Filming in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the DR. Congo
Filming in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic of Republic of Congo- Okapi Wildlife Reserve is one of the wonderful destination in Democratic republic of Congo located in the North Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo near to south Sudan and the Uganda boarders. The Okapi Wildlife Reserve features important prominent species and it covers the 13,700 square kilometers of land and it stretches deep to Ituli Forest in Congo.
Okapi Wildlife Reserve is well known for harboring the unique Okapai animal that is closely related to the zebras and this wonderful species was discovered in this reserve way back on 1901 in the Virunga National Park and in Africa these Okapi can only be found in Ituli forest and in the Virunga national Park. There are about 5000 individual Okapi that are found within the Okapai wildlife Reserve only alone.
Because of its wildlife of natural importance, the Okapi Wildlife Reserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 to protect and preserve the available plant and animal species as well as the culture and lifestyle of the indigenous people around the reserve.
In terms of filming, Okapi Wildlife Reserve is the one of the best destinations where one can go and do the filming due to the presence of the several Okapi and the wildlife species that are protected and reserved within the Okapi Wildlife Reserve such as the chimpanzees, leopards, buffaloes forest elephants, bongo antelopes and other various species of the birds as well as insects and butterflies within the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
What will your filming mix be at Okapi Wildlife Reserve?
A lot of the background sceneries with mixed species will appear in your video while filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve besides the wonderful and rare Okapai, the Okapi Wildlife Reserve also features other species and sceneries including the more than 377 species of birds, 13 species of the primates including the chimpanzees, over 2000 leopards, about 8000 forest elephants and 101 species of mammals, butterflies and the rare Bongo antelopes. You will also include the Batwa and the Ituli forests which houses only the indigenous Efe and the Mbuti pygmies, these people have lived in the forest for some long period of time
What to film in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve
There are a lot of things that you can film in Okapi Wildlife Reserve since it is one of the best destination that you ever wish to visit in democratic Republic of Congo and these include;
Filming the Okapi in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve: The Okapi is one of the rare species in the Democratic Republic of Congo and most of the people refer to it as the forest giraffe. The Okapi is a relatively new, unique species which was first discovered in Congo in 1901, and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve has more than 5000 Okapi well protected within this wonderful national reserve. Because of this unique species, the Okapi Wildlife Reserve was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Filming the elephants in Okapi Wildlife Reserve: This is one of the big 5 animals of Africa and Okapi Wildlife Reserve features these wonderful, huge African elephants in the open savannah grassland. They offer wonderful filming back in Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
Filming the chimpanzees in Okapi Wildlife Reserve: Okapi Wildlife Reserve protects several chimpanzees that are close to human beings. The chimpanzees can be seen in the trees, and you can also get a chance to film these wonderful species of chimpanzees.
Filming Leopards in Okapi Wildlife Reserve: Leopards are one of the rare species and members of the big five mammals of the African wild. It is hard to sight, but in Okapi Wildlife Reserve they are very common and give better sightings, so they can be easily filmed. Therefore, if you’re coming for filming, know that you will be able to film leopards as they are one of the animals found within the reserve.
Filming the Mbuti Pygmies in Okapi Wildlife Reserve: This also an interesting strength of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in fact most of the guest finds it incomplete without visiting the Mbuti pygmies and do some hunting with them. These people are short bin stature and they produce nice videos during filming and therefore, you will be able to catchup with them and film them as they do their normal activities in the wild. These people used to stay within the Forest as the fruit gatherers and hunters and they also lead the visitors to the forest provided they have the permission form the park authorities.
Other things to see while filming in Okapi wildlife Reserve include the water chevrotain, pygmy antelopes, forest genet, giant pangolins, golden cats, leopards, the African dwarf crocodiles and other tourist activities which is so interesting for you see as you do filming.
What is the cost of filming in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
All the visitors going on the filming adventure in the Democratic Republic of Congo must obtain valid filming permits. If you’re filming for personal use, you will just need to pay the park entrance fees and then the fees and do the activity, while if you’re filming for commercial purposes or documentary, it will be the Institut Congolais Pour la Conservation de la Nature that will issue the filming permit, depending on which destination you’re going to do the filming from. But generally, you will need to pay the park entrance fees and then a percentage levied for filming, as it will be well explained by the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature. We engage with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature to ensure that we get for you the right and affordable Congo filming permit.
What do you need to Film in Okapi Wildlife Reserve?
The first requirement is to obtain filming permits and clearance.
