Salonga national park is positioned in the heart of the Congo River basin in the Democratic republic of Congo, the park is the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park and the largest in Africa actually bigger than some countries in the world it covers an area of 36,000 kilometers squared.
Salonga national park was first established In 1933 as a nature reserve then in 1956 as Tshaupa national park and later gained its boundaries with a presidential decree in1970 and made a world heritage site in 1984 but was however listed a world heritage site in danger in 1998 as a result of civil wars and illegal poaching, the park was described by law as une reserve naturally instagrale in the sense of the 1993 London convention, the park is separated by a 40 kilometers settlement zone dividing the park into two parts the north and southern sector.
Salonga national park is crossed by many rivers at the central basin of the Congo river, the park is situated in Africa’s un touched wilderness remoteness and can only be accessed by water or air transport but despite its remote state it’s worth visiting this gem of Congo with diverse endangered species.
Salonga national park is characterized by Marsh swamps, rivers, plateau and rainforests. The north sector of the park is in the equator province and south sector is in the Ksai and Bandudu. The different landscapes of the park cover each their own unique distinct vegetation. The park received an annual rainfall of about 1,700 mm per year.
Poaching activities and civil wars have led to the decline of the park, however the park is now regaining its natural state and has been divided into six sectors with each sector having a ranger station and patrol posts, some of the parts of this park are completely virgin and have never been accessed by man. It’s also said to be having 40% of the world’s Bonobo population.
Activities at Salonga national park
The diversity of the salonga national park supports various wildlife some of which are endemic to this area or the Congo basin examples of animals seen are; the dwarf chimpanzees, Congo water civet, golden cat, giant ground pangolins, leopards, elephants, tree pangolins, duikers, Angolan mongoose, pygmy cape Buffalo, Sitatunga, bonobo, dwarf crocodile, wolf monkey, Okapi, red River hog, side stripped jackal, golden bellied Mangebay, red colobus monkey, black colobus monkey, Allen’s swamp monkey, potto monkey, mono monkey, white rhinoceros, dwarf bush baby, thollon red colobus and dryad monkey among the rest.
Bird watching can also be done at the Salonga national park over 300 species is have been recorded and half of this birds are this areas residents some sbirds found at the park are; Congo peacock, black stork, cattle egret, Congo peacock,yellow billed stork, grey parrot, palm but vulture, black bellied bustard and many more.
A part from wildlife, those interested in aquatic life can go on a fishing safari at in e of the Parks Rivers, travelers are advised to always come with their fishing gears to carry out this activity. The park is said to be having over 400 species of fish.
Tourists can explore more of the wilderness by going for a hunting experience safari and his should be done with an armed game ranger guide.
The park has got the native people of the iyalima people who have very unique ways of life and culture are worth visiting and interacting with.
Nature guided walks
How to get there
The park is located just 100 kilometers from South of Boende in between Kisangani and Kinshasa the park can be accessed by domestic charter flights from Monkoto, Anga and Mundja airstrips that fly direct to the park.
When to visit
The park is wet almost throughout the year but the best time to visit is in the drier months from June to August when there are no floods and vegetation is not very thick hence clearer views of wildlife.
Where to stay
Where to Saturday will vary according to tourists choice or budget accommodation tents, bandas and luxurious bandas.