Bird-watching excursion in Okapi Faunal Reserve: Okapi Faunal Reserve is one of the top birding places in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The reserve boasts a variety of bird species, making it the ideal destination for bird lovers. Okapi Faunal Reserve is located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, covering an area of approximately 13,700 square kilometers (5,300 square miles). The Okapi Faunal Reserve is a huge tract of moist semi-evergreen lowland forest with swamp forest and, along roads, secondary forest. Part of the large Ituri Forest, Okapi lies between approximately 1°N in the south, 28°E in the west, the Nepoko River in the north, and the Mambassa-Andudu road in the east. The Ituri and the Epulu are the main rivers. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve was founded in 1992 and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The reserve is located in the Ituri forest near the Uganda-South Sudan border.

Okapi Faunal Reserve is famous for its extraordinary biodiversity, including its namesake, the okapi, which is a rare and uncommon forest-dwelling mammal related to the giraffe. The reserve also harbors a variety of other wildlife species, including forest elephants, chimpanzees, and leopards. The reserve is also home to over 380 different species of birds, including the rare Yellow-legged Weaver and Golden-naped Weaver, among others.

The land covering the reserves is gently undulating, with some higher hills in the north. Okapi Faunal Reserve is dominated by a variety of astonishing tree species, including Cynometra alexandri, Julbernardia seretii, and Gilbertiodendron dewevrei. The reserve is one of the largest tracts of intact forest remaining on the rim of the Congo basin. The forest is also the home of the hunter-gatherer Mbuti and Efé pygmies. However, due to commercial bush meat and civil war upheaval, it is becoming impossible to keep the populations of animals up, and many have significantly decreased.

List of birds that can be spotted in Okapi Faunal Reserve

During the birding safari in the Okapi Faunal Reserve, you will have a great opportunity to spot some of the different wildlife species, including the okapi and the chimpanzee. The part is an exceptional birding destination spot with a variety of inhabitants. You will be captivated by different bird species such as Congo peafowl, Great Crested Grebe, White-naped Dove, Long-tail Nightjar, Common Swift, African Emerald Cuckoo, Nkulengu Rail, Great Blue Turaco, and Spur-winged Lapwing, which is also part of the Ituri forest.

Other species of birds found in Okapi Wildlife Reserve include the Fork-tailed Drongo, Blue-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Collared Sunbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Brown Twin Spot, Pin-tailed Whydah, African Pipit, Senegal Canary, Dusky Tit, Western Nicator, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Whistling Cisticola, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Slender-billed Greenbul, Tit Hylia, Black-winged Pratincole, Bateleur, African Wood Owl, Speckled Mousebird, Bar-tailed Trogon, Crowned Hornbill, Cassin’s Honey Bird, Cardinal Woodpecker, Black Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Grey Parrot, Red-headed Lovebird, African Broadbill, African Pitta, Mountain Oriole, White-spotted Wattle-eye, Albertine Sooty Boubou,

Packing list for the Bird-watching excursion in Okapi Faunal Reserve – Congo bird watching tours

The essentials to consider on your Congo birding safari in Okapi Faunal Reserve include:
Clothing and stockings: The clothing should be suitable for cold weather, as should a rain jacket. The shorts and trousers should be long-sleeved to protect you from sharp grass and insects. Stockings should be able to dry quickly, be woolen (if possible), and be water resistant (if possible).

Insect Repellents: Do not forget an insect repellent. There are all kinds of insects in tropical rainforests. Most are harmless but will still bother you if they can find their way to you.

Sturdy hiking boots or shoes:  good sturdy hiking boots or shoes will help you navigate well through the lush vegetation of Okapi Faunal Reserve.

Camera and binoculars: a good camera to capture the special moments with the birds and a binocular to spot them while still on top of the trees. The binoculars and camera shouldn’t be too heavy to make you tired. The camera should have good zoom lenses to capture good photos of the colorful birds while on top of the trees. No flash cameras are allowed.

Drinking water and packing a snack: This is important in case the activity goes longer than expected and you find yourself hungry or thirsty.

Backpack: hire one pair of backpacks to help you carry some of the heavy items, like binoculars, a camera, and even water and snacks.

Pen and paper: to write down some of the interesting bird species names

Field bird guidebook, etc.

Bird-watching excursion in Okapi Faunal Reserve
Congo bird watching tours

Tourism activities to combine with a bird-watching excursion in Okapi Faunal Reserve

Nature walks.

Nature walks in the reserve are one way visitors can discover the hidden treasures of the reserve. There are trees in the reserve that allow visitors to have close interaction with nature. Guided nature treks in the reserve are one of the best nature experiences. Just like in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s national parks, the reserve is still blessed with undiluted wilderness. Guided nature walks lead visitors through lush vegetation, scenic trails, and tranquil streams, providing opportunities to appreciate the reserve’s remarkable natural beauty and diverse ecosystems.

Wildlife viewing

Okapi Faunal Reserve is famous for its exceptional biodiversity, including its namesake, the okapi, which is a rare and unique forest-dwelling mammal related to the giraffe. The reserve also houses a variety of other wildlife species, including forest elephants, chimpanzees, leopards, giant forest hogs, water chevrotain, forest buffaloes, golden cats, forest antelopes, giant pangolins, and African dwarf crocodiles, including the bird’s pieces. Visitors during a Congo wildlife safari will get a chance to see all these fascinating animals roaming in the jungles of the reserve’s forest.

Community visit

Okapi Faunal Reserve is blessed with thrilling native communities whose lifestyles have not been meaningfully disrupted by global modernity, such as the Mbuti and Efe’ pygmies, like the Batwa pygmies in Uganda and Rwanda, who have lived in the Ituri forest for thousands of years as forest hunters and fruit gatherers. Cultural tours offer the chance to visit Pygmy villages, participate in traditional activities, and gain insights into the indigenous knowledge of the forest and its resources.

Accommodation safari in Okapi Faunal Reserve

Travelers planning a Congo safari in Okapi Faunal Reserve shouldn’t worry about where to sleep. The reserve offers accommodation facilities for its visitors, such as Vuvuke Guest House, Plaza Hotel, Epulu Lodge, Ituri Forest Lodge, Hotel Kisangani, camps, mobile tented camps, and community guesthouses for visitors who wish to stay with the indigenous communities living near the reserve.

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