Lake Tele Expedition (Serious Extreme Frontier Wilderness Trip - Into Abyssal Zone)

Lake Tele Expedition (Serious Extreme Frontier Wilderness Trip - Into Abyssal Zone)
From USD $8,999.00
  • Duration: 12 Days (approx.)
  • Product code: tele
This is the Africa most tours promise, but few can deliver anymore in the modern world. The area this tour visits are homes to hundreds of thousands of undocumented gorillas and other large primates, dozens of tribes of pygmies, the largest snake ever recorded in history, hordes of new species discovered by science a year, and yes - even a rumored species of giant dinosaur that eats elephants, living in the thick jungles of Lake Tele Reserve, which nobody has ever been deep inside enough to find. 

This is as real as it gets. (Most locals can't even move or travel in the area!) And it's open for 2017.

*All tourists arrive in Brazzaville and are met and greeted by our company at the airport and transferred to the hotel

**Note that you have to be in considerably good shape and medical condition to do this trip. Any pre-existing conditions, as in all our tours and policies, should be reported in advance or you will be immediately ejected from the trip without right of refund.

***A few words before considering Tele:

(apologies for the all large caps, but it is for good reason, and screening is undertaken as downright soberly and severely serious for this trip; with plenty of precedents of failed expeditions, turnarounds, and exhausted trekkers, over centuries before CTT. The itinerary listed here is the minimum viable route that most fit travelers can participate in with proper preparation, and so we welcome you to apply. Expeditions further into the abyssal zone in pursuit of new species and new discoveries can be arranged with coordination, up to several months, and into far deeper reaches.)

Note: In 2016 a far deeper and smaller but more hidden lake was found, just once, due north of Tele a few weeks into the bush. New birds and small mammals, crocodile nests, thousands of endemic primates in the trees, new fish, and clouds of butterflies were described there. We are attempting to ascertain the GPS of this place but nobody has found it since January 2016. There is a lot still to find, and little explored in this region 1.5 times the size of Belgium and uninhabited.

Lake Tele Expedition (Minimum Viable Basic Program)

  • THIS IS THE MOST DIFFICULT TRIP IN AFRICA. NOT FOR BLOG BOASTERS, EGO ELEVATORS, OR PASSPORT STAMP COLLECTORS. THIS IS MORE LIKE JURASSIC PARK THAN DISNEYLAND. 
  • IF YOU DO NOT REALLY HAVE THE APPETITE FOR FINAL FRONTIER WILDERNESS, AND ARE LOOKING FOR A VANITY DIARY ENTRY, PLEASE DO NOT COME HERE. THIS IS THE ABYSSAL ZONE, THE LEAST CHARTED AND DEEPEST JUNGLE ON EARTH. AND - THE LAST IN AFRICA. THIS IS NOT EXAGGERATED AND THERE IS A GOOD REASON THIS REGION IS UNEXPLORED.
  • WHEN WE SAY AFRICA'S LAST FRONTIER, WE MEAN IT. 
  • FOR THIS TRIP YOU WILL NEED RESOLUTE CHARACTER, A STRONG MIND, STRONG PATIENCE, A HEALTHY AND FIT BODY, AND KEEN PREPARATION. 
  • IN SYNC WITH US, YOU WILL BE PREPARED MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY, AND WITH TEAMWORK SAFETY AND LISTENING CLOSELY TO THE GUIDE AND AUTHORITY, YOU WILL HAVE FUN AND BY FAR YOUR GREATEST AFRICAN ADVENTURE!!

Please note that this tour can only start on Sundays or Thursdays and itinerary will be re-arranged if on Sunday start. Please also note that flight schedule changes can render it necessary to change arrival and departure dates to suit the flow of the trip, and that such flight changes are your charge and should be neutralized by any reasonable travel insurance policy. There is the option of accessing the gateway to Tele, Epena, by road from Ouesso/Pokola via a 2 day grueling horrible drive, which is not always safe and you would need to check with us. There is also the terrible and tested option of trekking south via Pokola south to Bowa and then through to Mboua, 100km over 3-5 days or so in thick canopied pitch dark jungle that goes jet black shortly after 4pm...in the most snake and fish-ridden swamp in the Congo we have ever been. Both will be much more expensive. We enforce and suggest the below itinerary, strongly.


Itinerary


Day 1 Thursday: Arrival and Welcome - Brazzaville City Tour and River-View Dinner

Peruse the path of the Great African explorers and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of Africa's tamest and most peaceful river city. You will see the memorial to Pierre de Brazza, great navigator and founder of the town. Enjoy the immense markets and great river life with a river ride to gaze at mighty Kinshasa on the other side (optional.) Tour artists enclaves and painting school, a field of rusting war machines and tanks handed down from “Africa's World War” outside town (if open), and relax at the perfect river-side restaurant for dinner and drinks, watching Congolese life go by.  

Day 2 Friday: Depart for Impfundo

Early morning transit north to the Maya Maya" airport for the long flight over the forests to Impfundo, the pygmy capital of Africa!.

When you arrive after the long scenic flight with your guide, check-in to Hotel Tropicana to overnight, rest, and wait for your bags delivery, or head straight to the Park Lodge in Epena for briefing, coffee, and wifi (here you will see the most detailed maps of the jungle and abyssal zone available until the charts and known territory runs out!) 

Go to the ministry office to get the permit to go to Lac Télé. 3 days of interior expedition in the wilderness are ahead. Pickup your tents and gear here with our liaison.  

