Republic of the Congo

“Showcasing the Gems of the Congo Basin”

An opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart of the Congo Basin rainforest –a biological hotspot of global importance and the world’s second biggest rainforest, surpassed only by the Amazon.

Republic of the Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville) is a former French colony on the western bank of the Congo River. What many do not realise, is that there are in fact two Congo’s. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo. Each having its own heritage, culture, rich natural kingdom and sense of place in time.

The Republic of Congo’s modern history began with the late 19th century explorations of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, after whom the capital is still named (Brazzaville). Republic of the Congo now plays a leading role in African affairs and is investing more of its oil wealth in development and infrastructure. The north west of the country lies within the rich tapestry of the Congo Basin with pristine biodiversity, and it is here where the low-impact tourism camps operate.

Odzala-Kokoua National Park, in the remote north-west of Republic of the Congo, is one of Africa’s oldest national parks established in 1935. It is a tapestry of pristine rainforests, savannahs, rivers and baïs (natural clearings) and plays an integral part of the Congo Basin – the lungs of Africa. Today  Ngaga CampLango Camp and Mboko Camp – are gaining fast traction with those who visit to experience one of the world’s last intact eco-systems; a haven for the Western Lowland Gorilla, Forest Elephant, Bongo and many more species of flora and fauna.

Fast Facts:

  • Also known as Congo-Brazzaville.
  • Former colony of France.
  • Captical city is Brazzaville.
  • Main language is French.
  • Population size in 2017 = 5 261 000
  • Borders with Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo & Gabon.
  • Local currency is the Central African Franc – XAF/CFA

Why we like it:

  • Safe! Not to be mistaken for the DRC.
  • Incredible encounters with Western Lowland Gorillas.
  • Off the beaten path for intrepid travellers.
  • High standards of guiding and accommodation.
  • Incredibly important ecotourism operation for conservation of the forests.

When to go:

Wet, Wetter. Wettest. These are the seasons of the rainforest, but they have dry days too! In the rainforest, rain is an essential part of the ecosystem and brings a cooling effect on balmy days. The big mammals do not migrate, and so they are in the area year-round. For this reason, any time of year is a wonderful time to explore Odzala.

A tropical climate characterised by relatively heavy precipitation, moderately high temperatures, and humidity. The eco-camps lie just north of the equator where the primary low-rainfall season extends from June through September, with a gentle-rain season from December through February. It starts to get hotter towards the end of March.

With temperatures rising steadily, the short heavy rains begin towards the end of April with high rainfall through May. As the temperature declines gradually, rainfall drops steadily and the long low-rainfall season settles in mid-June.

July is one of the least wet and coolest months. Temperatures stay fairly low right through August. Rainfall starts to increase again towards the middle of September and so does the temperature. September is usually the end of the low-rainfall season.

The heavy-rain season often begins in October, which can be one of the most variable months of the year. Temperatures are high but cool down a bit in November, which can also get very humid. This is the typical feel right through December when the rains start to simmer down.

When to visit Republic of the Congo

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Locations in Republic of the Congo

Odzala-Kokoua National Park

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Is the republic of Congo Safe?

Yes, Republic of the Congo (also known as Congo-Brazzaville), is very safe with nominal incidents of petty crime and very seldom-heard issues of a violent nature. It must not be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which is on the other side of the Congo River.

 

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How to get there and move around?

Odzala can be reached by air from Brazzaville. All international visitors to Odzala-Kokoua National Park are required first to visit Brazzaville to complete immigration and customs formalities. Clients are required to obtain a letter of invitation (LOI) well in advance of their travels to the Congo. We organize to assists guests with this important document.

From Brazzaville, scheduled 2-hour charter flights to the camps on Mondays and Thursdays offer a seat-in rate for guests and are the best option to reach the camps. These flights are included when one of the safari packages.

  • Monday & Thursday every week (Operating from Maya Maya airport to Mboko airstrip in Odzala and returning)
  • US$ 875 per person sharing per way (US$ 1750 return)
  • Flight to Odzala departs at 13:00pm on Mondays and Thursdays / Return flight to Brazzaville departs at 09:00am (2 hour flight).

Combing Odzala with Sangha Lodge in Central African Republic:

  • Wednesday & Sunday every week (Operating from Mboko airstrip to Kabo – with a 4+- Boat journey to Sangha Lodge and returning)
  • 30-minute flight from Mboko airstrip to Kabo
  • 4-6 hour boat journey on the Congo River to Sangha Lodge from Kabo airstrip

What Vaccinations/medical Certs are needed?

A yellow fever certificate is required for entry into the Republic of the Congo. However an additional medical declaration form will need to be completed and returned before arrival to camps for gorilla tracking. This entails a confirmation from a medical practitioner that you are fit, healthy, do not have symptoms of TB and that you have had your polio and measles vaccinations to ensure protection for the gorillas. We do not require any certificates as proof, only the declaration form signed by your doctor.

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Do I need a Visa?

Yes, you will need a visa to visit the Republic of the Congo. We will provide you with a letter of invitation, which you will present to the Embassy of the Congo nearest to you, or to the immigration authorities on arrival in Brazzaville. We advise you get your visa ahead of travelling; nevertheless, Visas on Arrival can be issued at the airport for clients given advance notice.

There are two ways to apply for a visa. We strongly recommend ROUTE 1 (most reliable), however if there is no Embassy or Consulate for Republic of the Congo near to you, please read ROUTE 2 (special arrangement only with the Congolese government for guests). A Letter of Invitation is required for both application routes (arranged with us). We cannot guarantee processing times for Letters of Invitation or visas, this process is managed by the Congolese government and is outside of our control.

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REQUIRED

  • Passport to be valid 6 months after arrival date.
  • International yellow fever vaccination certificate.
  • 2 printed copies of your Letter of Invitation (LOI) for visa application. (Keep additional copies in your luggage, as you must present a copy on arrival).
  • 2 signed Republic of the Congo visa request forms (country specific).
  • 2 passport photos in colour, white background.
  • 1 copy of return flight arrangements.

PROCESS

  • Contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate to enquire about their application process.
  • Have with you all the required documentation above.
  • 5 – 7 working days to process application once the documentation is complete (country specific).
  • Approximate visa fee: US$ 60 – US$ 200.
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REQUIRED

  • Please notify us if you require this type of visa when confirming your reservation.
  • Passport to be valid 6 months after arrival date.
  • International yellow fever vaccination certificate.
  • 2 printed copies of your Letter of Invitation (LOI) for visa application. (Keep additional copies in your luggage, as you must present a copy on arrival).
  • 2 copies of a Visa Assistance Letter.

PROCESS

  • For the full process, please enquire.
  • Travel with the above documentation in easy access.
  • At Maya Maya Airport (Brazzaville), you will need to fill in an immigration form and present your Yellow
  • Fever certificate. Let the officials know you are visiting Odzala Discovery Camps and require a Visa on Arrival.
  • Have your Letter of Invitation and Visa Assistance Letter ready. The officials will lead you through the process.

Visa fee: US$ 50 cash (2013 bills or later). No change will be available.

Tip

Although it certainly is more involved to travel here than other countries in Africa, the rewards are truly spectacular. We highly recommend a long stay to truly get immersed in the jungle. Please enquire with us for more detailed information!

Ready for an adventure? Lets Talk!

Contact safariFRANK to get started on your safari of a lifetime!