Established in 1993, the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park covers over 4000 square kilometres of primary rainforest, swamp and savannah. It is one of the last examples of an untouched wilderness in the world and one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the country. The park protects the world’s largest populations of both forest elephants and great apes – both western lowland gorillas and chimpanzees. It also provides an important habitat for three species of crocodile, forest leopard, eight species of antelope, dwarf forest buffalo, many bird species and over 1000 plant species including rare mahogany trees. No human beings live in the national park and very few on the periphery so the wildlife is largely left to flourish, free from human disturbance.
One of the highlights of a visit to Nouabale-Ndoki is viewing western lowland gorillas in the wild. One of the habituated groups can be observed from a viewing platform which overlooks a bai (natural forest clearing). Here the gorillas sit peacefully feeding in the same area as forest elephants – a unique wildlife spectacle which will be indelibly imprinted in the memory.