Republic of the Congo

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Straddling the Equator, the Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Brazzaville) is located in the heart of the Congo Basin

Straddling the Equator, the Republic of the Congo (aka Congo-Brazzaville – not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is located in the heart of the Congo Basin, the world’s largest tropical rainforest region after the Amazon.

The country is bordered to the north by the Central African Republic, to the north-west by Cameroon, to the east and south by the DRC, to the south-west by the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, and to the west by Gabon.  Between Gabon and Cabinda there are 100 miles of wild Atlantic coastline.

Around 60% of the country is lowland tropical rainforests, home to a remarkably rich diversity of flora and fauna including western lowland gorilla, forest elephant, chimpanzee, various colobus monkeys and the bongo.

Facing the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, across the Congo River, Brazzaville is the country’s capital and the largest city in terms of population and employment. Pointe-Noire, on the Atlantic coast, is the Republic of Congo’s main port and second city, where Congolese oil is refined.

With one of the richest and most biologically important – yet least visited –forest ecosystems on the planet, a visit to the Republic of the Congo is a must for lovers of off-the-beaten track adventure and rare, endangered wildlife. By visiting pristine national parks such as Odzala, one contributes to their conservation and protection from unsustainable exploitation.


What To See

Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Odzala-Kokoua National Park was proclaimed by the French administration in 1935 making it one of the continent’s oldest national parks. It occupies 13,500 square kilometres within the second largest tropical rainforest of the world and is an integral part of both the Congo Basin and the TRIDOM Trans-frontier Park which overlaps Gabon, Congo and Cameroon.

The park boasts rich wildlife diversity with primary rainforest, forest galleries, swamp forests, pockets of savannah, and rivers and baies (pronounced the same as “buys”). These baies, or forest clearings, are distributed throughout the national park and are generally created by the presence of a water source. Many contain soils that are naturally rich in salts and minerals which attract wildlife, thereby providing excellent opportunities for clear, unobscured observation.

Odzala is home to 114 mammal species including over 20,000 western lowland gorillas, healthy populations of chimpanzees, and around 10,000 forest elephants. Odzala is also the only location in the greater TRIDOM area where spotted hyena can still be found.

The National Park harbours nearly 450 species of birds (including migrants and blow-ins), with more than 300 breeding species making Odzala one of Birdlife International’s Important Bird Areas. Notable species include abundant roosting populations of African grey parrots, plumed guineafowl, Hartlaub’s duck, Cassin’s malimbe, bare-cheeked trogon, blue malkoha, black-casqued wattled hornbill, black bee-eater, blue-throated roller, and many others.


Founded in 1880 by the Italian-French explorer Pierre de Savorgnan de Brazza, the Republic of the Congo’s capital city of three million inhabitants is dwarfed in size by neighbouring Kinshasa with its far larger population of 12 million, visible directly across the Congo River.

Brazzaville’s highlights include traditional craft markets and the mid-20th Century Basilica of St Anne with its green-tiled roof and spire.

Brazzaville has played an important role in Central Africa since the colonial period because of its geographical location. The Congo-Ocean railway has a stop there from where – because the Congo River is impassable downstream from the city – it transports goods to the port of Pointe-Noire on the coast.

Best Time To Visit Republic of the Congo

June to September, and mid-December to March are the driest periods. The air can be quite hazy at these times, with lower humidity, although rain showers are still possible. During the wetter months there is a mix of tropical rainstorms and sustained periods of clear blue skies providing beautiful light for photography.

Republic of the Congo Travel

Getting There

Flight Time

Approximately 11 hours via Paris and 14 hours via Addis Ababa.

Time Zone

GMT +1


French (official), Lingala, and Monokutuba plus many local languages and dialects.


4.8 million


Wildlife Holidays


Featured Places To Stay

Radisson Blu M’Bamou Palace Hotel

Occupies a privileged position overlooking the Congo River towards Kinshasa....

Mboko Camp

Ideally located inside Odzala-Kokoua National Park....

Ngaga Camp

Perched above a forest clearing surrounded by dense marantaceae forest....

Lango Camp

Located on a baie in the south-central part of Odzala-Kokoua National Park...


Destination Map

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Republic of the Congo: -4.269440, 15.271200

Your Very Own

Republic of the Congo Specialist

John Melton

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding travel to Republic of the Congo, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965