Central Africa

Central Africa is a region of Africa that straddles the Equator and is drained largely by the Congo River system.  The Congo Basin, which makes up one of the most important and least explored wilderness areas left on earth, reaches across 500 million acres. As the second largest tropical forest, after the Amazon, the Congo Basin spans across six countries, Central African Republic (CAR), the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

For intrepid travelers, this part of Africa holds much to be discovered. Tracking the western lowland gorillas and forest elephants on foot and setting out on the water systems makes for a unique safari itinerary.  If you like being where few have ventured, this is worth looking into.  Tourism is developing and access is difficult, so you will need to plan at least two or more weeks to adventure in Central Africa.  

You can combine two UNESCO World Heritage sites in this magnificent sphere – the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the northwest of the Republic of the Congo, and Sangha Trinational, a collaborative protected area from the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Central African Republic. Within the Sangha Trinational is Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve. Lodges found here are within the tropical rainforest ecosystem with rich fauna and flora, including the critically endangered western lowland gorilla, forest elephant, forest buffalo, and bongo to name but a few.

Gabon is a diverse and stable eco-tourism destination, great for nature lovers looking for virgin and unspoiled territories. Wildlife rich forests cover 88% of Gabon’s landmass, its vast picturesque coastline is predominantly wild and unspoiled, and its inland and coastal waters teem with myriad species of fish, reptiles, and marine mammals. A rare and exotic tropical gem, tourism in Gabon remains relatively undeveloped.

Just 125 miles off the coast of Gabon, in the Gulf of Guinea, are the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe.  These undiscovered gems offer a rich cultural heritage, lush and unique biodiversity, deluxe accommodations, meaningful experiences, and organic agriculture for culinary journeys.

Central Africa Cameroon Chad N'Djamena Bangui Brazzaville Kinshasa Luanda Malabo Libreville Yaoundé Lobéké National Park Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park Dzanga-Ndoki National Park Angola Gabon Equatorial Guinea São Tomé and Príncipe Central African Republic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo Indian Ocean South Atlantic Ocean Odzala-Kokoua National Park Loango National Park Ivindo National Park Lekoli River Sangha River TRIDOM Transfrontier Park Congo River Lope-Okanda National Park Pongara National Park
Central Africa Highlights


These suggested itineraries will give you some idea of the adventures that are possible in these remote and least explored areas on our planet.  Come to experience the raw beauty, unfathomable scale and conservation importance while contributing to a positive impact for its future.   

The Chocolate Islands

Sample Itinerary


Day 1                  São Tomé     

You will be met on arrival in São Tomé and transferred to Omali Lodge. São Tomé is the larger and more developed island where you can shop at the markets and get a dose of city energy.

Omali Lodge is perfectly situated close to the airport, the capital center, and the beach. Omali, meaning ocean and source of life, is renowned for its wonderful garden and grounds, a quiet place to relax in, especially by the pool.


1 Night at Omali Lodge on a full-board basis including classic room accommodation, all meals, all house drinks including tea & coffee, airport transfers, and Wi-Fi.



Day 2               Principe & Explore the Cacao Route

You will fly to the island of Príncipe by a 35-minute scenic flight over the Gulf of Guinea. Príncipe Island is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, a global program to foster the conservation of biological and cultural diversity and promote economic development. High end, sustainable tourism is a key driver of the economy here in this unspoiled land that time forgot. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to Roça Sundy. You will spend the next few days exploring the rich cultural history with land and water activities. Beach time and relaxation are also on the agenda.

There’s no better way to understand Príncipe’s agricultural past than this curated ‘tree-to-table’ experience, which vividly brings the island’s chocolate story to life. During a visit to an agroforestry plantation and small-batch chocolate factory, you’ll learn the secrets of the drying process, and taste a range of delicious, cacao-packed treats.


3 Nights at Roça Sundy on a full-board basis including eclipse yard room accommodation, all meals, all house drinks including tea & coffee, one daily half-day guided experience, and Wi-Fi.



Day 3      Boat Trip to the Bay of Needles

With prehistoric phonolite towers which rise dramatically from the landscape, Baía das Agulhas, or the Bay of Needles, is a geographical wonder. Take a boat trip to this otherworldly bay, within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and on the edge of the Parque Natural do Príncipe, to swim and snorkel.



