An AFRICAN PARKS protected area
Western lowland gorillas, forest elephants, bongos, dwarf crocodiles, huge flocks of grey parrots & green pigeons - and much more.
Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the remote northwest of Congo-Brazzaville is covered in forests, rivers, marshes, and swamps that extend over 13,500 km2 (1.35 million hectares). It is an integral part of both the Congo Basin and the TRIDOM Transfrontier Park that overlaps Gabon, Congo and Cameroon.
The most distinctive characteristic of the Congo rainforest is the forest baïs - island clearings in the sea of trees. Here, marshy areas rich in minerals and salts attract a plethora of wildlife.
Odzala-Kokoua is one of Africa’s oldest national parks and the ideal destination for lowland gorilla trekking.
Imbalanga Camp is currently a rustic, off-the-grid self-catering camp. Conversion to a fully catered camp will be complete in 2024.
We will include Imbalanga Camp in our reservations portfolio once the conversion to a fully catered camp has been completed in 2024. Place your name on a waitlist - see the gold button below - and we will contact you once reservations open.
The camp currently features 4 (four) ensuite tented chalets (double or twin beds) on wooden decks set deep within the forests of Odzala-Kokoua National Park. The ensuite bathrooms have running water, flush toilets and showers. The covered central area includes a lounge and dining area on an elevated wooden deck. The camp has 24-hour power.
There is a baï about 400m (3-minute walk) from camp - Imbalanga baï - with a hide from which western lowland gorillas, forest elephants and other wildlife are regularly viewed.
Odzala-Kokoua offers huge biodiversity and species unavailable elsewhere - a truly unique wildlife safari. Scientists estimate that the forest is home to some 4,500 plant, over 100 mammal and 346 bird species, including:
The 'forest 5' - western lowland gorilla, forest elephant, forest buffalo, bongo and giant forest hog.
Other primates such as common chimpanzee, Demidoff’s galago, grey-cheeked mangabey, moustached monkey, crowned monkey, agile mangabey, De Brazza’s monkey, putty-nosed monkey and Guereza colobus.
And then there are African golden cat, leopard, serval, spotted hyena, sitatunga, marsh mongoose, red river hog, palm civet, sitatunga, Congo clawless otter and various duiker species.
The bird species tally of over 440 includes delights such as Hartlaub's duck, Nkulengu rail, spot-breasted ibis, Congo serpent eagle, long-tailed hawk, vermiculated fishing owl, bare-cheeked trogon, white-crested hornbill, chocolate-backed kingfisher, lyre-tailed honeyguide, African piculet, grey parrot, African pitta, rufous-bellied helmetshrike and western bluebill. View the Odzala-Kokoua birdlist here
See more wildlife pictures in the gallery below (navigate using the arrows).
Open all year round - Odzala-Kokoua animals do not migrate;
Congo-Brazzaville lies on the equator, meaning temperatures vary very little year-round. Average temperatures are usually 24-28 degrees Celsius;
Rain is a constant factor, but there are two main rainy seasons: from March to May and September to October.
Odzala-Kokoua is about dense forests with open clearings (baïs) to open savannas. The northwest's dense forests open up into Marantaceae forest which gives way to gallery forests lining the floodplains of the more extensive waterways such as the Mambili and Lekoli Rivers. The dry savannas are dotted with enormous termite mounds that create an other-worldly atmosphere.
Odzala-Kokoua offers the following activities, usually guided by local community members:
Wildlife viewing from a platform overlooking a baï near Imbalanga Camp. A baï is a swampy clearing in the forest where wildlife gathers to drink and ingest mineral-rich soil;
Overnighting at a remote baï. This is the best way to observe secretive species such as forest elephants, forest buffaloes, bongos and gorillas;
Trekking for lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates;
Bird watching and nature hikes;
River cruises - this is the main method of covering large distances;
Visit a local village to learn about their culture and lifestyle.
Nearest airport city: Brazzaville.
By road: The camp is accessible by road via the national road (N2) - through the East entrance, located in between Makoua and Ouesso, close to Lango village. The road transfer takes 9-11 hours from Brazzaville.
