Viewing of birds and mammals in tropical forests anywhere in the world can be challenging. The dense environment and slow-going through the undergrowth means that a great guide with a comprehensive knowledge of behaviour and calls is essential to get the best sightings. Odzala is blessed as a result of containing numerous habitats, from dense primary forest to forest fringe, savannah, wide, languid rivers and forest bais and salines. As a result diversity is high and the rivers and bais in particular allow the ‘green curtain’ of the forest to be pulled back and allow our guests an insight into this spectacular ecosystem.
While many of our visitors will no doubt be attracted principally by the opportunity to observe Western Lowland Gorillas, this giant ape that shares more than 97% of its DNA with humans, is not the only inhabitant of the forest and its bais. Below we describe the quality of sightings of a few of the key species likely to be encountered on an Odzala expedition.
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Western lowland gorilla
A number of habituated groups of this species are accessible in the Ndzehi area from Ngaga Camp. Sightings in two bais that are accessed on each trip are regular and provide the opportunity for an entirely different kind of gorilla encounter.
This is one of the more visible primate species in Odzala and is seen in the M’boko and Lango areas, as well as along the Lenkeni and Lekoli Rivers. It is also a regular visitor to the forest bais, including three that we visit on a regular basis.
Another fairly visible species that is regularly seen in the forests around M’boko especially in the early morning.
Although difficult to observe for long periods of time, this colourful species is fairly regularly seen in mature forest.
Bulls of this species are regularly seen in the M’boko area, both in the savannah and forest fringe as well as along the Lekoli River. Small family groups are less often seen.
This charismatic species is abundant and is commonly seen in the M’boko and Lango areas and especially at Lango and Mbouebe Bais, along the Lekoli River and in the savannah.
This exciting forest species is resident in the area around Lango Camp and although primarily nocturnal is regularly seen, either as single animals or in a small herd of about 6 animals. It is also occasionally seen at one of the bais that is visited on most expeditions to Odzala.
Agile Mangabey, De Brazza’s Monkey, Allen’s Swamp Monkey, Crowned Monkey and Putty-Nosed Monkey are all regularly seen in their preferred habitats and visitors to Odzala should see a number of these species during their trip. Western Chimpanzee are regularly heard in the M’boko and Lango areas as well as along the Lekoli River but are not habituated and are seldom seen except during rare appearances at two of the bais that most trips to Odzala visit.
This is a resident species in the area around Lango Camp and is regularly seen, especially at the bai near Camp.
Black -fronted Duiker
This is the most regularly-seen forest duiker species since it visits the open bais and can therefore be easily observed.
Red River Hog, Harnessed Bushbuck, Grey Duiker and Peters’ Duiker are regularly seen in the M’boko and Lango areas while a number of other forest duiker are occasionally encountered but are difficult to observe (Blue, Yellow-backed, White-bellied and Bay Duiker). Another exciting species occasionally seen after dark is the Water Chevrotain. Hippo occur in the Lekoli River but are secretive and rare.