Day 4       Oquê Pipi Waterfall

Trek through the rainforest in the Parque Natural do Príncipe to the island’s largest waterfall, Oquê Pipi, for a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear natural pool. As you hike, an expert guide shares their knowledge of Príncipe’s unique wildlife, while looking out for birds and elusive civets.  The birdlife here includes at least 27 endemic species, while the famous Galapagos holds 21 in an area that is eight times larger!



Day 5    Cultural Drive to Sundy Praia

Following breakfast at Roça Sundy, you will embark on a half-day tour of Principe with lunch in Santo Antonio, the world's smallest capital city. Soak up tropical scenery on this culture-packed driving adventure, which passes through many of Príncipe’s historic roças, stopping off to see local artisans at work, such as ecopreneur Bela de Pina, who crafts jewelry from glass bottles. You will then be transferred to Sundy Praia. Over the next three days you will be able to explore the rainforest, beaches, and Lost City Trail. You will also have plenty of time to stroll along the beach and relax.

Described as Heaven on Earth, Sundy Praia is nestled in the forest, only steps away from the beach. Each villa is built with natural eco-friendly materials, with spacious areas and all the comforts only places built with a warm soul can offer. All villas are en-suite with a lounge and wraparound terrace area.


4 Nights at Sundy Praia on a full board basis including accommodation in a one-bedroom villa, all meals, all house drinks including tea & coffee, one daily half-day experience, one 30-minute welcome massage, airport transfers, and Wi-Fi.



Day 6 – Rainforest to Beach & Turtle Nesting

Beginning at Roça Sundy, meander through historic forests before emerging at a secret, nestled beach for a specially prepared delectable surprise. Afterwards enjoy a dip in the ocean, before taking a stroll along the coast to Sundy Praia.


Join Fundação Principe to see first-hand the sea turtle nesting activity that happens on Praia Grande Beach at this time of year.  Three species of sea turtles come here – Hawksbill, Green, and Leatherback – every night from December to April to lay their eggs in the deep sand. 



Day 7       Explore the Northeast Beaches

Journey by boat across glittering turquoise waters to the enchanting beaches of Príncipe’s northeastern coast, including photogenic Praia Banana and Praia Boi.  On the way, visit a small fishing village to learn about age-old traditions and day-to-day life on the island.



Day 8       The Lost City Trail

Walk from Praia Sundy through the jungle to wonder at the atmospheric, abandoned remains of Príncipe’s first settlement, Ribeira Izé. Here, the crumbling stone ruins of its Catholic Church still stand, tangled between gnarled ceiba tree roots. Afterwards amble along the beach, Praia Mocotó, and enjoy a cooling ocean swim.



Day 9     São Tomé

You will fly back to São Tomé to connect with your international flight.

Additional Information


Extensions - We recommend combining this itinerary with Portugal (which offers good flight connections). Duffle & Compass will work with you to create a custom-tailored itinerary.

Weather – Recommended travel during the months of January, June through September, December. Temperatures average in the mid-80s during the day at low-70s at night.


Contact us for further details.

11-Night Odzala Discovery


Day 1       Brazzaville to Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Your adventure begins with your arrival into Maya-Maya Airport in Brazzaville. You will be met by the ground team and assisted to your scheduled flight to Odzala. After landing in Mboko, you will be transferred by road to Ngaga Camp, a three-hour drive through the Odzala-Kokoua National Park.  Ngaga Camp will be your home for the next four nights. 

This is home to the Western Lowland Gorilla research team who has spent the past few decades in this forest. As a focal point for world-class primate research, this is an excellent place for unforgettable primate encounters. You will meet the research team, have dinner and hit the pillow!   

4 Nights at Ngaga Camp in a luxury en-suite forest chalet


Days 2, 3 & 4       Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Your days begin with gorilla tracking with a guide and tracker from the team. After lunch you’ll have some time to relax in the afternoons before taking guided forest walks. Evenings will be for enjoying river sundowners, dinners, and nocturnal forest walks. 


Days 5, 6, 7 & 8       Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Travel by road through Mbomo village to Mboko Camp for lunch. Continue onward to Lango Camp via a kayak trip on the Lekoli River. Get settled here for the next four nights. The camp offers great views of the Lango Baï where herds of Forest Buffalo and Forest Elephants congregate. You will have opportunities to do guided walks through baï, wading through streams and walking on the forest edges. Night drives will also be on offer.

