A good trip for those who want to get away from the cities on the coast, and into an area where nobody often treads, or for groups of friends who want to have a fun vacation together somewhere really different.
This tour starts and ends in Pointe Noire, and involves camping and river-riding. One of the best tours for nature-lovers and for those looking to have fun and see lots of faces of the country, including some of its animals and lots of its people. In Sara you will be treated to an eden with gazelles coming to drink in the morning at your doorstep and gorillas roaming around! One of the lesser-known treats of Congo.
What you should bring:
- some old shoes to be in the river and on the rocks
- good hiking shoes which are water proof.
- some slippers
- swimming clothes
- bed sheets
- a pocket knife
- a few flash lights
- some basic medication like plasters, stuff to disinfect wounds, antibiotics, paracetamol, some meds for diahrea, anti-histamines and DEET. Note that there are also plenty of pharmacies around.
- ear plugs (you'll be happy with them in noisy environments)
- brown soap to wash your clothes by hand in the jungle (if desired, or else enough clothing for 10 days)
- ziplocks to keep your documents and other things dry.
- anti-malaria medication
- a cheap cellphone and charger (in case you or your partner gets separated.)
- local cheap cigarettes that you can give to chiefs, guides and hunters. These small gestures can help you tremendously to get favors from people! Or else some small bottles of liquor as village gifts.
- alcohol-based liquid soap to clean your hands a few times a day
Have a look at your program! You're in for a treat far off the beaten path!
Day 1: Arrival in Pointe Noire
WST will wait for you at the airport and bring you to your hotel. Normally this will be hotel G. Marius, and if it's full it will be the India Palace. It's a 15 min drive from the city centre and in a calm neighborhood. You have the option to head to the beach or head to the bed!
Day 2: Diosso Gorge Hiking and Camping
After a pickup around 10 am, it's time for a tour at the Gran Marché (Grand Market.) Head next to the super surf and the beach bars of the "Wild Coast" (Cote Savage,) and grab some lunch and/or drinks on the coast overlooking the mighty Atlantic. Afterwards you'll get your luggage at the hotel and head to the village of Diosso. There you will meet your guide who will show you the Gorge and walk with you through the canyons and cliffs down and down to the beach of Matombi where you can swim and spend some time in the surf at the foot of the "Grand Canyon of the Congo." Afterwards, it's time for tents and campfires, which our guide will setup for you, and there is beer and sodas available. Spend the night under the stars.
Day 3: Diosso Village and Public School Visit
After our hiking guide whips you up some breakfast, you'll get a charming tour in the village. You can have your gear locked up in the bar if you wish this morning. Next visit the public school and meet the students and teachers, and at noon you can have lunch in the village and meet more of the community. Say goodbye and you will return to Pointe Noire by arranged car, to arrive at the hotel around 13:00h.
This afternoon is off for exploring the city, relaxing, surfing (optional) and shopping to stock up for the long safari ahead.
Day 4: Mayombe Forest and River Rapids
Note: The programme for the following days may flex depending on weather conditions, but we will pack all of this in:
Our guide will pick you up in the early morning, and bring you to his hostel in Les Sara. Enjoy a nice meal and even try bush meat if you're so inclined.
Les Sara is a very beautiful and friendly village in the Mayombe forest, with a fantastic view. WST and our local partners will provision you a guide who will go into the forest with you, and afterwards you'll be cruising the river rapids for three hours by tiretube! to go back to the hostel. An amazing experience, and very pleasant and memorable.
If there's enough time left, ask to go visit the tree hut for some amazing scenery (only $5 per person, not covered.)
...and if you still have energy we'll be happy to send someone with you to go to the river or the forest in the late afternoon. In the night, you can order food again.
Day 5: Mayombe and Dolisie
Today you'll spend the day in the forest and in transit between Les Sara and Dolisie. In Congo the road conditions sometimes preclude predicting arrival times, and today it is all about the journey!
Day 6: Dolisie and Chez Wu
You'll spend the day in Dolisie, where our guide knows the city very well and will show you around. You'll visit the market and enjoy an optional lunch at Chez Wu, home of the illustrious Madame Wu, an immigrant family from Taiwan. though a bit expensive. Also take some time to try the streetfood and local delicacies.
Day 7: La Riviere Bleu
After fixing some coals to cook up some hearty meat or fish, we bring with you to Makabana. You'll go the route 4x4, as the roads get tough or non-existent today. Once you're there you'll visite 'La rivière blue'. A very beautiful river with transparent water. Here you can barbecue and take a boat on the river in the middle of the Congolese boatsman. You'll spend the night at Makabana.
Day 8: Divinie
You'll go to Divénie, near the Gabonese border. There are a lot of animals around and also gorillas.
WST will arrange trackers to attempt to see the gorillas. This can take some time, as most people are scared of them. But if you do plenty of hiking, you are going to see animals for sure!
THERE IS NO GUARANTEE YOU WILL SEE THE GORILLAS AND THIS ACTIVITY MAY OR MAY NOT BE EFFECTIVE. THERE IS A STROKE OF LUCK AND THE CONVENIENCE & COORDINATION OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY INVOLVED AND YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY REFUND, AT ALL, IF YOU DO NOT END UP GOING TRACKING AND DO NOT SEE THEM. PERIOD.
Afterwards you can see the market and the old red-brick church, where gorillas have also visited occasionally by surprise!
Day 9: Caves Exploration, and River Riding
You'll go visit some caves near Divénie and visit the Niari river, where our staff will commandeer you a boat to go on the river.
Day 10: Dimanie
Today you'll go visit Dimanie and see the waterfall, and hopefully fix a boat who will take you on the river. Today the main activity is go with hunters to see animals. (Don't worry, you won't go kill animals.) Hunters are the best skilled people to track animals, and you're in for a great time, and possibly some great photos!
Day 11: Haul back to Dolisie
You'll go back to Dolisie, the stop on the Congo-Ocean Railway built through the jungle by the French, and sleep in the hotel.
Day 12: Sossi
Today you'll go visit the village of Sossi, 15 kilometers from Dolisie and hidden in the mountains. It's very beautiful and you'll do a nice hike in the mountains to go see a small but beautiful waterfall. You can have a rest and swim. Afterwards you'll hike back and go back to Dolisie.
Day 13: Lake Nanga
Today you'll go to spend the day on the Louémé river just outside of Pointe-Noire. Our guide will go with you and our staff will pick you up at the hotel. You'll see Lac Nanga, various traditional villages near the river, and in the night you'll sleep in a village. Foods and drinks will be included, but bring some back up, especially water!
Day 14: Return to Pointe Noire
You will be brought back to the hotel and this will be the last day you'll see your guide. We'll garantuee you that at this point he will be like family to you and you'll miss him a lot. Give him a big hug! Transfer to your chosen hotel or location in Pointe Noire, and end of tour
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). 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.