October 2014 – Wilderness Collection is thrilled that Republic of Congo (Congo – Brazzaville) has been listed as the sixth top country for travellers to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel collection, which features the world’s top trending destinations and experiences for 2015.
“Our confidence in Republic of Congo’s incredible ecotourism offering, along with a commitment to contributing to gorilla conservation in a meaningful way, is what guided our decision to open the only two camps in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. It is therefore extremely exciting that the world is recognising the country’s true potential, particularly in terms of attracting a niche market of travellers who are seeking a responsible, and completely off-the-beaten-track, adventurous experience”, says Wilderness Collection’s Bruce Simpson.
Lonely Planet says Congo is on the cusp of a new era: “It’s got oil, it’s got timber, it’s got rapidly expanding infrastructure... But more than anything else, the Congo, with its stash of national parks and other protected areas covering enormous swathes of barely touched rainforest filled with the calls of great apes and lumbering elephants, has the potential to become one of Africa’s finest ecotourism destinations”.
Odzala-Kokoua National Park is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, covering 13 600 square kilometres of remote and unspoilt rainforest. This vast area is home to a high number of Africa’s densest population of the Critically Endangered western lowland gorilla and significant numbers of forest elephant, along with a wide diversity of other unique fauna and flora.
Committed to the company’s 4Cs philosophy (Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture), Odzala Wilderness Camps, comprising Ngaga and Lango Camps, hopes to raise global awareness about the increasing threats facing the world’s rainforests and to curb the unsustainable exploitation of logging, mining and poaching. By demonstrating the value of the rainforest and its wildlife to globally caring guests and offering a high-end ecotourism experience that benefits the local people, Odzala is playing a critical role in the ongoing conservation of rainforests worldwide.
This exciting and unique destination offers adventurous travellers the rare opportunity to explore a thriving rainforest ecosystem and to experience the thrill of observing one of our closest relatives in the wild. Tracking habituated gorilla groups, boating on rivers and streams, exploring the savannah, walks along forest paths, and time spent at the productive forest bais (open areas) shape this spectacularly diverse 6-night/7-day wilderness experience.
“We believe it is our responsibility to extend the successful savannah ecotourism model to less protected ecosystems in Africa. We want this to be successful to the point that other operators follow us into new biomes and habitats, so that other highly threatened African ecosystems have a chance of attracting ecotourism business, dramatically enhancing their chances of survival”, adds Bruce.
Click here for Lonely Planet’s Top 10 List.