4 Nights at Lango Camp in an en-suite forest chalet


Day 9       Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Enjoy breakfast overlooking the baï after a guided walk. Later this morning you will game drive through the park to Mboko Camp arriving in time for lunch. Explore the forest on a guided walk this afternoon.  Later you will have a river cruise.

3 Night at Mboko Camp in an en-suite river chalet


Days 10 & 11       Odzala-Kokoua National Park

These two days will begin with either guided morning kayaks and swims in the Lekoli River or walks to Mbouebe bai. After lunch, you will enjoy a forest walk and sundowner river cruise.


Day 12       Odzala-Kokoua National Park to Brazzaville

Fly from Mboko to Brazzaville’s Maya-Maya Airport. From here, connect with your onward flight or stay in Brazzaville and soak up the city atmosphere.

2023 Prices

$19,900 per person sharing

Contact us for further information on SOLO (traveling alone) & SINGLE (traveling as a single with others) rates.


Prices Include:  

Accommodation, meals, house wines, beers, spirits, water, soft drinks, airport assistance, Brazzaville city tour including lunch, Congo letter of invitation fee, medical evacuation, community fees, park fees, laundry, all other fees, limited internet access, 2 Odzala gorilla tracking permits, scheduled flights as indicated, road and water transfers as indicated.


Prices Exclude: 

International air, gratuities, passport and visa fees, travel insurance, premium brand spirits, connoisseur wine and champagne, any pre- or post- safari accommodation, meals or activities not included in the itinerary, and items of a personal nature.


Additional Information:

Arrival & Departure – This itinerary begins and ends in Brazzaville.  We recommend international arrivals one day prior.  Overnight stays can be arranged pre- or post-safari.  International departures must be late night or the following day.

Travel Dates – Your trip must be coordinated with scheduled flights on Mondays and Thursdays. 

10-night Option – $18,545 per person sharing (includes 3 gorilla treks and stays at Ngaga for 4 nights, Lango for 3 nights, and Mboko for 3 nights)

7-night Option – $13,785 per person sharing (includes 2 gorilla treks and stays at Ngaga for 3 nights, Lango for 2 nights, and Mboko for 2 nights)

Contact us for further details.

4-Night Sangha Venture


Days 1, 2, 3 & 4       Odzala-Kokoua National Park to Dzanga-Sangha National Park

Your adventure will begin upon completion of the 7-Night Odzala Discovery. After breafkast at Mboko camp, you will fly to Kabo. From here, you will be transferred to a boat for the four to six-hour journey up the Sangha River. This reserve is largely unpopulated and supports a range of pristine eco-systems. You will arrive at Sangha Lodge, nestled along the Sangha River. This will be your home base for the next four nights. Your days will be filled with gorilla tracking, guided forest walks and net hunting members of the Ba’Aka community. You may choose to work on the building of huts or learn about medicinal plants. You will meet the pangolin researchers and protectors and venture forth to discover nocturnal life one evening. Spend time on the research platform of the Dzanga Baï observing the diverse wildlife activity. Another day you will walk through the Valley of the Giants - some of the tallest trees in the Congo Basin and then hike to the waterfalls.

4 Nights at Sangha Lodge in an en-suite river chalet


Day 5       Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Today you will begin the boat journey downstream the Sangha River via Bayanga to Kabo. You will then departure on a scheduled flight to Odzala-Kokoua National Park, landing at Mboko airstrip. Stretch your legs on an afternoon guided forest walk followed by a sundowner on the Lekoli River.  

1 Night at Mboko Camp in an en-suite river chalet (not included in the itinerary price)


Day 6       Brazzaville

Fly from Mboko to Brazzaville’s Maya-Maya Airport and connect with your onward flight or stay in Brazzaville and soak up the city atmosphere.

2023 Prices

Please contact us regarding the current price of this itinerary.


Prices Include:

Accommodation at Sangha Lodge for 4 nights, meals, house wine, beer & spirits, limited laundry, limited Wi-Fi, roundtrip charter flight from Odzala to Kabo, and a 4-hour roundtrip boat journey on the Sangha River (with remote immigration posts along the riverbanks) with a private Odzala guide.


Prices Exclude: 

International air, gratuities, passport and visa fees, travel insurance, premium brand spirits and wine and champagne, any pre- or post- safari accommodation, meals or activities not included in the itinerary, and items of a personal nature.


Additional Information:

The Sangha Venture is a 4-night add on to the 7-Night Odzala Discovery. Available only for Thursday departures. The venture makes use of the charter flights between Mboko and Kabo (near the CAR border) on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Arrival & Departure – This itinerary begins and ends in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. An overnight at Mboko Camp is required at the end of the venture to connect with flights to Brazzaville on Monday.

