FACTS

CHARACTERISTICS

Odzala-Kokoua lies in the North-West of the Republic Congo-Brazzaville. It is larger than the Bahamas, Jamaica or Puerto Rico, or the same size as three and a half thousand soccer fields! To circumnavigate the Park on foot would take almost six months – of course no one has tried. The region has been a National Park since 1935, making Odzala a senior member within the protected areas in Africa and one of the oldest national parks on the continent.

RAINFOREST

Odzala is part of the Congo Basin in which the world’s second largest rainforest is found – only the Amazonian rainforest is larger. This means that Odzala plays a vital role in the world climate and combating climate change, in addition to being one of the lungs of the earth.

MORE THAN TREES

Dark green, thick and apparently impossible to penetrate, the rainforest covers much of the National Park. But Odzala has other faces, too. The south holds vast savannah, and wide, meandering rivers cross the region.

ISLANDS IN THE FOREST

A distinctive feature of Odzala are the bais. Like islands these clearings lie in the middle of an ocean of trees: marshy areas typically between one and ten hectares in size. Even the shiest inhabitants of Odzala come here to drink. Gorillas and forest elephants leave the protection of the forest in search of the precious minerals and salts contained in the bai soils.

A GREEN ARK

Odzala is a piece of paradise and one that is colourfully populated. Over 100 different mammal species are found here, including western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and red-tailed monkeys. More terrestrial species include forest buffalo, sitatunga and species of duiker some not much larger than rabbits. Herds of shy forest elephant move along ancient pathways. Overhead, more than 400 bird species also call Odzala home.

AT HOME IN ODZALA

Some seventy villages lie around Odzala, some with just a handful of inhabitants, while others such as Mbomo have several thousand residents. The local people are primarily Bantu and forest dwellers (pygmies).