Okapi Wildlife Reserve was founded in 1992 and straddles within the Ituri Forest in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) just adjacent South Sudan and Uganda border area. In 1996, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site to help protect its habitat where the okapis thrive and preserve its unique floral and faunal species and not to forget lifestyles and cultures of indigenous people. This spectacular wildlife reserve covers an area of about 14000 square kilometers covering about a fifth of the forest. The Epulu, Ituri and Nepoko Rivers flow via the reserve and it is a host to varied wildlife species for instance 4000 elephants, 5000 okapis, 2000 leopards, chimpanzees, crocodiles, forest buffaloes, water chevrotain as well as more than 300 bird species.
Things to do while on safari in Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Okapi Wildlife Reserve is endowed with not only the Okapis but also offers visitors opportunity to spot out other wildlife species that include among others the African dwarf crocodiles, forest buffaloes, water chevrotain, elephants, leopards, chimpanzees, pygmy antelopes, giant forest hogs, forest genet, giant ground pangolins and many others.
For bird watchers, Okapi Wildlife Reserve offers refuge to about 370 bird species. While on birding safari in this wildlife reserve, expect to sight at herons, vultures a mention but a few.
Like other conservancy areas, Okapi Wildlife Reserve is equally surrounded by local communities. The people who live around this reserve are the remaining forest dwellers on earth and they lived here as hunters and fruit gatherers.
Nature guided walks
A nature walk in this wildlife reserve takes you through the most scenic waterfalls of the Ituri and Nepoko Rivers or alternatively, you take a hike to the top of Mount Mbeya at the edge of Epulu where you will have the most exceptional views.
This involves hunter gathering pygmy’s and you embark on hunting activity but after being given permission and while hunting, you have a chance to sight at varied plant species, butterflies and insects.
For those of you who wish to get close to nature, the best option for you is to embark on camping tour. Okapi Wildlife Reserve is as well ideal for camping tours and this is usually conducted within the Epulu River.
Accommodation in Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Visitors on DR Congo safari in Okapi Wildlife Reserve have wide range of accommodation options for overnight stay and they include among others Hotel Kisangani, Vuvuke Guesthouse, Plaza Hotel and others.
Getting to Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Okapi Wildlife Reserve can be reached by either road or by air. Isiro is the nearby city and to get Beni or Kisangani, you may need the entire day to drive and a 4 wheel drive safari car is the best to help you navigate through the routes to this reserve.
In conclusion, Okapi Wildlife Reserve boasts of its own unique creatures that are worth exploring while you are on Congo safari.