Situated in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo is the remote Maiko National Park. Carpets of dense equatorial rainforest stretch across either side of the Oslo River, giving rise to magnificent jungle landscapes. This rugged paradise is unmarred by tourism and remains one of the most unexplored regions on the African continent; making it a desirable destination for extreme expeditions.
The 10,830 square kilometres of malachite colour terrain occupies a remote forested sector of the DRC and straddles the borders of 3 countries. The park is known for its high concentration of eastern lowland gorillas (Grauer’s gorilla), endemic to the Congo.
The inhospitable northern reaches of the park that extend to the Lindi river are only accessible if visitors are willing to undertake an arduous day of trekking. Most of Maiko National Park comprises untamed blocks of forest, combined with dense waterlogged regions surrounding snaking rivers. A true paradise for wildlife.
Accessibility to the park is not easy. Visitors need to prepare for an adventure. There is no airstrip within the park, apart from the UN. The closest international airport is Bangoka International Airport in Kisangani, and from there, it’s a 515-kilometre drive to the outskirts of the park.
The park is known for its high concentration of eastern lowland gorillas (Grauer's gorilla), endemic to the area.
There is no accommodation inside the park. Visitors wanting to stay inside the park will have to camp - and bring their camping gear and supplies.
Maiko National Park is ecologically diverse, playing home to a variety of wildlife species. Three endangered species in the DRC thrive in the park’s unique habitat. They include the Congo peacock, eastern lowland gorilla and the okapi. Recently, a group of 50 uncounted eastern lowland gorillas were discovered.
Eastern chimpanzee, bongo, forest elephants, and the aquatic genet are other popular animals to spot in the park.
Bird species are plentiful—in particular forest and water-dwelling birds. The Oslo River cuts through the park and provides a haven for broadbills, egrets, kingfishers and cormorants. Other commonly spotted birds include turacos, pitas and the Congo serpent eagle.
Because of its location on the equator, the DRC enjoys a tropical climate, making it a year-round travel destination. The winter is dry season, and summer is the wet season. The average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius. May to September is the best time to visit (dry and sunny), while December is the busiest time of year.
The main highlight of visiting Maiko National Park is to track the eastern lowland gorillas. Guided treks to find these unique species must be arranged with local tour operators, who will have the updated rules about trekking in the park. The park is relatively undeveloped, making it an attractive destination for visitors wanting to uncover hidden parts of Africa.
Within the national park, there are a variety of hiking and nature trails that meander their way across landscapes of dense forest and waterlogged riverbanks. Visitors can bird watch, learn about plants endemic to the region and try to spot the elusive forest elephants.
Guided game drives take place in 4WD and need to be conducted by locals. Drives provide a way of covering plenty of ground and allow ample opportunity to spot a wealth of wildlife.
There is no accommodation inside the park. Visitors wanting to stay inside the park will have to camp—and bring their camping gear and supplies. There are designated campsites and a handful of villages in the park that will allow campers. Roads are only navigable via 4WD. For accommodation options, the closest town is Bukavu.