Welcome to Salonga National Park consists of pristine rain forest located about halfway between Kisangani and Kinshasa (Congo’s capital city). The park is accessible only by River because there are no roads accessing the Park. It also consists of various minor rivers such as Lokoro river which flows through the centre and the Park’s northern direction and the Lura river in the South and still in the southern direction of the Park is dominated by ‘’Iyaelima people’’. The Park is known as the largest tropical rain forest in Africa stretching over 36,000 square kilometers and it extends into the provinces of Equateur, Kasai, Mai Ndombe and Sankuru. It is also located within the Congo River basin.
The Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 and due to the civil war in the eastern half of the country the Park was therefore added to the List of World Heritage sites in Danger in 1999. The park is co-managed by the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature ever since 2015. An intense collaboration exists between the park rangers and the Iyaelima as Iyaelima villages are used as guard posts and it is known that the bonobo densities are highest around Iyaelima villages thus indicating that the local people cause no threat to the park’s emblematic species.
The Park is one of the few national parks residing the endangered great ape of Congo known as the bonobo or pygmy chimpanzee or can also be called the gracile chimpanzee. It is believed that the bonobos are more social and closer to people than the common eastern chimpanzees thus visitors to the Park will get a great experience of viewing the bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees). Other notable wildlife species in the Park are; hippopotamuses, dryas monkeys, okapis, Sitatunga, Thollon’s red Colobus, long-tailed pangolins, bush pigs, giant pangolins, yellow-backed duikers, bush bucks, water chevrotains, African golden cats, tree pangolins, forest buffaloes, among others. Numerous bird species can be spotted from the Park including; black storks, cattle egrets, yellow-billed storks. During your cultural encounters you will meet and interact with the Iyaelima people thus getting a great experience from your safari.