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Republic of the Congo Wildlife

The Republic of Congo is widely known as the world’s leading destination for lowland gorillas and wild chimpanzees, which are usually found in the thick areas of rainforest that comprise the second largest swathe of tropical rainforest in the world, one of Africa’s most undiscovered destinations.

Odzala National Park in the central north of the Congo is an ecotourism paradise with an exceptional diversity of plants and wildlife to enthrall; here you can encounter lowland gorillas, monkeys, elephants, Grimm's duiker, spotted hyenas, lions, buffaloes, bongos, leopards and other forest mammal species as well as many bird species. Nouabale-Ndoki National Park is another of the Congo’s highlights. Nestled in the far north of the country this uninhabited and pristine rainforest is an equally diverse place. In Mbeli Bai you will see an array of wildlife at close range, including lowland gorillas, forest elephants, crocodiles and buffalo.

Western Lowland Gorillas

High on many people’s lists when on wildlife safari to Congo are the gorillas, and one of the best places to do this is the Ouesso district in the Sangha Region. The Wildlife Conservation Society suggests that there are around 125,000 Western Lowland Gorillas in the region. Expertise and experience are vital when venturing into these unpopulated areas as they can be challenging to access.

The smallest of the gorilla subspecies, the male western lowland gorilla weighs up to 160 kilos whilst the females are about half the size. Distinguished by their nose which has a continuous heart shaped ridge around its nostrils, shorter hair, and wider skull. Like most gorillas, the western lowland gorilla sleeps at night on the ground in nests constructed from branches and leaves. Compared to mountain gorillas, their group sizes are small, usually about 5 individuals, but they are not territorial and groups usually overlap home ranges. These gorillas have shorter, lighter and slightly reddish hair and are renowned for being notoriously more challenging to track and habituate due to their large home range and constant movement, when compared to their Eastern cousins.

Forest Elephants

Smaller than savanna elephants, forest elephants inhibit the dense forests. They have straighter tusks that point downward and more oval-shaped ears. Living in groups of up to 20, they forage on the grasses and leaves and their diet is dominated by fruit. They can be referred to as the “mega-gardener of the forest” as they play an important role in dispersing various tree species.

African Forest Buffalo

Found in the northern and central regions of the Republic of Congo, particularly in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, the African forest buffalo is smaller than the savannah buffalo and has a shorter thicker horn. Their darker and shaggier coat keeps them warmer in the cool forest and they feed on grasses, leaves and fruits. They are social animals and can live in herds of up to a few hundred, being more active in the early mornings and late afternoons and resting in the shade in the hot parts of the day.

ROC Sl Nws Lango Bai Republic Of Congo Credit Andrew James