Situated about 1 hour away from central Kinshasa, Lola Ya Bonobo is one of the most popular attractions in the capital city pulling in locals and tourists alike. We headed to the township of Kimwenza on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, it had been raining the previous night so the route was very muddy that day; actually I would recommend only driving a 4×4. Don’t let the road stop you though, if you’re an animal and nature lover, this monkey sanctuary does not disappoint.
upon arriving at the compound, what awaits you is the small Lukaya river and falls, lush gardens with clear blue skies and fresh air. After a short wait we were welcomed by a friendly tour guide more than eager to answer all your questions and take us around. Tours take about 1 hour to complete and are is both French and English. This was my second time here, but I always get excited to see the bonobos and I always learn something new.
Bonobos are a bit of a national treasure here, they are an endangered ape species only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and brace yourself, they share 98% DNA with humans :). The vast majority of Bonobo are found in the region of Equateur, North of the DRC. Those found in the park (+ – 600) were for the most part rescued from poachers and kept here until they are moved to the equatorial forest. I suggest to do the 1PM tour so that you get to see them during feeding time, quite fun to watch.
After a short hike, we were taken up to the nursery where we got our dosage of cuteness overload, seeing the little babies play on the trampoline or cling to their nurse, you will melt I tell you. I can’t wait to finish editing my videos and share my time there, for now enjoy the photos.
Some tips and fun facts:
- wear mosquito repellent, thank me later
- Bonobos can’t swim.
- Park entry is $5 for locals and $10 for expats