Odzala-Kokoua lies in the North-West of the Republic Congo-Brazzaville. It is as large as Tyrol, and for whom that doesn't ring a bell: as large as three and a half thousand soccer fields! To walk all around the park a person would need around 153 days - of course no one has tried. The region has been a national park since 1935. This makes Odzala a Senior Member within the protected areas in Africa, one of the oldest national parks on the continent.
Odzala is part of the Congo-basin where the second largest rainforest of the world is found - only the Amazonian rainforest is larger. This means that Odzala plays a vital role in the world climate. Without this intact piece of land worth protecting, global warming would be unstoppable. In addition, Odzala gives us all the air that we breathe.
Dark green, thick and apparently impossible to penetrate the rainforest covers most of the national park. But Odzala has other faces, too. The South holds vast Savannas, and wide, leisurely rivers cross the face of the region.
Something very special in Odzala are the so-called Bais. Like tree-less islands these clearings lie in the middle of the ocean of trees: Bogs of a size between one and ten hectares. Even the shiest inhabitants of Odzala come here to drink. But why do the gorillas and forest elephants dare to leave behind the protection of the rainforest to come to these mysterious places of all? The answer: The ground contains precious minerals and salts which the animals can only take in here.
Odzala is a piece of paradise - and that is colorfully populated. 100 different mammals are at home in the sanctuary. Western Lowland Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Red-tailed Monkeys or Mantled Guerezas. Out and about on four legs are the African Buffalo, Sitatunga or Duiker, a small species of antelope, some only as big as rabbits. Some groups of the rare and shy forest elephants move throughout the park, at night the leopards are on their way. The diversity is impressive in the air, too: More than 400 bird species are at home in Odzala. What a concert, what a blaze of color, can you even imagine it?
70 villages lie all around the national park, some hold just a handful of inhabitants, others several thousand such as Mbomo in the South of Odzala. Bantu and pygmy clans, too, have settled all around the huge sanctuary.