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Odzala & Dzangha Sangha deep Congo Basin rainforest journey 2022


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45 minutes ago, lmSA84 said:

@jeremie- first of all, thank you for sharing this incredible report! I have one quick question - do they offer any chimpanzee viewing in these areas? I noticed that they're present in the area but haven't seen any mention of habituated groups? Thanks


Chimps are definitely present at Odzala. They do sometimes spot them, I remember videos of chimps from Lango camp, others around Mboko. More captions from camera traps just around Mboko too. I have personally heard chimps drumming on trees early in the morning along the Lekoli river not too far from hippos we also heard. However, chimps are not habituated in Odzala or Dzangha Sangha. But there is habituated group of chimps at Loango in Gabon, only for primatologist studies (not open for tourism)

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Further videos from gorillas and marantaceas undergrowth around Ngaga





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The last morning, I woke up early for my own last activity at Ngaga while Karina decided to sleep a little more. I woke up in the light rain to focus on birding from the deck. I have to say it was not extraordinary for sightings or photography. But we did see some nice birds such as sunbirds, great blue turaco or kingfisher.

Actually, you might be interested to know that my best place to spot the great blue turaco is Entebbe city. From our hotel in Entebbe, we were seeing daily many turacos, vervet monkeys, black-casked hornbill and more extraordinary bird species.






Goodbye Ngaga! (last pics are from CCC website)


















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I have just uploaded on youtube a long serie of short captions from Karina's iphone to show Behind the Scenes. It's a bit long, but it would certainly help to any person who wants to visit Odzala to prepare the trip and understand the different activities.


Finding the gorillas







Gorillas feeding on fruits in trees
























The bee experience:















Young gorillas interractions:





Jungle walks:





Gorillas going down from trees:






Jungle walks:







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enjoyed the videos and watching the gorillas in their habitat. did the nets help keep the bees away? were these sweat bees? 


when we were tracking the gorillas in Gabon, the researchers would use clicking sounds so that the gorillas would identify them as the "friendly" researchers. I had wondered then if it was used in other countries/locations during the gorilla tracking, or did the researchers use it in Gabon as habituating the gorillas there was still in its infancy stage. did the trackers need to do the clicking or familiarising sounds as they neared the gorillas @jeremie?  

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6 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

enjoyed the videos and watching the gorillas in their habitat. did the nets help keep the bees away? were these sweat bees? 


when we were tracking the gorillas in Gabon, the researchers would use clicking sounds so that the gorillas would identify them as the "friendly" researchers. I had wondered then if it was used in other countries/locations during the gorilla tracking, or did the researchers use it in Gabon as habituating the gorillas there was still in its infancy stage. did the trackers need to do the clicking or familiarising sounds as they neared the gorillas @jeremie?  


Hi @Kitsafari!


Oh yes, these are the famous sweat bees! Hopefully, nets keeps them away, but takings pictures is almost imposible with the net and the mask.

I had forgotten these clicking sounds. Trackers do use the clicking sounds to make the gorillas more confortable. I am quite sure they used it in Congo and Gabon. Not sure about CAR.

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  • 8 months later...

Next stop after Ngaga camp is Mboko camp.


Mboko is the base of CCC - now Kamba Africa after their ongoing expansion to Nouabale Ndoki National Park where they are about to open two new luxury lodges - in the middle of the savanna-forest mosaic in the Southern part of Odzala national park.


Mboko camp was the first base of Odzala National Park before it moved to Mbomo village. An airstrip is located nearby for visitors that fly in - fly out from Brazzaville. The landscape is stunning, with wonderful wavy small hills covered by savannas and gallery forests in between. This is the perfect spot to spot and hear the last spotted hyenas form the Congo, we actually saw many of them only at night, and almost always by foot around the camp. The is a remaining population of less than a hundred estimated resident in the park, some are sometimes seen far away in Gabon (Langoue Bai at Ivindo National Park, Momba Bai between Mwagna and Ivindo National Parks). So there might be another small resident/migrating population to the West of Odzala, deeper inside the gabonese forest. Some hyenas clans are resident further North, far away from the savannas, and live around the different bais of the forest. They are even said to prey on elephants and buffalos.


One night we were awaken by a clan of hyenas whooping after hunting a buffalo just outside our room, that was a highlight of the trip! We even listen to much more hyenas whooping at Odzala than everywhere else in Africa!


We also used Mboko as a base to visit Lango bai, as the camp was unfortunately being refurbished by that time.


