustainable management of forests. At the end of the day, our ship reaches the Ndoki river, we observe hippos. Not far away, a pygmy village. Conference on pygmy populations facing modernity
In the morning, we go up a tributary of the Sangha for about fifteen kilometres, the Mangui. We follow the northern border of the Ntokou-Pikounda park. This place is frequented by an endemic species that was thought to be extinct, Bouvier’s red colobus, a small monkey with orange fur. Along the way, we observe birds.
We pass the village of Pikounda towards a pygmy village. The Pygmies are one of the two peoples living in this region. They are among the last groups of hunter-gatherers in the world. In the forest, in small groups, we share their daily life: harvesting plant products, collecting medicinal plants, fishing. We share their millennial way of life and discover their incredible symbiosis with the forest. Dinner and evening in a clearing. The pygmies are with us. They tell the stories of their people and the stories born during their time together. With the help of mimes and songs, the stories live and the evening is anchored forever in the memories. The oral tradition of the pygmies is one of the finest riches of this people.
We descend the Sangha River slaloming through green and impenetrable swamp forest. We are entering very sparsely populated and wildest territories. The sounds of the forest punctuate our progress. We meet fishermen, the Sangha-sangha people. We take the tributaries, either by canoe or by motorboat. It is said that in the distance a dinosaur was seen: the Mokele Mbembe. In the tropical forest, we discover the plants of pharmacology. With those who wish, we go fishing. During the day, we cross the equator. This is the baptism of the Line!
The Sangha River empties into the Congo. We reach the fishing village of Mossaka, known throughout the country for its smoked fish. We discover vestiges of the colonial era, with the colonial house of Mr. Trechot. We gradually leave the forest for hills covered with grass. Conference on the Savorgnan de Brazza expedition and the Stanley expedition.
The Congo River widens considerably (more than 10 km) and a hodgepodge of islands are formed. Fishing villages settle there during the dry season. At the end of the day, we reach the Lefini estuary which borders the Téké kingdom. Hippos bask.
In the morning, we discover the village of Ngabe, one of the ancient capitals of the Téké kingdom. We go up the village and will visit the current Queen Ngalifourou. In her capacity as guardian of the “Nkwembali”, spiritual god of the Batéké, she is the person authorized to transmit power to the new king, the Makoko. He is a very influential person in the Téké kingdom, one of the powerful kingdoms of the country. We attend a traditional Téké dance. We observe. Conference on the Téké kingdom and on the history of the Congo.
Arrival in Brazzaville. Disembarkment around 10am. Visit of the Plateau market (traditional objects and handicrafts), the artistic school of Poto Poto, the Congo Basin museum, meeting with La Sape – Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People. Departure in the evening.
Additional excursions for chartered cruises : up to 15 nights + 3 countries
+1 day between Day 10 and day 11 : Bonobos tracking in Tshumbiri in DRC.
The Bonobos are a DRC endemic and rare breed of chimpanzee. It is the animal genetically closest to humans, genotypes are 98.7% similar. Early in the morning, we leave the Houseboat, drive one hour and start walking at 5 am in the forest to attend to the awakening of the habituated Bonobos. We will return at the afternoon on the boat. (Visa for DRC required + multiple-entry visa for Congo Republic.)
+1 day between Day 5 and Day 6 : Dzanga Sangha NP (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in CAR.
Departure early in the morning by motorboat for 3 hours of ascending the Sangha, followed by 40 minutes by car and 40 minutes on foot. We reach Dzanga Baï, a clearing where one of the largest intact populations of forest elephants gathers, as well as bongos, forest buffaloes, forest hogs, bush pigs, sitatungas, six species of duikers and gorillas. From the top of a platform, we observe the wild life unfolding before our eyes. Along the way, we see monkeys, birds. In the evening, night in a lodge on the banks of the Sangha (Doli Lodge). No additional visa needed, we will obtain a Sangha Tri National pass.
+1 day between Day 5 and Day 6 : Lobéké National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Cameroun.
From Djembe Camp on the Sangha River, we walk 1:30 towards the clearing of Djembe in a group of 10 people for a daily excursion. Along the way, we observe animals and birds. Elephants, buffaloes and small monkeys are visible. Night on the boat. No additional visa needed, we will obtain a Sangha Tri National pass.