The tropical forests of the Congo Basin comprise the world's largest rainforests after those of the Amazon Basin, the last of their kind on the planet and home to the majority of the world population of western lowland gorillas. This ultra remote area will see the opening of a new ecotourism venture in 2012, which can be visited with The Zambezi Safari and Travel Company (www.zambezi.com 01548 830059) for thrilling expeditions into untouched Africa.
The new six night itinerary will be split between two new six-tented eco camps currently being built in and near the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo, Lango and Ngaga, due to open in May 2012. Following a design philosophy of green, sustainable development and local community involvement, the process is being spearheaded by Wilderness Safaris, best known for their exemplary conservation credentials, high calibre of guiding and super stylish safari camps across southern Africa.
The tents will be raised off the ground and surrounded by raised decking to allow guests to immerse themselves in the forest canopy. Each camp will consist of six creatively designed guest rooms, taking inspiration from the designs of the local Pygmy or 'forest dweller' groups. Natural, locally sourced materials will be used extensively in the construction of the camps: sustainably harvested hardwoods (FSC certified), bamboo and raffia palm matting.
Guests will be able to track western lowland gorillas, one of humankind's closest relatives, as well as spot forest elephant, forest buffalo, bongo, sitatunga, red river hog, slender snouted crocodiles and other primate species. Western Lowland Gorillas can be observed in two different ways while in Odzala: either through tracking habituated groups using the impressive skills of expert local Mbeti trackers, or by patiently waiting at hides on the edge of forest bais for family groups to forage there. As a result of the work done by gorilla researchers, a number of habituated groups can be tracked and observed in the area around Ngaga Camp. In this extended 30km2 (11.5 square miles) area there are no fewer than seven groups totalling 105 individual gorillas.
Access will be by international flight into the Congo capital, Brazzaville, followed by a two-hour light aircraft transfer to MBoko Airstrip for Lango camp and then a two-hour drive to the Ndzehi area for Ngaga camp.
The Zambezi Safari and Travel Company has pioneered tourism into central Africa and is already offering bespoke tours into the Congo Basin. The new six-night trip costs from £4,750 per person including:
International flights from London to Brazzaville
Internal flights (Brazzaville to Lango Camp airstrip and return)
Ground transportation (M'boko airstrip to Lango Camp and return; Lango Camp to Ngaga Camp and return)
Accommodation on a full board basis: 3 nights Lango Camp, 3 nights Ngaga Camp OR 1 night Lango Camp, 2 nights Ngaga Camp
All local drinks (excludes premium alcoholic brands)
Laundry at camps
LANGO CAMP - guided walking/game drives/boat cruises/canoeing/park and forest visits
NGAGA CAMP - daily tracking of habituated gorilla groups/guided forest walks
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