Travel Dates – Your trip will begin on a Thursday and end on a Monday.


The Congo Basin, which makes up one of the most important and least explored wilderness areas left on earth, reaches across 500 million acres. For intrepid travelers, this part of Africa holds much to be discovered. Camps and lodges are generally operated by conservation-minded heroes and researchers.  Comfortable accommodations and exhilarating activities await those who want to venture here.

Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Republic of the Congo

Maya-Maya International Airport in the capital city of Brazzaville is the starting point for all Congo Basin adventures.

Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Located in the remote north-west of Republic of the Congo, is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, established in 1935. Covering over 5,250 square miles of pristine rainforests, savannahs and rivers this area plays an integral part of the Congo Basin and TRIDOM Transfrontier Park (overlapping Gabon, Congo, and Cameroon) – the lungs of Africa. Here is one of the world’s last intact eco-systems, a haven for the Western Lowland Gorilla, Forest Elephant, Bongo and many primates and birds.

Photo: Congo Conservation Co.

Ngaga Camp

Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Ngaga Camp is in the Ndzehi Forest on the western boundary just outside of Odzala-Kokoua National Park. This is home to the Western Lowland Gorilla research team who has spent the past few decades in this forest.  As a focal point for world-class primate research, this is an excellent place for unforgettable primate encounters.  The entire camp is elevated on a boardwalk in the midst of this pristine rainforest. The six chalets are constructed with local materials and modern facilities and feature 360° views from their wraparound decks.  Activities include forest walks, night drives and village visits

Photo: Congo Conservation Co.

Mboko Camp

Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Located inside the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Mboko Camp sits along the Likeni River.  There are 12 wood-and-thatch chalets, two of them are family units set along the river.  There is a spacious main area with dining room, lounge, bar and star deck overlooking the wide-open grasslands. Activities here are a combination of walking, boating, day and night game drives.

Photo: Congo Conservation Co.

Lango Camp

Odzala-Kokoua National Park

Situated on the edge of Lango Bai in the south-central part of the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Lango Camp offers the most arresting views of any camp in Africa. A magnetic attraction for huge flocks of Green Pigeons and African Grey Parrots as well as herds of Forest Buffalo and Forest Elephants, wraparound walkways and elevated chalets maximize the views.  The six treehouse chalets are built on stilts overlooking the bai (swamp environment providing mineral and food for forest elephants).  The main activity here is watching the action unfold at the bai, guided wading through streams, walking along the edges of forest areas, day and night game drives.  No Wi-Fi here so prepare to be off the grid.

Sangha Trinational Protected Area

Central African Republic (CAR)

Sangha Trinational Protected Area

This enormous area of almost 2,900 miles spans three crucial protected areas: Lobéké National Park in Cameroon, Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in Central African Republic, and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in Republic of the Congo. Largely unpopulated, this region supports a range of pristine eco-systems and is abundant in life.

Photo: Jacha Potgieter

Sangha Lodge

Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve

The lodge is situated near the geographical heart of Africa with seven chalets overlooking the Sangha River. Built with immense passion for conservation, by Rod and Tamar Cassidy, Sangha Lodge is now managed by them and their son. The Dzanga Bai is the main attraction.  Masses of elusive Forest Elephant congregate here making it an ideal place to observe their social behavior and interactions.  Guests can also track Western Lowland Gorillas, spend time with the Ba’Aka net hunting, walk through the Valley of Giants, kayak and explore hidden waterfalls. 

Travel Information

When to go to Central Africa

Much of Central Africa is a rainforest, so expect a tropical climate year-round.  Depending on your destination, some months may be warmer or wetter than others.


Passport & Visa

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the date of your return.  Travelers must make sure that their passport contains at least one blank pages for visa and immigration stamps for each country on their itinerary.  A visa is required for many Central African countries, but not all.  Once your itinerary is set, Duffle & Compass will confirm the details of what you will needed.


Medical Information

Before traveling to Africa, please consult with your physician. An International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever is required by many countries.  You will likely need a malaria prophylaxis.  If you are gorilla tracking, you will need a doctor’s certification that you are healthy and fit for the activity.  You will also be asked to submit confirmation of polio and measles vaccinations.   Once your itinerary is set, Duffle & Compass will confirm the details of what you will need.