The Republic of Congo, close neighbour of conflict-hit Democratic Republic of Congo, has been ranked 39th among the 46 places to go in 2013 by the New York Times newspaper.
In its ‘46 places to go in 2013’ travel report which comprises cities and countries, the US-based publication called the politically-stable central African nation ‘Africa’s newest safari destination’ which has not been on the top of anyone’s travel list until recently.
One of the country’s best touristic spots, the Nouabalé Ndoki National Park – a site full of gorillas and elephants – was declared a national heritage by UNESCO in 2012. Some of best places to visit in Congo include the caves of the Nyanga-Louesse and Nkila Ntari in Niari and Bouenza, respectively, and the Falls of Niari, Mpama and Lihouesso.
The US-based publication said another reason adventure travellers are heading to the country is to meet members of the indigenous B’Aka Pygmy tribes who often serve as gorilla trackers.
The New York Times quoted Congo’s travel operator pioneer Leslie Nevison of Congo Wildlife Adventures as saying in an email: “It’s not an easy trip but it’s an incredible privilege to experience the Republic of the Congo’s unique wildlife and cultural opportunities.”
The list also includes African destinations such as Accra (Ghana, 4th), Constantia (South Africa, 23rd) and Casablanca (Morocco, 45th), as well as well-known destinations such as Paris (46th), Washington DC (44th) and Rio de Janeiro (1st spot).
Unlike its troubled sister DRC, Congo-Brazzaville has been in peace with itself for the past 15 years or so since the end of the 1997 civil war, and its government has since been embarked on an ambitious drive to rebuild the economy, improve living standards and preserve the environment.
*Photo courtesy of New York Times, by Andrew Howard/Wilderness Safaris. A guest room at the Ngaga Camp in Odzala-Kokoua National Park.