8 Days Okapi and Bambuti Pygmies Tour

Okapi in Ituri Forest

Okapi in Ituri Forest

Day 1: Arrival.

Arrive at Kisoro/Uganda or at Entebbe International Airport where you will be welcomed by our company safari guide who will transfer you to Goma  or Beni in The DRC Congo.

Day 2 – 3: Transfer to Epulu.

We drive to Epulu via Beni Road – Overnight at Hotel Beni.

Epulu is home to many okapis. Found only in the Congo, the okapi (Okapia johnstoni) is a shy and reclusive forest dweller and is the only living relative of the giraffe. It has an unusual coloration and distinctive markings, including stripes resembling a zebra, provide camouflage in the dense rainforest and protect it from many predators.

Day 4: Okapi Tracking.

After breakfast visit of Okapi Station. After lunch we begin trekking in the tropical forest and we will pass the night in tents within a Pygmy village.

The Bambuti pygmies live in villages that are categorized as bands. Each hut houses a family unit. At the start of the dry season, they leave the village to enter the forest and set up a series of camps. This allows the Bambuti are able to utilize more land area for maximum foraging. These villages are solitary and separated from other groups of people. Their houses are small, circular, and very temporary. The walls of the structures are poles that are placed in the ground. At the top of the poles a vine is woven to keep them together. Large leaves are also used in the construction of the huts.

Mbouti Pygmies in Congo

Mbouti Pygmies in Congo

Day 5: Hunt With the Pygmies.

After an adventurous day learning how to hunt and forage with our expert pygmy teachers we return to the Epulu station late in the afternoon where we will spend the night.

The Bambuti pygmies are primarily hunter-gatherers, foraging for food in the forest. They have a vast knowledge of the forest and the foods it yields. The Bambuti use large nets, traps, and bows and arrows to hunt game. Women and children sometimes help out by trying to drive the animals into the nets. Both sexes gather and forage. Each band has its own hunting ground, although boundaries are hard to maintain. We will be permitted to follow such a group into the forest and where, possible, take our tents and setting up our camp near to their bands. We are invited to spend the night around the camp fire, listening to their endless hunting stories while they smoke their cannabis water pipes under a beautiful blanket of African stars.

Day 6 – 7: Return to Goma.

We make our return journey back to Goma via Beni and Butembo.

Day 8: End of Tour.

We drive back to Kisoro or Kampala in Uganda and transfer to the airport for departure.

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