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Travel & access
Odzala Discovery Camps and Sangha Lodge are all-year-round destinations with a plethora of flora and fauna to enjoy. The bigger animals, such as Forest Elephants, Western Lowland Gorillas and Forest Buffalo, can be seen throughout the year. However, viewing of birds, butterflies and other smaller mammals may be seasonal.
Yes, Republic of the Congo in which we operate (also known as Congo-Brazzaville), is very safe with nominal incidents of petty crime and very seldom-heard issues of a violent nature. It must not be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which is on the other side of the Congo River, and not a country in which we currently operate.
Yes, you will need a visa to visit the Republic of the Congo. We will provide you with a letter of invitation, which you will present to the Embassy of the Congo nearest to you, or to the immigration authorities on arrival in Brazzaville. We advise you get your visa ahead of travelling; nevertheless, Visas on Arrival can be issued at the airport for Congo Conservation Company clients given advance notice.
We operate weekly scheduled flights between Brazzaville and Mboko (Monday and Thursday) and Mboko and Kabo (Wednesday and Sunday) using a LET L-410 12-seater plane through a Mauritian Aviation Company called Air-Tec.
Wet. Wetter. Wettest. These are the seasons of equatorial rainforests. Because our temperatures and rainfall are consistent throughout the year, our large mammals do not migrate, and the habituated gorillas are available year-round making any time of year in the rainforest truly magnificent. Some seasons offer more or less rain, birdlife, insect life etc.
Before you travel
This depends on how full the plane is. You need to confirm how much extra weight you require, and the reservations will advise if it is possible, as well as the applicable costs for extra weight. Extra weight is charged at US$ 10 per kg over 17 kgs (37 lbs) and a maximum weight per person is 30 kgs (66 lbs).
15 kgs (33 lbs) per person in total weight (inclusive of hand luggage). Anything over this amount needs to be requested with reservations beforehand.
We also recommend that you pack belongings in a soft bag, if possible, for ease of transportation.
You will need your passport (with Republic of the Congo visa included), and yellow fever certificate.
We also require our CCC Indemnity Form to be sent to our reservations team 30 days prior to arrival date.
You should be able to walk at a normal walking pace, unassisted, for more than 8 km (5 miles) a day and for at least 2 hours at a time. Terrain is uneven and could include walks through beautiful rivers. Consult with your doctor if you are uncertain.
Please consult with your doctor or GP for advice.
A yellow fever certificate is required for entry into the Republic of the Congo. However, CCC requires a medical declaration form to be completed and returned before arrival to camps for gorilla tracking. This entails a confirmation from a medical practitioner that you are fit, healthy, do not have symptoms of TB and that you have had your polio and measles vaccinations to ensure protection for the gorillas. We do not require any certificates as proof, only the declaration form signed by your doctor.
We suggest looking at our camera equipment list for a better indication of what professionals have suggested are ‘must-haves’. Keep in mind that the rainforests are wet and humid, so have the appropriate protective wear for your gear.
We have created a list of recommended items to pack.
Arriving & departing through Brazzaville
Items bought from markets and vendors that cannot be packed into hand luggage or baggage may attract a tax at the airport, unless some form of receipt is provided to you.
|CCC Brazzaville Guest Services Team||+242 05 638 8976
+242 05 395 9604
|Joel Romeu||Odzala Camp Management||+242 05 350 5054 (WhatsApp Only)|
|Rod & Tamar Cassidy||Sangha Lodge||+27 82 570 6837 / +27 60 938 2362 (WhatsApp Only)|
|Kelby Jade Metior||Reservations||+27 (0)84 299 5407 / +27 (0)64 142 6881|
|Radisson Blu Hotel Brazzaville||Reception||+242 05 050 6060|
|Karen Waterston||CCC Brazzaville Operations / All Emergencies||+242 (05 0 58 2324 (WhatsApp)
+242 06 811 3482
Brazzaville is extremely safe with one of the cleanest city centres in Africa. While in the city, we recommend you dress conservatively. Locals do not like images to be taken of them, so if there is someone you would like to take a picture of, it is a good idea to ask your guide to request this for you.
In Brazzaville, cash is king and you will need the local currency FCFA / XFA (Central African Franc) which is available at various ATMs and exchange bureaus.
At our camps and Brazzaville office, we only have cash facilities at present. A payment portal with PayPal is also available to pay online for purchases related to CCC, provided you have Wi-Fi connectivity.
