Salonga national park is located at the Congo River basin at the Democratic Republic of Congo covering an area of 36,000 kilometers squared making it the largest tropical rainforest reserve protected in Africa. The park is home to 40% of the worlds bonobos. Salonga national park was established in 1956 as Tshuapa national park then later decreed as Salonga national park by president Mobutu Sese Seko in 1970, the park was made a UNESCO heritage site in 1984.
There are fewer roads within the make making it only accessible through a river and one of the last remaining intact tropical forests in Africa, the park is characterized by grassy glades, marshlands, streams, swamps and so much more.
Salonga national park harbors 129 species of fish, 51 species of mammals, 223 species of birds and so much more. Bonobos in Salonga national park share 98.7% DNA with humans just like chimpanzees making them man’s closest relatives.
Unlike other national parks where you enjoy game drives on a car, Salonga national park offers a unique experience of watching wildlife on a boat, you will spot animals such as aquatic genet, hippopotamus, Congo peafowl, crocodiles, Leopards, elephants, African golden cat, yellow-backed duiker, tree pangolin, giant pangolin, Angolan slender mongoose, Allen’s swamp monkey, long-tailed pangolin, bush pig, sitatunga, bushbuck, dwarf chimpanzees, Thollon’s red colobus, Angolan pied colobus, water chevrotain, black crested mangabey, Congo clawless otter, red river hog, water civet, wolf monkey, forest buffalo and primates like dryas monkeys and bonobos among the rest.
Bonobos are like chimpanzees though they are a bit smaller and darker. When two bonobo groups meet they engage in a serious fight, they are said to maintain relationships and settle conflicts through sex. The bonobo groups are led by females, unlike chimpanzees.
Salonga national park is home to over 300 species of birds some of which are endemic to this area some of the examples of birds include; Black-billed stork, cattle egret, yellow-billed stork, Congo peacock, grey parrot, black-billed bustard, palm nut vulture, and many others.
Salonga national park can be accessed by air transport or road transport. You can use a domestic charted flight from Anga and Mundja airstrips in Monkoto. Within the park is very remote and can only be accessed by boat. The park is 100 meters south of Boende in between Kinshasha and Kisangani. The park is in a rainforest zone which experiences rainfall almost throughout the year making weather unpredictable. The best time to visit is in the drier months of June to August though even in the drier months its possible for rain to fall.