Western Lowland Gorilla

While most of us are somewhat familiar with the magnificent Mountain Gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda, their smaller relatives – the Western Lowland Gorillas, that inhabit a broad swathe of the remote central and west African rainforests are far less so. In addition to their smaller size, their auburn chests and wider skulls make them distinctive enough to be considered a separate species by most taxonomic authorities, although this fact still remains hotly contested! Like all gorillas, they are highly communal with a very complex social system, and are rather intelligent animals.

Despite inhabiting some of the most remote and least populous areas of Africa, they sadly continue to decline due to poaching, gradual habitat loss and also disease. Furthermore, the areas where they inhabit are difficult to access and the animals themselves tend to be shy. A few locations do however exist where Western Lowland Gorilla can be seen and include the incredible reserves of Dzanga-Sangha in the Central African Republic and Odzala-Kokoua in the Republic of the Congo. Both of these fabulous locations offer, without question, phenomenal opportunities of spending time with these awe-inspiring animals, far away from the crowds, within a vast wilderness.

Both Dzanga-Sangha and Odzala-Kokoua are remarkable places and are fairly similar in their wildlife make-up with notable species diversity. They are also more importantly safe for visiting and are easily accessed via regular charter flights from central hubs. These sites hold an exceptional 17 species of primate; while famous forest clearings or ‘bais’ are legendary place to spend time waiting and watching for other gems such as Forest Elephant, Forest Buffalo, Sitatunga, Red River and Giant Forest Hogs and even the stunning Bongo. Other mammals among a truly mouth-watering list found in the area include Congo Clawless Otter, African Palm Civet, Beecroft’s Anomalure, African Golden Cat, Long-tailed and Tree Pangolins and monkeys like De Brazza’s, Putty-nosed, Crowned Guenon, Guereza Colobus and Agile Mangabey to name just a few. This is unquestionably one of the most exciting mammal watching areas on the planet, and that doesn’t even touch on the birding and other wildlife of the region!

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