By air: Imbalanga Camp can be reached by private air charter or a scheduled 2-hour flight from Brazzaville, which completes a return trip every Monday and Thursday, followed by a vehicle transfer to the camp.
Malaria area: Yes
Odzala-Kokoua is a malaria area. Please consult your travel doctor about malaria prophylaxis. In addition, take precautions to avoid being bitten - using insect repellents and wearing long sleeves and trousers in the evenings and mornings.
Yellow fever area: Yes
Congo-Brazzaville is a yellow fever area - please ensure that you have been vaccinated and have the necessary certificate. Please consult your travel doctor before travelling for relevant updates.
Tsetse flies: Yes
Tsetse flies can be a problem in certain parts of the park. Tsetse flies tend to be attracted to dark colours such as bright blue and black, so it is advisable that visitors wear khaki and lighter colours and make use of insect repellents.
We advise against drinking tap water unless it is boiled or filtered. Bottled water is widely available in Congo-Brazzavile. Bring your own refillable water bottle to fill up as you go.
Odzala-Kokoua is a remote area - please ensure you have evacuation insurance in case of medical emergencies. African Parks utilises the following emergency evacuation service: SATIB24.
Visiting the African Parks camps in Odzala-Kokoua is the most direct way to support local communities because these camps help boost:
community engagement with park management via small teams in each village consisting of women, elderly and youths;
village development is voted on and managed by local people and funded via tourism revenues, carbon agreements and natural resource management;
health is enhanced via mobile clinics;
jobs and income generation via agriculture, artisanal crafts and sustainable exploitation of natural resources - to develop opportunities away from hunting and other harmful activities;
conservation education of more than 1,000 children from school environmental clubs who have visited the park.
In 2010, African Parks entered into a 25-year-long agreement with the Republic of the Congo’s Ministry of Forest Economy, Sustainable Development and Environment to protect this globally significant park. Subsequently included in the agreement is Lossi, a 380 km2 area situated to the South-West of Odzala-Kokoua.
While bushmeat poaching remains a constant threat, law enforcement, coupled with education and conservation-based community enterprise opportunities, has stabilised illegal activity within the park. The park surveys indicate stable populations of key wildlife species: forest elephants and western-lowland gorillas.
Odzala-Kokoua-Lossi is now in safe hands, and your visit to Imbalanga Camp as a responsible traveller helps to protect this vital ecosystem.
Capital city + tourist hubs Brazzaville + Pointe-Noire.
Languages French, Kituba and Lingala.
Time zone GMT + 1 hours.
Currency & payments Central African (CFA) Franc. The local currency is preferred for transacting - very few shops use credit card machines, and even fewer accept foreign currency. Draw local currency from cash dispensers (ATMs) or visit an exchange bureau in Brazzaville. ATMs are available at major banks, with Visa being the preferred card, but MasterCard may also be used at certain banks. Ensure you carry small change whenever possible, as there is often no change available and notes bigger than XAF 2,000 can be hard to break (especially if using taxis).
Visas Enter your details here for visa and other requirements.
Plugs Plug types are C (two small round pins), D (three round pins) & E (two round pins and a hole for the socket's male earthing pin).
Mobile phones Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased in Brazzaville. Phone and internet coverage outside of major cities is poor.
Capital city Brazzaville is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, bustling markets, and some fascinating relics of colonial times. Located on the banks of the Congo River, the city enjoys clear views of Kinshasa (DRC) across the water.
Odzala-Kokoua is one of Africa’s oldest national parks and the ideal destination for lowland gorilla trekking. This vast protected area of forests, rivers, marshes, and swamps is an integral part of the Congo Basin that overlaps Gabon, Congo and Cameroon.
Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in northern Congo-Brazzavile is an intact lowland rainforest that has never been logged, contains no roads, and protects wildlife that has no contact with people.
Pointe Noire, on the Atlantic Ocean coast, is the second-largest city in Congo-Brazzaville. The city has a seaside atmosphere with idyllic palm-fringed beaches extending from north to south of the region.
This Atlantic Coast national park is the country's most diverse - offering beaches, lagoons, savannahs, forests and mountains. The park hosts a diverse range of wildlife, including marine and forest species.