Tailor-Made Holiday

Dzanga-Sangha Extension from Odzala

5 days

from £4,595pp (excluding flights)

Combine Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve with Odzala National Park, thanks to new flight and boat connections. Staying at Sangha Lodge, visit the incomparable Dzanga Bai, venture into the forest with the Ba'Aka and meet pangolin researchers. 

  • Journey up the Sangha River, travelling deep into the Congo Basin
  • Watch forest elephants dig for salt-rich soil in Dzanga Bai
  • Join the Ba'Aka - the traditional inhabitants of this dense forest - on foot
  • Add on a lowland gorilla or habituated mangabey trek

This trip is not designed as a standalone experience, but rather as an extension that complements time in Odzala National Park. For example, it fits perfectly with our Congo - Western Lowland Gorilla Trekking holiday idea. Both of these trips can easily be extended or tailored, within the confines of what logistics allow.

Dzanga-Sangha

The highlight of any visit to Dzanga-Sangha is undoubtedly time spent at Dzanga Bai - renowned as one of the largest and most active bais in the Congo Basin. This ancient bai - or forest clearing - is visited by a number of jungle species, including forest buffalos, sitatunga, red river hogs, bongos and western lowland gorillas.

But it is forest elephants for which the bai is most famous. The soil, rich in mineral salts, attracts them in significant numbers, making Dzanga Bai one of the best places to spot forest elephants in Central Africa. A research platform (with a thatched roof) faces the bai, perfectly placed for you to sit and wait for the wildlife to come. If you're lucky, you will get a chance to meet researcher Andrea Turkalo, who has dedicated her life to monitoring these threatened elephants.

Time in Dzanga-Sangha also offers the chance to spend time with Ba'Aka people, who are the original inhabitants of Central Africa's forests. Surviving in hunter-gatherer communities, their lifestyle has changed little over the past few millennia. Joining them on a hunt and exploring the forest with them is a privilege and a chance to learn about their way of life, which is - sadly - fast disappearing.

Gorilla and Mangabey Trekking 

This five-day extension makes the most of the limited time, focussing on the bai, the Ba'Aka and the forest. However, it is also possible to trek for either western lowland gorillas or agile mangabeys. A further three days can easily be added to include these activities, and still tie in with the scheduled flights. Or we can look at replacing one of the forest walks with a gorilla or mangabey trek. Time at Sangha Lodge is flexible, so it can be tailored to fit your interests.

 

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 4595 -

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly from Odzala to Kabo


After six (or more) nights in Odzala National Park, depart by charter flight at 09:00. Land at Kabo Airstrip, beside the Sangha River, at 09:40.

Travel by boat to Sangha Lodge


Then drive to waiting boats and begin a journey up river, into CAR. This trip takes between four and six hours, clearing customs en route at Bayanga. Arrive at Sangha Lodge in the afternoon.


You will be staying at Sangha Lodge, full board

Day 2

Day at Dzanga Bai
Drive for around 90 minutes, before walking for another 30 minutes until you reach the research platform that overlooks Dzanga Bai. Spend the whole day here, with a packed lunch provided.

This spectacular viewing deck is perfect for observation of the timid forest elephants in the wild - an experience usually reserved to a limited circle of researchers. From the specially built wooden platforms observe the elephants as they venture out of the forest to feed on the mineral rich soil, where they fight, play and occasionally mate in herds of up to 100 elephants. This is all set against a backdrop of lush forests and flame trees, where hundred-strong flocks of African grey parrots take flight.

Also look out for other visitors to the bai, including forest buffalos and the elusive bongo - one of the largest antelopes to be found in Africa's rainforests, highly sought after by trophy hunters because of its beautifully shaped horns.


You will be staying at Sangha Lodge, full board

Day 3

Morning Forest Walk with Ba'Aka
Threatened by the modern world and an unsympathetic government, the Ba'Aka people are fast disappearing. The Ba'Aka people are traditional hunter-gatherers and hunting with nets is a collective activity. This is an opportunity to join the large group of men and women, to whom subsistence hunting is a way of life.

Normally each family will bring with them their own long nets, made from strips of liana bark and you join the group as they depart on the hunt, with each departure preceded by joyous singing and haunting melodies. The spoils of the catch goes to whoever's net actually captures the animals, before the remainder of the meat is shared out amongst the group.

Along the way, the Ba'Aka will also guide through the forest in search of shy forest duikers, mangabey monkeys and raucous hornbills, pointing out the medicinal use of many of the plants found in the forest en-route. This is a fascinating and privileged insight into a remote and untouched culture.


Afternoon with Pangolin Researchers
Meet the pangolin researchers and protectors, who are doing vital work to help conserve this heavily trafficked animal. There are three species of pangolins that survive in Dzanga-Sangha - long-tailed pangolins, tree pangolins and giant pangolins. In the evening, take a night walk in the forest in search of nocturnal creatures, including pangolins.


You will be staying at Sangha Lodge, full board

Day 4

Forest Walk and Hike to Waterfalls
After a short boat trip along the river, take a forest walk through the Valley of the Giants. As the name suggests, this beautiful valley is filled with some of the tallest trees in the Congo Basin; walk amongst their ancient trunks with the canopy high above.

Following a picnic lunch in the forest, hike to a spectacular set of waterfalls. Alternatively, you can return to the lodge for lunch and take a guided forest walk in the afternoon.


You will be staying at Sangha Lodge, full board

Day 5

Travel by boat back to Kabo


Retrace your journey to Kabo, again travelling by boat on the Sangha River.

Fly from Kabo to Odzala


Fly back to Odzala. A minimum of one night is needed in Odzala before you can fly on to Brazzaville and depart.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Sangha Lodge

Sangha Lodge

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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