- Set out on a pioneering journey to visit the world's rarest great ape, the bonobo
- Meet these remarkable and endangered primates face to face at Yola La Bonobo
- Join an expedition up the Lomako River, into the heart of the Congolese rainforest
- Gain a privileged insight into the work of African Wildlife Foundation researchers
Join Steppes on a pioneering 13-day journey deep into the Congolese rainforest, in search of some of the planet’s most elusive primates. Alongside researchers from the African Wildlife Foundation, track bonobos and encounter them amidst the jungle of the Lomako Forest Reserve.
Sleeping in tents and dining on simple meals, this expedition is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards are immense, spending time in the Lomako Conservation Science Centre and meet up with the researchers from the African Wildlife Foundation. Spending days days deep in the jungle to search for the bonobos and – in small groups – try to get as close as is safe to these remarkable creatures. Spend time observing the troop, watching as they play, eat and move through the jungle. Eventually, leave these elusive primates behind and begin the journey back to civilisation.
LOLA YA BONOBO
Begin with a visit to the renowned Lola Ya Bonobo. Meaning ‘paradise for bonobos’, this remarkable refuge is the world’s only sanctuary for orphaned bonobos. The animals here have largely been recovered from black market dealers. Now home to over 60 individuals, the sanctuary is dedicated to programs of education and reintroduction.
Meet some of the bonobos that live at Lola Ya Bonobo – have the chance to come face to face with these remarkable creatures. Learn about the care they receive here and how the rehabilitation program works.
Fly to Basankusu and set off by pirogue, deep into the forests of the D.R.C. This challenging and lengthy journey is necessary to reach one of the only places where wild bonobos survive - Lomako Forest Reserve.
Continue the following day by canoe and then on foot, trekking well beyond the reach of conventional tourism. Sleeping in tents and dining on simple meals, this expedition is not for the faint of heart. Eventually, reach the Lomako Conservation Science Centre and meet up with the researchers from the African Wildlife Foundation.
Accompanied by researchers, spend two full days deep in the jungle, away from the conservation centre. Search for the bonobos and – in small groups – try to get as close as is safe to these remarkable creatures. Spend time observing the troop, watching as they play, eat and move through the jungle. Eventually, leave these elusive primates behind and begin the journey back to civilisation.
WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE?
Very simple tents, pitched in the rainforest, in addition to comfortable hotels in Kinshasa.
What happens on a typical day?
Depending on where the bonobos have nested, get up in the dark, have a coffee and then walk to where the bonobos nested the previous evening. Wait until dawn and listen to their early morning chorus. If the bonobos have nested four kilometres away, this might involve getting up at 3.30am to reach them by 5am. Alternatively, if they are only a kilometre away, waking up can be delayed by an hour.
Expect to be back at the campsite by about 8am or 9am, depending on how things pan out. Have breakfast and then spend the late morning and early afternoon relaxing. After the early start, this is a welcome rest. Head out again at 3pm or 4pm. Follow the rangers and try to identify where the bonobos are nesting. Stay with them in the forest for a while, before returning to camp at dusk or in the dark. Depending on numbers, the group will be split into two or three smaller groups. This is done to minimise disruption to the bonobos.
What will the weather be like?
Hot and humid, with the chance of rain at any time. This is the heart of the Congo rainforests and you should be prepared.
Do you need to be fit?
Yes. The terrain is very challenging, muddy, swampy and thick with vegetation.
What wildlife will you see?
Hopefully bonobos, but the area is also home to the Congo peacock, along with giant pangolins, bongos, leopards and duikers. Whilst these are rarely seen, you never know!
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.