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Exploring Tourism in Congo, Democratic Republic
Congo, Democratic Republic
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Sightseeing Packages Details

Okapi Wildlife Reserve Tour

Okapi Wildlife Reserve Tour Packages
Country: Congo, Democratic Republic
City: Kinshasa
Duration: 1 Day(s) - 0 Night(s)
Tour Category: Full Day Tours

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The Okapi Wildlife Reserve occupies about one-fifth of the Ituri forest in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congo river basin, of which the reserve and forest are a part, is one of the largest drainage systems in Africa. The reserve contains threatened species of primates and birds and about 5,000 of the estimated 30,000 okapis surviving in the wild. It also has some dramatic scenery, including waterfalls on the Ituri and Epulu rivers. The reserve is inhabited by traditional nomadic pygmy Mbuti and Efe hunters.

The Okapi Wildlife Reserve, established in 1992 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1996, helps protect the habitat of the okapi and preserve rare plant and animal life, as well as the lifestyle and culture of indigenous people. The Reserve encompasses 13,700 square kilometers (1.5 times the area of Yellowstone National Park) of the Ituri Forest – one of the most important centers of plant and animal diversity in Africa – in the northeastern portion of the DRC.

The largest population of okapi, forest elephants, and chimpanzees in DRC, along with 13 species of primates, leopard, forest buffalo, bongo antelope, water chevrotain, and a wide variety of birds and insects, are among the wildlife harbored in the Reserve.

The Ituri Forest is also the cultural center of the Mbuti and Efe pygmies, among the last true “forest people” left on Earth. They are true hunter-gatherers and deep forest-dwellers living traditional lifestyles as they have for centuries, perhaps millennia. Through trade and association with neighboring cultivation communities like the Bantu, their activities generally enrich the overall composition of the forest by providing pockets of secondary vegetation a source of plants on which the okapi feed.

The Okapi Conservation Project’s presence in the region and its role as a coordinator and supporter of the Reserve has helped to provide stability for the Mbuti and Efe pygmies to continue to live off the bounty of the forest as they have for thousands of years.

Okapi Wildlife Reserve contains flora of outstanding diversity and provides refuge to numerous endemic and threatened species, including one-sixth of the existing Okapi population. The Reserve protects one-fifth of the Ituri forest, a Pleistocene refuge dominated by dense evergreen « Mbau » and humid semi-evergreen forests, combined with swamp forests that grow alongside the waterways, and clearings called locally Edos,and inselbergs.

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