Congo Coast to River Odyssey: Jungle Train, Gorillas, and the Legendary Congo River
- Duration: 10 Days (approx.)
- Product code: roc-overland-8-en
The Congo hosts more wild mountain and lowland gorillas than its neighbors Rwanda and Uganda, yet tourists wait for months to pay escalating prices to see them there. See and encounter a gorilla face to face and see solitary males, silverback adults, and whole families and troops in the wild, a life-changing encounter with our earthly cousins that nobody ever forgets or walks away from the same. Visit an orphanage and gorilla protection project on a protected territory of the jungles where gorillas can roam freely, and enjoy some of the best music, culture, and scenery of Africa on one of its most legendary journeys.
NOTE: Visitors to the park directly fund and help protect the gorillas and their natural habitat, and tourism helps maintain and upkeep the park facilities and conditions for the gorillas and incentivize the local community to take care of them; you are helping an endangered species.
Day 1: Arrival and Welcome
Welcome to Pointe-Noire, our representative will greet you at the airport, and courteously assist you to your hotel. After you comfortably check-in decide on a fantastic nightlife tour with popular musicians and bar/cafe spots, or just enjoy a rest and refreshment after a briefing from the local guide.
Day 2: Depart for Conkouati-Douli
In the morning, get picked up from your hotel and drive on a scenic route to Conkouati-Douli National Park. This beautiful coastal region bordering Gabon has animals such as cevettes, monkeys, sea turtles, chimpanzees, lowland gorillas, elephants, and in some places even glowing fish and photokinetic plants and insects. They are hard to spot in the dense forests, so no particular animal siting is guaranteed, but the scenery is the most special thing about this park, contiguous with Loango Park in Gabon. Dinner and overnight in Park Lodge Bungalows, where you'll meet the organizations that work with and protect the chimpanzees and other primates, and the integrity of the park.
Day 3: Explore Conkouati Douli, Visit Chimpanzees, River Expedition, and Sunset Seaside.
Today you'll leave the riverside bungalows by boat through the stunning, thick, twisting mangroves to visit several islands in the famous Douli Triangle, inhabited by chimpanzees who have gained protected status thanks to interested tourists like you and international conservation efforts. You will get to meet who troops and families of chimps who are living in a wild but safe setting from poaching, far away in the middle of a sprawling national park.
In the afternoon take a few hours paddle by canoe down the rivers to enjoy the scenery and possibly spot elephants, cevettes (huge cats that look like leopards,) and if you are lucky, leopards or gorillas. It is rare to spot these animals inside the park, as the foliage is so thick, and they are not tracked or bothered by humans much. You are, however, guaranteed plenty of great scenery, to meet plenty of chimpanzees (your primate cousins,) and plenty of good times.
In the sunset of the evening, you will finally make your way out of the rivers to the Atlantic Ocean, on perhaps the most secluded and beautiful beach you've ever seen. Behind you are clear freshwater rivers running in to dense green rainforest draping sheer mountains. In front of you is spotless sand thrashed by powerful waves and salty ocean air. If you happened to bring a surfboard. Now is the time to use it as well, but this is the perfect end to your trip. If you're very lucky, spot sea turtles as they come in to nest or chill on the beach. After sundown stop for beers at a local village or else head back in the LandCruiser to the bungalows for overnight and dinner.
Day 4: Animal & Park Viewing, Return to Pointe Noire.
After breakfast, enjoy morning park viewing, and ocean zone marine park viewing. Later on drive to Pointe-Noire in the afternoon, and along the way stop for pictures and vista gazing. Finish you trip at your hotel in Pointe Noire.
Day 5: Epic Jungle Train
Depart Pointe-Noire by boarding the Jungle Train (first class seat in a comfortable carriage) past the vistas, villages, and wildernesses of Congo on the famous and historic Congo-Ocean Railway, in the comfort of the new Gazelle Train. Arrive and overnight in Brazzaville, river capital of the Republic of Congo.
NOTE: The train is only available on select days (check with us in advance,) and so your tour either needs to arrive to accommodate the train schedule, or else we substitute the Swiss-run and safe ECAir flight between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville to get you there on time. Please also note that in case the train arrives late or gets delayed a day, you will miss the city tour the following day in order to catch the next part of your safari into Northern Congo, without refund. (Usually, this does not happen.)
Day 6: Brazzaville City Tour and Congo River Cruise
After breakfast, enjoy a day tour of Brazzaville, city sightseeing, and traditional Congolese lunch at a river-side restaurant overlooking Kinshasa and the river traffic of the two capitals.
In the afternoon set off far down the famous Congo River to witness Africa’s greatest river journey, and the myriad of traffic and river life teeming on its shores. Gaze into the heart of darkness and the immense troubled jungle and capital of the DRC.
Stock up on goodies, essentials, and snacks at Park N Ship Supermarket, replete with all western comforts, for your next safari! Overnight at Brazzaville tourist hotel.
Day 7: Depart for Louna National Park
Depart for the north in morning with a visit to Congolese and African historic sites on the way. Lunch at the park safari lodge. Visit a gorilla orphanage and drive further into the park to a natural crater lake far from civilization where you can relax and swim in the forest. Return for dinner and overnight at park safari lodge.
Day 8: Animal & Park Viewing
After breakfast, depart for a male solitary gorilla encounter in Lesio-Louna and Lefini National Park. We will take you as close as possible without putting you in danger from the gorilla or the gorilla in danger of germs from tourists.
In the afternoon take a boat ride deep into Louna National Park where you have the chance to see big African wildlife and hundreds to thousands of birds and fish, and look for the biggest group of wild gorillas in Africa. Dinner and overnight at park safari lodge.
Day 9: Return to Brazzaville
Visit an extinct volcano and its sapphire blue lake for a morning swim, and depart south back to the capital via National Route 2, for lunch en route. This afternoon visit local markets and crafts shops. Overnight at Brazzaville tourist hotel.
Day 10: Final Day - Departure
After breakfast and hotel check-out, relive the highlights of your expedition and you can of course optionally stop at local markets for last minute gifts! Enjoy a casual drive through town before your transfer to the airport.
Our overland tours include all transport, permits, entrance fees, taxes, 4x4 with a/c, and accommodation in basic safari-style lodges and tourist hotels. Alcoholic drinks are extra. Congo Travel and Tours will arrange your visa facilitation upon purchase of a tour, and you must apply with our invitation letter at your nearest possible embassy.
Please bring for this tour:
- Extra Blankets and Bedsheets to supplement the safari lodges
- Sturdy hiking shoes
- Rain Jacket
- Spare Batteries
**Guides are paid for, but it's good customs offering some drinks, snacks, sweets or cigarettes of your own. This will bring you a long way in Congo. You are of course free to give an extra tip in case you want to express your gratitude.