In Brazzaville, only FCFA / XFA (Central African Franc) is accepted, with Euro accepted in some places.
US$ can be exchanged into the above currencies if the notes are 2013 or newer and in denominations of USD 5 or greater in good condition.
When at the camps, should guests wish to tip or make purchases in our shops, Euro and FCFA / XFA are readily accepted. USD notes are accepted in Odzala Discovery Camps only, under the same terms as above and a premium will be charged for any older notes.
Guests can exchange money at Maya Maya Airport or at their designated hotel in Brazzaville. Radisson Blu has a money exchange facility and ATM (accepting Visa cards). Should you wish to use a Master or AMEX card, kindly request our Guest Services agent to direct you to the Credit du Congo ATM adjacent to the hotel.
NOTE – Credit card facilities are not readily used in Republic of the Congo, thus it is recommended that you exchange some local currency on arrival for meals and activities outside of your hotel.
Within the Discovery rates, we include a Brazzaville city tour with one of our CCC team members (inclusive of a 1-course lunch and beverages at Mami Wata restaurant).
If you book a custom itinerary or choose to remove the city tour from your Discovery package, then the tour is not included.
Your city tour scheduling will be planned with you in advance, based on your travel schedule. Should you book a tour or additional activity (e.g. the Sapeur experience) on arrival, this will be subject to availability.
Costs in Brazzaville, such as food, beverages, gratuities, taxis or souvenirs, are at your discretion and payable by yourself.
Depending on your international flight arrival and departure times, 1 – 2 nights allows for some down time before or after the Discovery to freshen up and enjoy the city’s atmosphere.
We can assist with stays at the Radisson Blu in Brazzaville, which is currently recognised as the best hotel in Congo and charged at a nightly room rate. This rate includes a buffet breakfast, gym and pool access facilities and complimentary airport shuttle service (this is not a private transfer service and may include other guests as scheduled). Day use rooms are also available.
However, should you want to self-book, enquire with our team for recommended alternate hotels in various price ranges.
Enquire for the full list amenities and benefits of staying at the Radisson Blu with us.
Our Brazzaville Guest Services team will provide you with a brief orientation of Brazzaville en-route to your hotel. All of our Discoveries include a City Tour (if you have opted to exclude this, you can enquire about costs and availability with our team in Brazzaville on arrival).
However, if you want to explore the city on your own, you can easily hail a taxi from your hotel. The city’s taxis will take you anywhere in the city centre for XAF 1000 (approximately USD 2) per stop. You will need to carry small currency, XAF 1000 and XAF 2000 (FCFA or Central African Franc) notes in cash, as taxi drivers often are not able to provide much change. Exchange Bureaus can be found at the airport and various locations in the city (including the Radisson Blu Hotel).
When you land in Brazzaville, you will need to complete an Entry Card on the plane shortly after deplaning.
You will then pass through the health check and be asked to show your Yellow Fever Certificate, after which you proceed to immigration.
You will be required to present your passport and the Entry Card, for verification of your valid Republic of the Congo visa.
You will then collect your luggage, and be asked to present your luggage tags, for verification that the luggage is yours, after which you will proceed to customs for your luggage to be scanned.
A member of our CCC guest services team will meet you in the Arrival hall and will assist you to your Brazzaville accommodation or onward scheduled flight.
If you require a Visa on Arrival, Immigration will have been informed of your arrival and they will retain your passport to process your visa on arrival. Your passport will be returned to you by our Guest Services staff.
We accept Euros or Central African Franc (FCFA / XFA) for any additional activities which are not pre-booked or included in your chose Discovery journey.
Sango (also spelled Sangho) is a Creole language in Central African Republic, and together with French, are the two official languages spoken in the country. Ba’Aka is one of many other languages spoken by specific tribes.
Sangha Lodge itself is not located within the Dzanga Sangha Special Reserve, which is optimal from a conservation perspective. Sangha Lodge is located 5 kilometres from the park and is situated on the banks of the Sangha River, within a 64 000-hectare privately protected tourism concession, previously used as a hunting zone.
Whilst continuing to pay the required annual fees for the trophy hunting rights, Rod and Tamar Cassidy have chosen to use the site for sustainable tourism and conservation only. This is also the site for their recognised and increasingly successful Pangolin Research Project.
The Ba’Aka are an older generation of autochthon people, also referred to as forest people. They live in the forests and villages in close proximity to Sangha Lodge. The Ba’Aka are a traditional hunter-gatherer society with a rich oral and tangible heritage. They continue to live off, and in harmony with, the forest, where they practice their traditions, passing them down from one generation to the next.