Settle in, dinner, and overnight at Epéna (Park Lodge) or Impfundo (Hotel Tropicana) alongside the Ubangui River. You've never felt so far from home!

Day 3 Saturday: The Long Rainforest Route to Bowa

Today is the longest travel day of the trip, through largely untravelled interior, towards the land of the pygmies and the thickest jungles. 

Head via Landcruiser south to the launch from Epena and Matoko, and continue for 5 hours by river boat south to reach the gateway town of Bowa, the last bastion of civilization before you head into the abyssal zone of the jungle, and check in with the village chief and overnight in the village. Get ready to rock!


Day 4 Sunday: Getting into the Reserve

After a breakfast and good sleep, head off into the start of a 50km path into the deep wilderness and abyssal zone, gaping before you like an immenser "Heart of Darkness." 

This is one of the least explored, least visited places on our planet. Certainly in Africa. Congratulate yourself for making it! 

Day 5 Monday: Abyssal Zone 

You'll be walking to the lake through the bush, accompanied by a local guide, sleeping in tents under a sky full of starts, back to basics, back to nature, and finding adventure largely unavailable in the modern Africa of today. 

The path we take is a selected dry corridor that penetrates the jungle and makes the floor walkable for 25 miles. There will be dense jungle all around us. You are under no circumstances allowed to deviate from the group, from the authority of the guides and staff, or ever to walk out in front, for your own safety.


Day 6 Tuesday: Lake Tele


Tourists, along with our guide and team, and unlimited access to  a pirogue (boat), can walk, hike, and explore the lake and wilderness around Lac Télé, and sleep there tonight. 


Day 7 Wednesday: Lake Tele 


Tourists, along with our guide and team, and unlimited access to  a pirogue (boat), can walk, hike, and explore the lake and wilderness around Lac Télé, and sleep there tonight. 


Day 8 Thursday: Lake Tele 


Tourists, along with our guide and team, and unlimited access to  a pirogue (boat), can walk, hike, and explore the lake and wilderness around Lac Télé, and sleep there tonight. 


Day 9 Friday: Abyssal Zone  

Today at a brisk morning pace we start the long haul back overland, looking for animals, birds, reptiles, and who knows what else as we trek back through no man's land. 

Keep in the convoy and listen to the guide at all times, and enjoy the most amazing jungle on earth!

Day 10 Saturday: Getting Back to Civilization

Arrival in Bowa around late afternoon/evening if you move at a good pace; Settle in, grab a few beers and come back into touch with other human civilization (mostly pygmies live in this area,) and overnight in Epéna. 

It is possible and probable that we may end up overnighting in or shortly before Bowa tonight depending on how tired the group is and how much distance covered on the dry corridor between Bowa and Tele, however a healthy and ok pace should ensure we are in the zone to make the schedule right on time. 

If your group prefers a more relaxed pace (keep in mind you won't be carrying your bags since porters will be along,) we can depart back into the wilderness from the lake on Day 8.

Day 11 Sunday: Day Off! - You've Earned It.

Today we start from Bowa to Epéna and to Impfondo, where we will sleep tonight. For security and planning, we have allowed an extra day to explore Impfondo. In case of road delay or unforeseen circumstances (which are rampant in this part of Congo,) you will be in good shape to catch your flight.

Today is our low-key buffer day at Impfondo. Relax, rest, grab some beers, meet the locals, and relive the high points of the most intrepid safari in Africa and of your life!!

Day 12 Monday: Departure Final Day

Today you fly triumphant back to Brazzaville. Our guide will deposit you comfortably at Hotel Safir, where you can catch up on internet, celebrate your last night with some vivid Congo nightlife, or otherwise relax. 

Alternatively, relive the highlights of your expedition and stop at local markets for last minute gifts. Enjoy a casual drive through town before your transfer to the airport. International Flights can be planned to leave on the late afternoon to evening of Monday or after.

END OF SERVICES

    • Our overland tours include all transport, permits, entrance fees, taxes, 4x4 with a/c, and accommodation in safari-style lodges, villages, and tourist hotels (where applicable) in civilization. 
    • For the wilderness element of this trip, tents and kit are used. 
    • Alcoholic drinks are extra. Food is included for the trek and in the jungle, but not in the cities. (budget $280+)
    • 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.
    • Provisions, Porters, Staffing, Safety, Cooks, Guides, and Kit 
    • (Note: You do not carry your bags unless you want to.)
    • SAMPLE MENU BELOW (not all items guaranteed)
    • Boiled Fish
    • Corned Beef Canned
    • Smoked Fish (lots of these in past Tele trips so far, and are a hit!)
    • Rice
    • Foufou (African starch meal)
    • Macaroni
    • Manioc (African staple)
    • Pate d'arachide (local peanut butter/treenut butter) - number one most popular item our trekkers like thus far.)
    • Biscuits/Cookies
    • Chocolate Spread
    • Soup Stock
    • Vegetable cooking oil
    • Onions
    • Sugar
    • Tomato Sauce
    • Soap
    • Salt
    • Coffee
    • Tea
    • Garlic
    • Milk
    • Napkins
    • Toilet Paper
    • Flashlights
    • Lantern backups
    • Solar Charger 
    • Water Filter and Lifestraw
    • Batteries
    • Snake Bike & Medical Kit
    • Fishing Line
    • Knives and Defensive Spears if/where needed

Note* This tour is not possible due to rain from June to October

Note** Beware of scams copying or re-selling this tour. There are at least 4 identified fake operators who have taken the money of clients CTT has rejected or denied to book and who had then found locals who promised the permits and program and vanished.