The Wild Eye Podcast #433: The Congo Conservation Company

In this episode Andrew Beck, who just returned from the Congo, shares conversations he recently had in the field with Raphaël de Laage, Dean Oelofse and Nicole Mathesie.

Raphaël is the senior camp manager at Congo Conservation Company while Dean and Nicole are two of the guides who work in this amazing part of Africa.

Congo Conservation Company - The Story

The first of the camps in Republic of the Congo’s portion of the Congo Basin was Ngaga Camp in the early 2000s. Ngaga was founded to the south-west of Odzala-Kokoua National Park with one of the focal research gorilla groups under the guidance of the primate research team stationed in the area.

The Congolese government soon wanted to look into opportunities to grow tourism here and held a meeting of great minds to discuss the opportunities within the region. Sabine Plattner was one such mind and founded Congo Conservation Company (CCC) as an actor for true conservation within the region through the development of low impact tourism.

Research at Ngaga found a new approach with the support of SPAC (Sabine Plattner African Charities) and later CCC, joining communities, science and tourism on the grounds of conservation.
By opening up a second research gorilla family to tourism and establishing two more Odzala Discovery Camps within Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Lango and Mboko – each within a distinct biome – an incredibly unique and important destination was created.

Odzala Discovery Camps has been managed by CCC in the pristine ecosystem of Odzala-Kokoua National Park since 2012. During 2019, CCC pioneered the first journeys connecting Odzala Discovery Camps in Republic of the Congo with Sangha Lodge in Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve, Central African Republic.

Through these tourism developments, conservation has been given a higher value by the communities within and surrounding the region as a result of job creation and investment in the area. Together – community, research and tourism are working towards a stronger future for the Congo Basin and all its inhabitants.

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