Dzanga Baï is a clearing in the Dzanga Sangha Special Reserve, where Forest Elephants congregate en-masse, often accompanied by other rare species such as Forest Buffalo, Bongo, Red River Hog or Giant Forest Hog.
It is one of, if not the best of, places to witness large numbers of forest elephants interacting and foraging in close proximity from the safety of a mirador or hide while overlooking the clearing. Behaviour that is observed is social behaviour, elephant trumpeting, digging for minerals and elephant baths in the red, golden and white clays present in the clearing.
Sangha Lodge is located on the south-western tip of Central African Republic. It is situated along the Sangha River, 10 kilometres north of Bayanga Village and close to the entrance to Dzanga Sangha Special Reserve and its famous Forest Elephant destination, Dzanga Baï.
Words, phrases & wildlife
While the Congo Basin has these animals throughout the region with some located within our boundaries of the various camps, we cannot guarantee any specific animal sightings.
Chimpanzees and Leopards are often spotted in our camera traps and are predominately located closer to Mboko and Lango camps in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. They are very nervous creatures. The longer you spend with us and the more walks you do, the more likely you are to see elusive wildlife.
Marantaceae is the dense thick plant that surrounds Ngaga Camp in the Ndehzi concession just outside of Odzala-Kokoua National Park. It is thick, dark and glossy, with gorillas using it as protection as well as a source of food.
Many of our guests have previously encountered Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda and the gorillas near our camps are Western Lowland Gorillas.
There are several key differences between the two species which mean that the tracking and viewing experience with Congo Conservation Company, in Republic of the Congo, differs from gorilla treks run by other companies in other regions.
As their name suggests, Western Lowland Gorillas are found in tropical lowland forests in Western and Central Africa. They are slightly smaller than their mountain cousins and (because it is much warmer at lower altitudes) their fur is less dense.
This antelope is the largest, heaviest, and most colourful African forest antelope. When staying at our camps, you might be fortunate enough to glimpse the Lowland/Western Bongo.
It has an auburn or chestnut coat with 10 to 15 vertical whitish-yellow stripes running down its sides. Females are usually more brightly coloured than males. Both males and females have spiralled lyre-shaped horns. The large ears are believed to sharpen hearing, and the distinctive colouration may help bongos identify one another in their dark forest habitats. They have no special secretion glands and so rely less on scent to find one another than do other similar antelopes.
Every jungle is a forest, but not every forest is a jungle.
A ‘jungle’ is a dense mass of vegetation and trees and is difficult to penetrate, such as parts of the Congo Basin or Amazon. The word ‘forest’ is used to denote large tracts of land covered by trees, and this includes jungles, as well as other wooded areas.
The Congo Basin is dotted with wetlands called ‘baïs’.
Baï is a word from the Mbenga people which describes a natural, often swampy clearing in the forest with large deposits of minerals. These areas are created and maintained by the footfalls of wildlife digging for nutrient-rich water and grazing on the nourishing vegetation. These clearings hold a magnetic attraction for forest elephants by night as well as Forest Buffaloes, Bongos and great flocks of African Green Pigeons and African Grey Parrots.
Terms & conditions
- The amount stated on the invoice is what needs to be received into Congo Conservation Company’s account. ALL bank charges are to be settled and recovered by the client. If there is a shortfall, this will be added to the bill on departure at camps or credited to a future booking or account.
- Deposit payment to be made within 14 days from confirmation of booking.
- Full payment to be made 60 days prior to guests’ arrival at camps.
- When making any payment, please state the reference number starting with WB or name of the booking so that we can track your payment accordingly. All proof of payments need to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org (please allow 72 hours for payment confirmation).
- Should full payment not be confirmed in our account on guests’ arrival to camps, they will be asked to settle the bill in cash up-front. Please note that CCC camps do not have credit card facilities and all extras or outstanding bills need to be settled in cash or by PayPal (transaction fees for guest’s account).
- Odzala Discovery Camps and Sangha Lodge accept cash payments in FCFA / XFA and Euro only (payments made in USD will incur converting costs).
Yes, we have a PayPal account and the portal is available in the footer of our website for easy payments.
Please note we are unable to refund deposits or full payments, and this will be allocated on a credit basis for future bookings dependent on cancellation reason.
- Between confirmation and 61 days prior to arrival, full refund of deposit less admin fee.
- Between 60 & 46 days, 50% of the total cost will be charged.
