Congo Safaris

Exploring Odzala National Park

Mysterious, wild and scarred by their turbulent histories, the Congos are proving increasingly irresistible for travellers seeking real adventure

Confusingly there are two Congos: The Democratic Republic of Congo aka 'The DRC'; and the Republic of Congo aka 'Congo-Brazzaville'

THE DRC is the size of Western Europe, stretching from the Atlantic to Lake Tanganyika and lying largely south of the eponymous river. Politically volatile, it's a veritable wildlife cornucopia with iconic endemics such as bonobo, Grauer's Gorilla, okapi and Congo Peacock all surviving in the planet's second largest rainforest.

Virunga is Africa's oldest and most diverse national park and undoubtebly one of the finest in the world.

Congo-Brazzaville lies entirely north of the Congo River and is approximately a seventh of the size of its sourthern neighbour. A former French colony it is relatively wealthy, orderly and untroubled. 

Congo-Brazzaville is sparsely populated with 4 million people living in an area the size of Germany - further 65% of the people live in either Brazzaville, the capital, or Pointe-Noire, the main port - leaving the extensive northern rainforest incredibly pristine.

The gem of these forests is Odzala National Park, the top spot to see Western Lowland Gorilla along with a host of lowland rainforest mammals, notably: Forest Elephant, Forest Buffalo, Lowland Bongo and dozens of primates and duikers.

Odzala offers unparalleled access to the great central African rainforest which every serious safari afficiando should endeavour to visit at least once. A great deal more comfortable, varied and productive than most people will envisage, having experienced it there's ever chance you'll yearn to return.

Walking safaris a bit boring for you? Try a kayaking, mud-wading and buffalo-dodging rainforest trek in the Republic of Congo instead.”

- The Independent

Register your interest in The Congo

With a weekly scheduled charter from Brazzaville, getting in to the heart of the rainforest is surprisingly straightforward

The three camps within Odzala are equal to any in east and southern Africa

With an almost incongrous level of comfort it's to easy to forget that you are deep in the central African rainforest. The three camps are all managed by the same team but  wonderfully varied in terms of style, the ecosystems in which thet sit and the activities they offer.

Ngaga Camp is all about gorillas, with the opportunity to both track them and spend time with the researchers studying them. Mboko Camp is in savannah country with easy access to a navigable river while Lango Camp is set on an active bai in to which you can wade if you wish.

A week in Odzala split between these locations will leave you with a profound understanding of life in the rainforest.

When to visit Odzala National Park

A visit to Odzala is possible at any time of year. June through September are the driest periods but it can be relatively hazy which may challenge photographers. Importantly, should you suffer from the heat the hmidity is lower at this time - although do note that it can still rain, the park receiving a whopping metre-and-a half of ranfall annually. During the wetter months, tropical downpours break-up sustained periods of clear blue skies, often accompanied by sublime light.    

Talk to Rod to find out more   

Sample Trip

Gorilla Trekking in Virunga National Park


Track western lowland gorillas; Encounter forest elephant and buffalo, many monkeys and a multitudinous rainforest bird species

Find out more


- Dian Fossey

While heading to Odzala is certainly a very different proposition to a classic East or Southern African safari, aspects of it are pleasingly familiar

The only savannah species occuring here is Spotted Hyena which, in the absence of lions, is the alpha predator. However both forest elephant and buffalo are approachable and exceedingly photogenic. Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Guereza Colobus and several monkey species are frequently sighted. Chimpanzees are present but not habituated so more often heard, pant-hooting, than seen. Among the more obscure mammals are Lord Derby's Anomalure and Potto

Viewing animals and birds in tropical forests anywhere in the world can be challenging. The dense foliage and slow-going through the vegetation means that a good guide with a proper understanding of behaviour and calls is essential to get the best sightings.

Although you are likely to see many less species of mammals than you would on a classic safari, almost everything that you do see will be new. And the variety of species as compared to a Mountain Gorilla excursion is many times higher.

Part of the attraction of Odzala is that you are unlikely to encounter many other visitors and those you do are likely to have a heightened sense of adventure, although surprisingly perhaps it is not particularly onerous to get to.

Talk to Rod about gorilla trekking
1 / 2




2 / 2



Africa's oldest and one of the most diverse on the continent

Find out more



Gorillas in the Congo

Uniquely The Congo has three sub-species of Gorillas within its National Parks - the Western Lowland, the Eastern Lowland and the Mountain Gorilla....
Read More



Gorilla Pilgrimage

The journey to meet some of planet Earth’s last Mountain Gorillas ought to have an element of pilgrimage to it These days scheduled flights can...
Read More

Take the first step

Tell us where you'd like to go...

Please sign me up for your newsletter
Please post me your brochure

Talk to us

+44 (0) 1747 830950

Our experienced travellers include:

Olly Williams
Olly Williams
Rod Tether
Rod Tether
Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.



"Excellent experience - again - from trip design through to execution. Excellent staff in Natural High but also on the trek."

Paul & Liz

Excellent Service

"Really enjoyed the holiday. Was exactly what we were looking for. Service from Natural High was perfect. Would definately recommend and use again."

Patrick and Carmel


"Vanessa from Natural High Safaris provided a very responsive,personal and bespoke service which in turn led to a perfect trip, that was without fault! From our pack mules all the way up to our guide, Oulaid, it was outstanding. We were guided through the most beautiful and remote countryside to camp sites with the most awesome views. Oulaid had really thought about our route and request to be off the beaten track. It was a delight that we did not see any tourist for the whole trek. Our team were professional,hospitable and friendly, delivery a very well prepared and comfortable camp each evening.The camp chef did an amazing job bearing in mind the remoteness of our location, conjuring up very tasty and varied meals each day. If I could book another trip tomorrow I would.Next year beckons!Well done all!!"


Sublime Garden Route

"Fantastic accommodation recommendations in small boutique hotels"

Ian And Jo Ashby CR

I will definitely plan an expedition with this company again.

"They promptly provided an itinerary in response to our desires. Feedback on the plan was well received. Closer to the time we were connected with our guides to further hone our trip. A group of 5 women, arriving from various destinations, camping and lodges in the desert with extraordinary guides. Yes, the cliche works here...a trip of a lifetime."