The Republic of the Congo is a former French Colony on the northern bank of the Congo River. Not to be confused with its neighbour, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), this Congo is calm, stable and rapidly developing as a leader in African affairs. Its modern history began with the late 19th century explorations of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, the French expeditionary after whom the capital is still named. Rightly dubbed the ‘Little Paris of Africa’, the French influence is most tangible when walking through the streets of Brazzaville. The capital is one of the cleanest and safest cities in Africa, with vibrant streets lined with art, fabric stalls, flower markets, cafés and the smell of freshly baked baguettes from one of its many boulangeries. Odzala-Kokoua National Park is part of the second largest coherent rainforest area on earth (the largest being the Amazon), hence this piece of Central Africa has a significant impact on our global climate, and the existence of all life. The heavily forested landscape is characterised by networks of swamps, bais and rivers making it the ideal habitat for western lowland gorillas.