15 NIGHTS SAFari cruise: The Great Ascent of the Congo and Sangha Rivers
- Visit 3 national parks
- 3 days in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) https://congo.wcs.org
- 1 day in Dzanga Sangha National Park in CAR (UNESCO World Heritage Site) https://dzanga-sangha.org/
- Visit to Lobéké National Park in Cameroon (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Bonobo tracking in the DRC
- Led by our naturalist guides, venture into the world’s richest terrestrial ecosystem
- An exceptionally rich and visible fauna in the clearings such as Gorillas, elephants, Buffalos, sitatungas, hippopotamus, pangolins, crocodiles and hundreds of birds
- A flora made up of more than 10,000 species of plants.
- Landscapes of great diversity: savannah, clearings, swamp forests and cathedral forests
- From lake peoples to traditional knowledge: the Sangha-Sangha ethnic groups and the Pygmy tribes
- Several excursions per day by tender boat or canoe
- The visit of Brazzaville and its sappers
- Conferences on board to enrich the trip
- Small groups to create links and not disturb ecosystems
- Environmentally friendly travel (recent engines with reduced emissions)
- A 4-star service
- Average temperature of 26°C, Tropical rain and sunshine daily.
- Regular tropical rains
- Time GMT+1
Atlantic Ocean – Pointe Noire
Day at sea for the observation and census of migrating humpback whales (from July to September) with the NGO Renatura Congo which works for the conservation of biodiversity
Observation of turtles – nesting period from October to February
- Fishing on the estuaries: Barracuda, Carangue, bass, Tarpons, Red carp
The great ascent of the Congo and Sangha rivers: 550 MILES FROM BRAZZAVILLE TO OUESSO
15 NIGHTS / 16 DAYS
3 National Parks, 4 countries (Republic of Congo, DRC, Cameroon and the Central African Republic)
Arrival in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo in the afternoon (flight of Air France or Ethiopian Airlines). We embark on the ship.
Briefing at the breakfast. The morning, we visit the City (Poto-Poto art school, Museum of Congo, cathedral). Navigation starts on the Congo river to Ngabe, one of the former capital of the Téké kingdom. We take advantage of the first miles to know our guides and discover the history of the Congo. We attend a conference on the history of the Congo.
In the morning, we reach 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. She is a very influential person in the Téké kingdom, one of the powerful kingdoms of the country. We attend a traditional Téké dance. At the end of the day, we reach the Lefini estuary which borders the Téké kingdom. Hippos bask. We observe. A conference on the Téké kingdom is held.
Bonobos tracking in Tshumbiri in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Bonobos are an endemic and rare breed of chimpanzee in the DRC. 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 return in the afternoon on the boat. (Visa for DRC required and multiple entry visa for Congo Republic)
The Congo River widens considerably (more than 10 km) and a group of islands is formed. Fishing villages settle there during the dry season. We reach the fishing village of Mossaka, known throughout the country for its smoked fish. We discover vestiges of the colonial era. We look for Monsieur Trechot’s house. We see a conference on the Savorgnan de Brazza expedition and the Stanley expedition. We go up the Sangha River zigzagging through the green and impenetrable swamp forest. We enter very sparsely populated and wildest territories. Sounds of the forest punctuate our progress. We meet some fishermen, the Sangha-Sangha people. We attend an interesting conference about Congo Basin Ecosystem.
We take tributaries, either by canoe or by motorboat. In the rainforest, we discover the plants of pharmacology: 1000 species of plants. With those who wish, we go fishing. During the day, we cross the equator. This is the baptism of the Line!
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 and fishing. We share their millennial way of life and discover their incredible symbiosis with the forest. We have dinner and spend the evening in a clearing. The Pygmies are with us. They tell the stories of their people and the stories born during their time with us. 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.
In the morning, we go up a tributary of the Sangha for about 15 kilometers, 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. At the end of the day, our ship reaches the Ndoki river, we observe hippos. Not far away is located a pygmy village. We learn more about them with the conference on pygmy populations in the face of modernity.
In Pokola, we discover the sustainable management of forests. Then we go up the Sangha river, slaloming between the sandbanks with caution. The depth decreases. Arrival in Bomassa, a village that marks the entrance to Nouabalé-Ndoki Park.
Immersion in the Sangha trinational. Listed as a World Heritage Site since 2012, it is situated in the north-western Congo Basin, where Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo meet. The site encompasses 3 contiguous national parks totaling 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, who are large predators. 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 9-10 people will explore the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park and the Dzanga Sangha 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 many 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. We spend the night in a safari tent with bed, shower and individual dry toilets.
- Departure at dawn for a 6-hour expedition to the Baï de Mbeli (40 mins by car, 1 hour by dugout 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.
- Dzanga Sangha NP 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, we spend the night in a lodge on the banks of the Sangha (Doli Lodge). No additional visa needed, we will obtain a Sangha trinational pass.
Departure in the afternoon. We navigate back to Ouesso.
Disembarkment early in the morning for a 5 hours drive following by one hour flight. We return by a 19 people private jet to Brazzaville. Through the portholes, we can see all the primary forest. Such view of one of the largest forest of the world will stay in our memory for always. We spend the afternoon in Brazzaville. We visit the Plateau market (traditional objects and handicrafts) and meet with La SAPE which means in English Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People. Lunch Box. Departure in the evening by Air France flght.
The daily program may change depending on the climate. Everything announced will be done but in a different order