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Reliving A Journey Into The Congo

26 March 2019 | East Africa Travel |

Reading Time: 6 MINUTES

Getting off the tourist track and into lesser-explored region of central Africa, Adam Bannister enjoyed the trip of a lifetime to the Republic of Congo

I was absolutely mortified that I had lost all these images. Normally I am meticulous with my filing, but on this occasion, I wasn’t. To be a professional photographer you have to set up a system to deal with thousands of images: backing up, cataloguing, and filing. You can only imagine how my heart sank when I thought they were gone. Fortunately, I found these photos hidden away in a folder a few days ago and so can at last reveal some of my magical moments and memories of a trip I took last year.

To visit any country in central Africa had always been a dream of mine. I have travelled extensively throughout southern and eastern Africa, but had never set foot in either the central or western parts of the continent. A trip to central Africa, together with a fantastic group of like-minded biologists, photographers and conservationists, was destined to be a winner.

Selfie image on cell phone

Group at Langa laugh

Congo: the word alone conjures up visions of exploration and adventure. However, it is also a word steeped in difficulty, unrest and hardship. For many, these negative connotations are enough to taint an entire region, and sadly tourism has not developed as it has in many other parts of Africa. It was exactly this that appealed to me and it was with butterflies in my stomach that I boarded my flight to the Republic of Congo.

aerial image congo

Tyler, one of the group members, and Angama’s Regional Director, has already written a detailed blog on this same trip so if you wish to read more detailed coverage, then do be sure to take a look.

What I wanted to give you was a sample of photographs that encapsulate just how extraordinary this trip, and indeed this country really was. Without a doubt, it was one of the best holidays I have ever had.

Gorilla in tree

Elephant and river

Elephant and river trunk up

Elephant and river frontal

Boys and cameras

In addition to being an absolute mecca for wildlife lovers, it is phenomenal when it comes to experiences – be it walking, driving, kayaking, boating, or simply relaxing – the options are fantastic. My senses were in continual overdrive as I absorbed this foreign landscape, exploring a different element of the forest every day. Everything happens under the watchful eye of knowledgeable and well-trained guides, while staying in the complete comfort of the Odzala Discovery Camps. There are few places as wild and remote as Odzala-Kokoua National Park.

Odzala car

kayaking into sun

Liam and Adam

Group of boys

I have been fortunate to have lived and worked in South America’s Amazon forest, both in Ecuador and Peru. I could see subtle similarities between these forests, but was continually surprised at how ‘friendly’ the Congo forest was. Of course, there are insects and it was hot and humid, but it was not nearly as intense as I had expected. I can happily say that if you are someone who enjoys action, adventure and getting off the tourist trail, then it is well worth considering a trip to Odzala.

In this specific location I feel that video better captures the mood and energy, and so I would like to end with a short video I made of our trip to the Republic of Congo – enjoy.

Adam in swamp

AUTHOR: Adam Bannister

A South African-trained biologist, safari guide, author, filmmaker and photographer, Adam is, above all else, a gifted storyteller. After spending the past 10 years working in some of the world’s most beautiful wild places – the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, Rajasthan in India, Brazil’s Pantanal, and the rainforests of Manu National Park in Peru – he is delighted to share his stories of one of the loveliest game reserves of them all, the Maasai Mara.

Bob Keyser
March 26, 2019

Well done Adam. Seems you may have made a lot of us want to visit, but made me think of our day shooting near Angama. Love the blog.

    Nicky Fitzgerald
    March 26, 2019

    Thanks so much Bob for the words. I really am very lucky to be able to call the Mara home and to travel so extensively. Thanks for following along – warm regards. Adam

Garth Johnson
March 26, 2019

Wow, wonderful. Just watched with my grandchildren and they were transfixed watching the video. Thanks Adam

Francis C. Bagbey
March 26, 2019

Well, I’m probably too trapped in those images you mentioned that come to mind with the word “Congo”. Maybe “some day” I’ll say “What the hell” to myself and go, somehow overcoming images of leeches, ravenous insects, snakes, and suffocating heat and humidity. Thanks for the great pictures and the enthusiasm of your journey.

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