Western Africa is still a very remote area, and one of the places we had yet to explore. The Congo is a hidden gem and still within reach of only a few travellers with the soul of adventurers.
Brazzaville, one of the safest and most charming African capitals, gave us a warm welcome.
From the new airport in the capital, we departed on a private flight that took less than 2 hours to Odzala, a remote national park, home to an extensive variety of plant life and wildlife that form a truly unique ecosystem. The flight is an experience in itself, since it allows you to fly over the second largest forest in the world after the Amazon.
We divided our stay into two different areas, with unique activities in each of them, and which complement each other perfectly. In both places we enjoyed high level accommodation, warm and attentive service and exquisite cuisine.
First of all we visited the western lowland gorillas. The experience is magical, since the terrain is easier than the one that requires visiting its "relatives", the mountain gorillas, however the vegetation is thicker and finding the gorillas and having a good perspective of them requires patience sometimes. However, the reward far exceeds the effort.
We saw two groups of different gorillas, in the trees, on the ground, playing, feeding, staring into each other's eyes... Magical!
Gorillas are the greatest attraction, but the plant life, and the huge variety of insects and reptiles is overwhelming.
We also visited a small town, where the inhabitants received us without disguises, artifices or souvenirs, and with whom we shared a pleasant conversation, a laugh and even a mini football match.
We continued our adventure to discover the unique world of the "bais", a sort of lakes that give shelter and nourishment to buffalos, forest elephants, as well as to a species of antelopes that can only be found here.
We went on walking safaris, in a more traditional way, in silence to avoid being seen and to be able to get close to these animals, while the adrenaline levels skyrocketed. Witnessing a herd of elephants passing just a few meters away, while we crouched among the thick vegetation, is an absolutely unforgettable experience. We walked in the water, which sometimes got to our waist, discovering endless details at the hands of our passionate guides.
We completed the explorations by kayak and boat, following the course of the river, observing the incredible landscapes reflected in the calm waters. We even dared to swim in it!
Back in Brazzaville, we met and shared an unforgettable afternoon with one of the most fascinating communities in the continent, the Sapeur. These extravagant and elegant characters delighted us with their peculiar lifestyle.
The Congo may not be the ideal destination for a first visit to Africa, but it is a magical, special and unique place for expert travellers who will never forget their time in this incredible country.