Relax. The political unrest, the warlords, the rebels battling over the copper, diamonds, and gold, the Rwandan war criminals on the lam – that's all in the other Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo (ROC) have had more names than Sean Combs, but the latter is safe and ecologically outstanding. The ROC has gorillas, not guerillas, and this primarily francophone nation is expanding its tourism infrastructure with an almost warlike vengeance.
Many of the safari camps being built are designed to give travelers access to western lowland gorillas, 80 percent of which live in the Congo Basin. Camps are opening in Odzala-Kokoua National Park, which covers much of the world's second-largest rain forest, as well as in Nouabale-Ndoki and Conkouati-Douli. These places are as memorable as they are hard to pronounce. Currently, three-quarters of the visitors to this remote region are naturalists, scientists, and documentarians, so expect an environment that's authentic and raw.
More information: Natural Habitat Adventures, the world's first carbon-neutral travel company, is offering an eight-day exploratory trip to Odzala-Kokoua in September and October 2014.