But Mboko is a great place to stay by. First, it is strategically located close to the Lekoli river, which is probably the best place to spot forest elephants. One goes down the river by boat or by kayak before sunrise or close to dusk, when elephant family groups go out from the shade of the forest to feed on the exotic rapid spreading mimosas all along the banks of the river. The deck is located just 5 minutes away by jeep.


Second, elephant bulls and sometimes family groups can be seen directly from the lodge.


Third, buffalos are almost always present during the night around the lodge, as well as the hyenas as said before. Hippos are nearby on the river (there is a trail to try to spot them).


Best safaris at Mboko are clearly on the river in comparison with 4x4. Animals are definitely present in the savanna, but the river is the highlight of Mboko. It is quite common to spot servals cats around on the track, but we did not see them.

























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Great photos Jeremie, good to see you continue. 

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Third, boating and kayak safaris on the Lekoli river..

















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Further pictures from the boating on the Lekoli river, which was great for buffaloes












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Four, Some pictures from the stunning Lango Bai.


We spotted a lot of wildlife there, it is probably the best place along with the Lekoli river for wildlife sightings.

Buffaloes are resident. Green pigeons can be seen flying around and at a certain time of year can be seen eating on the ground from a small blind in the Bai. We did see a mother sitatunga with a calf one morning, and red river hogs at the distance (but they did not venture in the middle of the bai). Black and White colobus are present in the forests, along with shy putty-nosed monkeys when we walked around.


And elephants are the best. We did see tons of elephants in the bai, but I don't have any picture as they shift there habits there. Elephants are now seen mostly by night in the bai, and best timings seem to be after sunset and before sunrise. Full moon is clearly the best. When we were at Odzala the previous group was composed of a Natgeo filming crew that filmed elephant bubbling in the bai at full moon. This documentary is now available on Disney.

Bongo are around, we indeed saw some footprints around the Lekoli river. An Odzala guide took amazing shots from bongos inside the bai, but this is far from beeing guaranteed and is only a question of chance. Giant Forest Hogs are also present, as well as chimpazes (we did heard them "druming" at the distance while watching elephants on the Lekoli river).


To enjoy every single day, I requested my guide Deen to wake up at 4:00 am and drive to Lango bai every morning to spot elephants. That was a great decision, but surely the best would have been to overnight at Lango lodge which was being refurbished (this might also explain why the elephants were very nocturnal along with past and not so past poaching around). On the way to Lango, I did see genets, buffaloes and hyenas during the night.









Edited by jeremie
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Best ways to enjoy Lango bai is to sit on the observation platform (great for sundowner!), or walk in the Lango stream and the neighboring forest.













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Forest Elephants have such piercing eyes and you capture them well @jeremie


Thank you very much for this trip report.

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Few videos from the Lekoli river













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And now few captions from the mighty Lango bai









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And some shorts...

















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Further pictures from the savanna landscape. The landscape is gorgeous, with high photogenic termite mounds. It is a shrub savanna, composed of very high grass, which is not the best for spotting wildlife, reason why usually guests just cross the landscape from one spot to another one, but not go on safaris around. Likely animals to be seen in the savanna are:

- Buffaloes, especially wallowing and mud bathing. Saw few of them.

- Forest elephants. Saw only one in the savanna.

- Hyenas. Saw few of them by night, but only present in gallery forests and the bai. Present widely throughout the landscape.

- Servals. Did not see them, but they are seen weekly and are very common.

- Bushbuck. Saw one form Mboko deck.













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The river activities are the funniest and the most interesting for wildlife sightseeing at Odzala!



Buffallo sighting in the Lango stream, just at the confluence with the Lekoli river.







Kayaking on the Lekolo and Lango stream is great to spot birds. African fish eagles are everywhere, different raptors species are also present. A couple of Pehl's fishing owl nested a couple of months before our arrival at the confluence between the Lango stream and the Lekoli river.




























Monitor lizards are seen everyday on the river. Different monkey species are around the river. I think I remember I saw de Brazza monkey, moustached guenon and putty-nosed monkeys. Chimps were heard as well as hippos at sunrise too. It seems hippos avoid the Lekoli river and prefer smaller streams and pool nearby with calmer waters.








We spotted 3 different species of kingfishers.


Tse tse flies are unfortunately very present on the river, especially when the gallery forest is dense and the river really narrow.





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Lango bai wet walks are one of the highlight of Odzala. But it is not for everyone! Walking along with buffaloes is really funny, but could be dangerous if not done with a profesional, skilled and experienced guide.


















Here is Lango lodge under repairs...




And small things too....





But the best is to sit on the watching platform in the bai and watch & wait for the buffaloes and elephants







Edited by jeremie
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