Odzala Observer – Newsletter Issue 16 – Part 1

By 20th April 2017Uncategorised

Welcome to the heart of Africa!

While the rainforests and bais of Odzala are undoubtedly Congo’s foremost attraction for visitors, the geography of Congo means that you’ll need to spend time in the country’s capital, Brazzaville, on the banks of the Congo River. Far from being a dull interlude, this will likely rank as another highlight of your holiday.

From the moment you’re welcomed at the modern Maya-Maya airport by our smiling meet & greet representative and whisked through the immigration formalities, you’ll get the distinct impression that this is an African city like no other.

Whereas many newly-independent African nations dropped all references to the colonial era, the Republic of Congo retained the name of its capital city. This was as a mark of the respect in which the city’s founder, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, is still held.

Almost uniquely amongst European explorers of the late nineteenth century, de Brazza had a more enlightened view of the role of the Congolese in managing their own affairs.

Today Brazzaville is a fascinating melting pot, and richly rewards exploration. Just across the Congo river lies Kinshasa, the much larger and rather more chaotic capital of the DRC. This is the only instance of two capital cities being separated by a river (albeit a rather impressive one).

Brazzaville’s architecture is a surprisingly charming mish-mash of colonial buildings and socialist concrete, frosted glass government buildings and traditional African housing.

Our team will escort you to one of the city’s comfortable modern hotels, whether Mikhael’s Hotel in the centre of town, the Pefaco hotel right by the airport or the Radisson Blu hotel on the riverfront.

Before embarking on the 800km (500 mile) journey north to Odzala – just two hours by private charter flight to Mboko airstrip in the heart of the National Park – you’ll be able to get a real feel for Brazzaville.

It’s a safe city, and compact enough that you can easily get around the centre on foot or – if you’re feeling more intrepid – in one of the ubiquitous green and white taxis. The vehicles are so prevalent that they gave rise to the city’s nickname, ‘Brazza la verte’ although this could equally be a reference to the fingers of tropical vegetation that penetrate the city.

The best way to get to know Brazzaville is on our City Tour activity. We can of course tailor this to your specific interests, whether history, shopping or Art Deco architecture, but there are a few highlights that we’d always recommend including.