- Between 45 days and a ‘no show’, 100% of the total cost will be charged.
- The cancellation policy also applies to confirmed bookings that reduce their length of stay. The above cancellation fees will apply on the released night/s.
- Cancellations of reservations must be in writing and are effective upon its acknowledged receipt by the company.
- All travellers are advised to take out fully comprehensive travel insurance with cancellation for no reason. This insurance must be able to fully cover cancellation of travel less than 60 days prior to arrival.
- In special circumstances, the property may consider postponement of booking to 12 months in advance if travel cancelled 60 days or less prior to arrival due to a COVID related issue – further lockdown, no flights, guest not allowed to board a flight, a guest falls ill due to COVID-19 and unable to travel
We provide light snacks on the flight such as a baguette or sandwich, or fruit. Menus can change and if a dietary requirement is noted, we will cater for this according to availability. Water and cold drinks are provided on the plane. Kindly note that no bathroom facilities are available on the plane.
Mboko Airstrip is a private airstrip located within the Odzala-Kokoua National Park and is a 10-minute drive from Mboko Camp, and a 2 to 2.5-hour scenic drive from Ngaga Camp.
No, we do not have bathroom facilities on the flight itself.
Guests are advised to use bathrooms at the airport before departing. There are then bathroom facilities available at Mboko Airstrip on arrival in Odzala-Kokoua National Park.
We are only able to assist with ‘meet and greet’ services, and transfers to the camps from Maya Maya Airport in Brazzaville.
The flight is approximately 2 hours long, depending on weather conditions. Light refreshments are provided on board. No bathroom facilities are available in-flight).
1pm GMT+1 – Mondays and Thursdays
Flights depart from Kabo Airstrip (Sangha Lodge journey) for Mboko Airstrip in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. This is weather dependant.
9am GMT+1 – Mondays and Thursdays
Flights depart from Mboko Airstrip in Odzala-Kokoua National Park for Kabo Airstrip (Sangha Lodge journey). This is weather dependant.
9am GMT+1 – Mondays and Thursdays
Flights depart from Mboko Airstrip in Odzala-Kokoua National Park for Brazzaville. This is weather dependant.
1pm GMT+1 – Mondays and Thursdays
Flights depart from Brazzaville for Mboko Airstrip in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. This is weather dependant.
Our flights are built into our Discovery rates. Should you wish to use an alternative mode of transport to our camps, you would need to arrange this and book this yourself through a local agent in Brazzaville. This is chosen at your own risk and Congo Conservation Company is not liable for such alternative travel arrangements.
Should you wish to travel on a day on which we do not have a scheduled flight, we can offer you a private charter service. Please note this rate is charged per leg (one-way) and only operates on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
What days do Congo Conservation Company’s scheduled flights operate between Brazzaville and camps, and between camps?
BRAZZAVILLE – ODZALA
Our flights between Brazzaville and Mboko Airstrip (Odzala-Kokoua National Park) operate on a Monday and Thursday each week (approx. 2-hour flight).
- To camps – departs Brazzaville at approx. 1pm (GMT+1)
- To Brazzaville – departs camps at approx. 9am (GMT+1)
ODZALA – SANGHA
Our flights between Mboko Airstrip (Odzala-Kokoua National Park) and Kabo Airstrip (for onward travel to Sangha Lodge) operate on Wednesdays and Sundays each week (approx. 40-min flight).
- To Kabo – departs Mboko at approx. 9am (GMT+1)
- To Mboko – departs Kabo at approx. 1pm (GMT+1)
All flight departure, arrival and duration times are subject to change, due to weather or other factors.
It is not recommended for you to arrive in Brazzaville on the day of your flight to camp (Monday or Thursday), as delayed flights may cause you to miss your scheduled departure to Odzala-Kokoua National Park.
It is recommended that guests do not select a departure flight on the afternoon of return from camp (Monday or Thursday) earlier than 2pm, to ensure adequate time for flight delays and international check-in.
Our plane is checked regularly and maintained according to international aviation regulations and safety standards.
Amenities & facilities
Our camps are located in unique biomes with different views and experiences to ensure a dynamic and explorative journey.
For this reason, we propose a combination of camps per our thoughtfully conceived Discovery packages which are based on the best access between our various locations.
Yes, we do recommend bringing your own pair to avoid sharing with guides. This will help make sure you do not to miss out on a great wildlife sighting!
We do not have spa facilities at our lodges; however, we are working with a community project at Mboko Camp where we have two of our local staff trained in massage, as part of our ongoing local development initiatives.
