A chance encounter with West Lowland Gorilla, in Odazala-Kokoua National Park, with Wilderness Collection

Ever come face to face with a Western Lowland Gorilla… No? Neither have we!

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Well, here are two exciting new videos of chance encounters with Western Lowland Gorilla from the lucky people who have at Wilderness Collection’s Odazala-Kokoua Camp.

Watch as a group of privileged tourists, exploring deep within the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, encounter a large group of Western Lowland Gorillas, a very rare sighting -certainly not one that we can say we have ever come across!

As the group drive between the Wilderness Collection’s Ngaga Camp and Lango Camp, the endangered species are stopped in their tracks sensing the unusual activity of human form and the strange sight of a car. See for yourself how the mother gorilla moves across the dirt path to safety with her infant, with the rest of her family following. It’s clear that these charismatic creatures find human life a curious and intriguing proposition as neither gorilla knows how to react to human form.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApnT4FxMK3g&feature=youtu.be

The second video shows a different group of the endangered Jupiter Group, Western Lowland Gorilla, in a similar area near Wilderness Collection’s Ngaga Camp. The captivating species can be seen being led by the male gorilla – quite the alpha male! His loyal family of infants follow in his footsteps; but not before taking a long hard stare at the human movement! Listen out for the gorillas’ grunting – it’s a sign of their curiosity of human form, but also acts as warning signals to fellow gorillas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY1Ys9i4gVU&feature=youtu.be

For the modern thrill-seeking traveller, Wilderness Collection’s Odzala-Kokoua camp presents a once in a life time opportunity. The thrill of observing one of our closest relatives in the wild while exploring a thriving rainforest ecosystem is a privilege to say the least.  Even on camera there is clearly an aura of adventure and discovery, so we can only imagine what it would be like to experience this first hand.

Odzala-Kokoua National Park, in the heart of the sparsely populated Congo Basin, is part of the world’s second largest expanse of tropical rainforests. It is no surprise that the rainforest attracts Africa’s densest population of Western Lowland Gorillas and significant populations of forest elephant – it really is a fine example of an untouched natural habitat. It is in fact renowned as the richest forest block in central Africa for primates, with eleven diurnal species recorded.

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As if the rare gorilla sightings aren’t enough, the unique experience also offers rides along lush river systems, game drives in the savannah, and time spent at the productive forest clearings. Wow!

To find out more about the endangered Jupiter Group, Western Lowland Gorillas, visit www.odzala-kokoua.com

For more information about Wilderness Collection visit

www.wilderness-collection.com

 

Crillon Le Brave, C’est Chic

Driving up towards Crillon Le Brave, after we passed endless unfenced vineyards, their plump sun soaked fruit looking ready to spill over into the road, we felt we had stumbled upon something like the Cotswolds of Provence. A charming collection of shuttered honey coloured buildings make up the intimate and historic Provencal retreat that is Crillon Le Brave, and I couldn’t wait to explore what lay within the beautiful exterior.

Glimpse the amazing view through the front door…

An enticing entrance...

An enticing entrance…

On arrival, the welcoming reception team usher you in through the doors, and your car is parked and luggage swept to your room in the blink of an eye.

And what a room! We stayed in number 33, a split level Suite with gorgeous living area strewn with comfy chairs and sofas, and twin roll top baths overlooking the Provencal countryside and sun terrace, packed with plenty of dreamy L’Occitane products (made locally).  The bedroom sits on the level above, the huge bed facing a triple paned window overlooking the view beyond – you feel like King of the castle when you wake up here! Fresh figs and chilled local rosé were waiting for us on our arrival and the beautiful private terrace was the perfect place to enjoy them.

Our pretty terrace, looking out to the pool and the sun-drenched countryside of Provence

Our pretty terrace, looking out to the pool and the sun-drenched countryside of Provence

There’s even space for Champagne or a cold bottle of rosé between these twin tubs - heaven

There’s even space for Champagne or a cold bottle of rosé between these twin tubs – heaven

Tearing ourselves away from our sanctuary, (it was difficult) we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink on the terrace – accessed by a private staircase from our Suite – before a four course dinner at the hotel’s lovely restaurant. I forgot about the bikini I was wearing by the pool the next day and tucked in to naughty delights including perfectly cooked steak and an a-mazing cheeseboard, with some incredible local cheeses to choose from.

Fresh herbs in the garden are used by the chef

Fresh herbs in the garden are used by the chef

The next day we had to leave all too quickly, but not before enjoying a lazy morning by the pool, soaking up the sun and that view.

Time for a dip

Time for a dip

If I could I would have loved to hop on one of the bicycles available to guests, and take up the challenge of scaling nearby Mont Ventoux by bike. It takes about 3-4 hours usually, although I heard that someone had made it in an hour and a half. As memories of the dinner the night before came back to me, I vowed – next time! And there has to be a next time – one night just wasn’t long enough. There’s a gorgeous boutique spa for post cycling pampering and seemingly endless French countryside to be explored here.  À bientôt!

www.crillonlebrave.com