• Adam Bannister

Reliving A Journey Into The Congo

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

Originally posted on https://angama.com/leaving-out-the-dull-parts-blog

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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