Please enquire with our management team at Mboko when you are there for availability or book in advance with reservations (email@example.com).
Each room has a mosquito net. We also recommend you pack an insect repellent to use throughout your stay, as desired. A repellent containing DEET is recommended in the Congo Basin, but not always readily available in Europe.
You can also choose to dip or spray your clothing in repellent spray (please enquire with our team for low-impact recommendations).
Yes, at all of our camps, hot water and fully flushable toilets are available.
All of our rooms have their own bathrooms as part of the larger guest room. Toilets and showers are screened off but are not held within a separate room.
We do our best to cater for special dietary requirements and need at least 14 days’ notice prior to arrival (our produce and menus are planned well in advance due to our remote location).
If you have a severe allergy, it is imperative that you notify us of this in advance. You must carry your own epi-pens, as we do not stock these.
Traces of nuts may be experienced as nuts are used in our kitchens.
Each of our camps has a shared dining space for you and your fellow travellers to come together and enjoy 3-course meals for lunch and dinner as well as breakfast, tea, coffee and snacks throughout your stay.
Large, family style tables are shared in some camps.
Yes, all meals and house beverages are included while at camps.
House beverages include: tea, coffee, cool drinks, mixers, water, select wines, beers and spirits.
Premium beverages are available on request at an additional cost, which will be added to your bill (settled on departure).
Tipping is discretionary and not included in our pricing. Our teams are very appreciative of any tips received.
- Guides: 20 Euro per person per day
- Gorilla trackers: 10 Euro tip per person per track
- General staff: 15 – 20 Euro per guest per day
Any gratuities for the general CCC team will be evenly distributed between all the CCC staff. As such, Management kindly asks that individual tips are not given. Tipping boxes are available in each camp on your day of departure.
All of our camps have EU plug points.
USB charging is currently not available, so bringing the appropriate adaptors is recommended.
The rooms at Ngaga and Lango have extension points with various socket options.
Please notify the Camp Manager of any power consuming chargers or heavy electricity use items such as camera batteries. These may need to be specially arranged in order not to crash the solar power systems. Please note that no hairdryers or kettles may be used at any time.
Each room offers windows and doors to welcome in the breeze. In our camps, all rooms have either a ceiling or standing fan. Due to our remote locations and ecologically mindful approach, we do not offer air-conditioning.
Our rooms at all camps can accommodate a maximum of 2 guests. Chalets can be set up in either a double bed or twin bed (two separate beds) configuration, as requested.
No inter-leading or family rooms are available.
Yes, we offer laundry services at all of our camps. Turnaround time is anything from 24 hours due to damp and humid conditions in the rainforest, so on your last night in each camp, save you laundry for the next camp.
Filtered drinking water is provided in our main camp areas as well as in your chalet. Water from the taps is safe for showering, however, is not suitable for drinking.
There is Wi-Fi available in common areas at all camps, however, the signal and availability at each camp varies according to weather conditions, as you are connected via satellite.
- Mboko Camp – fair signal (the most reliable camp for Wi-Fi)
- Lango Camp – not always available
- Ngaga Camp – fair signal (less strong if there is fog or mist)
- Sangha Lodge – not always available
No sites enable heavy data streaming for video uploads or downloads.
Safety & security
There are travel alerts for Central African Republic (CAR), however these alerts apply to Bangui and the northern part of the country.
CCC offers a safe and secure access route through the Republic of the Congo which limits all travel in Central African Republic to the south-western frontier of the country. This is a safe and isolated area, away from the conflict zones and provides a phenomenally scenic passage up the Sangha River.
The flight is approximately 45 minutes in duration.
Yes, we use the same plane that operates from Brazzaville to Mboko Airstrip. The flight departs from Mboko Airstrip and arrives at a private airstrip in Kabo (Republic of Congo). From there, you will travel up the Sangha River for 4 – 6 hours to reach Sangha Lodge. An experienced member of the team will travel with you at all times, managing the 5 (five) security and immigration checkpoints and controls en-route.
We have devised this new access route specifically for its scenic beauty and secure guest access and safety.
Travel advisories often advise against travel to CAR, and while this is sound advice for a large part of the country, the troubled region is far away from the remote South West where Sangha Lodge is located.
We have an age requirement of 16 years and older to visit any of our camps. This is due to the remote location, gorilla tracking age requirements, and the nature of adventure in a rainforest environment to ensure everyone is safe and has a wonderful experience.