LOMAMI NATIONAL PARK
Lomami National Park is located almost in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa within the middle basin of the Lomami River, it straddles the Provinces of Tshopo and Maniema with a slight overlap into the forests of the Tshuapa and Lualaba river basins.
Lomami National Park is one of the newest national parks in Congo and it was formally declared by the Prime Minister Augustine Matata Ponyo on 7 July 2016, it’s the 9th national park in the country and the first to be created since 1992. The park covers 8,879 km² (3,428 sq mi) of tropical lowland rainforest with savanna islands in the south and hills in the west. It is home to several nationally endemic species including Bonobo, Okapi, Congo peafowl, and a newly discovered primate species called Lesula, as well as the rare Dryas monkey known locally as Inoko. An important population of approximately 500 African Forest Elephants remain in the northern forests of the park. The region is almost completely covered by dense tropical rainforest, which is home to a number of animal species like the bonobos, forest elephants, giant pangolins, and hippos. Numerous endemic or rare species have been found in LNP, including Lesula monkeys, Dryas monkeys, Congo peacocks and the Okapi.
There are 3 significant river found within the national park and these are river Lomami, river Tshuapa and river Lualaba. These have played a very big role in supporting wildlife and aquatic life in the park, and have enabled plant growth which animals feed on and support the ecosystem.
Before the establishment of the park, there was only hunters and poachers occupying the area, with no roads, no agricultural activities and human settlements, not until the government and other organs like ICCN Congolese army, Lukuru foundation, wild cat foundation among others
The people living in the buffer zone of the Lomami National Park belong primarily to seven different ethnic groups: Lengola, Mbole, Mituku, Langa, Tetela, Ngengele and Arabisé. The approximately 100 small villages live primarily on agriculture, hunting, and fishing.
Activities done in Lomami National Park
It is home to several nationally endemic species including Bonobo, Okapi, Congo peafowl, and a newly discovered primate species called Lesula, as well as the rare Dryas monkey known locally as Inoko. An important population of African forest elephant is still protected in the northern part of the park.
Lomami National Park is known for its outstanding ape and monkey species and these primates include; Katanga red tailed monkey, Yellow-nosed red tailed monkey, Lomami river wolf’s monkey, Bonobos, De Brazza’s monkey, Lomami riverblue monkey, Tsuapa red colobus, Lomami red colobus, Sclaters Angolan colobus, Northern black mangabey, Congo basin Wolf’s monkey, Lesula and Dryas monkey among others.
The park has over 207 bird species that can makes your bid experience lasting as you watch thousands of birds in the forests and woodlands in the park. These birds include; Congo peafowl, African Grey Parrot, Crested Guineafowl, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Olive Sunbird, White-tailed Ant Thrush, Blue-headed Wood Dove, Bates’s Nightjar, Black Cuckoo, Black-bellied Bustard, Black-billed Turaco, Black-headed Heron, Hadada Ibis, Common Barn Owl, Red-chested Owlet, Maned Owl, Long-tailed Hornbill, White-thighed Hornbill, Speckled Tinkerbird, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Yellow- rumped Tinkerbird, Western Black-headed Oriole, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Blue-headed Paradise-flycatcher, African Paradise-flycatcher, White-breasted Negrofinch, Western Nicator, Barn Swallow, Lesser Bristlebill, Spotted Greenbul, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Little Greenbul, Eastern Bearded Greenbul, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher Warbler, Green Hylia, Grey-throated Tit Flycatcher among many others.
The park contains local people that are typically living within the remote areas and these were consulted during the establishment of the park, and they also had to consult their spiritual elders to decide whether the park exists. Such stories make visits interested in knowing more about these people and enjoy the time spend with the community. There are also handy craft items that can be bought in the communities and the visitors can engage in their making. The park has about seven ethnic groups living on the borders of the park and these include, the Mbole, the Lengole, the Mituku, the Tetela, the Arabise, the Ngengele and the Langa. These people live in their small groups and do their activities like hunting, fishing and farming.
Another way to explore the Lomami national park is through a boat trip that takes you to see more flora and fauna along the Lualaba river. Here you get to see the beautiful nature and breathtaking sceneries while sailing on the boat with the help of a guide on board. You can also get to see a number of bird species that are living next to the river banks and the swampy areas.
This is an another activity done by a few fishing lovers who get on the boat with guides and do the fishing sport on specific spots that are allowed by the authority. This also done on river Lomami and river Lualaba.
Accommodation in the park
Since the park is still new, there are very few and limited accommodation facilities that are within the national park and outside that cater for visitors that are visiting the park. There are camp sites that can be used by the visitors and they are required to carry their camping gear.
The best time to visit
The park is open throughout the year for visitors who would wish to come to explore the hidden beauty of the park. It’s always better to travel during the dry season from July and august when the roads can be good for vehicles to use it because the park is located in a remote area, and during the wet seasons the roads are slippery and cannot easily be used by cars. It’s always advisable to use a 4×4 land cruiser and a local driver guide who knows the routes when going to the park.
How to reach the park
The park can be accessed by both air and road, and you can base within the nearby center of Kindu and connect to the park by road
When planning a trip to Congo, consider going through a tour company or a tour operator to do the parking and managing the safari.
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