For any related filming activity to be done in Democratic republic of Congo especially in Okapi Wildlife Reserve, all the filming crew members have and possess the filming permits and these are provided with the permission by the authorities with the Democratic Republic of Congo in order for you to continue with your filing in Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Other that the filming permits, you will also need to have your filming equipment cleared any point of entry in Democratic Republic of Congo whether through the International Airport or by the Use of the land borders. The filming equipment are supposed to be cleared by the customs department that are always stationed at the point of entry.
Therefore, as Africa Adventure Vacations, this is where we do help you a lot. By merely informing us of your intentions to do filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we are very experienced in organizing for you the whole adventure activity, including processing for you the filming permits required, organizing for you the accommodation facilities, transportation, help in obtaining for you the local authorities’ permits, as well as aiding you in clearance of your filming equipment with the customs department of the Democratic Republic of Congo at your point of entry.
With the Democratic Republic of Congo filming procedures, there is no formal process for the filming permits allocation and thus this is handled by negotiations between the parties, and at Africa Adventure Vacations, we are experienced in doing this. Also, the DR. Congo government doesn’t authorize filming in the areas of interest, especially filming the military installation projects, filming of government buildings, as well as filming along the border areas, and this is illegal and you may be penalized in the courts of law or even have your equipment confiscated. If you want to do filming that will require you to shoot by the use of drones, market filming, or filming alongside the road whereby you will inconvenience traffic, such as filming in the cities or those in the national parks, then you will also need to get permission from the local authorities. To avoid inconveniences, you will need to contact Africa Adventure Vacations so that we can advise you accordingly when to do filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
Visas and work permits are required as part of the second requirement.
As you are aware, it is illegal to enter another country without a visa. It is important that all the film crew members obtain the visa to be allowed into DR. Congo. In the neighboring Congo countries of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, you can get the Visa immediately on arrival for the DR Congo Visa its different story but rather you must apply for the Visa in advance through your nearby DR. Congo Embassy. The single entry Visa in Congo costs $100 and this valid for the one month and the one valid for 2 months is at $135 while that one valid for 6 months, you will need to pay $400. Important to note is that the DR. Congo Visa will need to be applied for this Visas in advance about 3 weeks or a month before your planned dates of your travel to Congo for the filming since this Visa cannot be issued on arrival as it is in her neighbor countries. The film crew member will not be allowed to enter into the Democratic Republic of Congo to do filming activities in Okapi Wildlife Reserve without a visa. Another document here is the yellow fever vaccination Card and thus pleased contact us at Africa Adventure Vacations for the best filming opportunities in DR. Congo.
Requirement 3: You need to hire the vehicles for filming in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
Yes, at Africa Adventure Vacations, we make sure that we make transport arrangements for you such that when you are in the Democratic Republic of Congo for filming, you don’t get stranded. We have got our own fleet of cars and we book and arrange the vehicle services for the film crew members depending on their interests, budgets, and the terrain of the area that is going to be filmed. For the film crew members going to film in the rough terrain, we advise them to use the 44 wheel drive vehicle that will be able to navigate the hilly terrain, especially in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. We shall be able to tell you how much it cost in terms of the furl and the mileage covered in order to determine how much you will spend on the vehicle per day. Africa Adventure Vacations also organizes both chartered and scheduled flights within the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially for visitors who are interested in flying and do not have the time to drive long distances on the road.
Our hired vehicles will be manned by the well experienced driver guide who has ever been in Democratic republic of Cong and he knows all corners or of the country from the point of arrival up to the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in Democratic Republic of Congo. The driver fixer will be able to share with you the basic information about Democratic Republic of Congo and he give all the solutions required when it comes to film fixing so you are lucky to book your Okapi Wildlife Reserve filming safaris with Africa Adventure Vacations.
Is filming in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve safe?
It is very safe. Well, we all know that over recent years, DR. Congo has been affected by instabilities which have threatened investors as well as the tourism industry in the country. Such instabilities and disasters have come because of Ebola and other rebellion conflicts which have halted the filming process in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, as of recently, the Congo has returned to peace, with only a few cases of insecurity, and the filming industry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is safe and thriving, so we can assure you that filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve is safe. As Africa Adventure Vacations, we keep tracking and monitoring any security threat from time to time, and we are very cautious in that anytime we feel the threat, we can let you know, and this advisory service is always given before the filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve starts. Always contact us at African Adventure Vacations for more information about filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
How to access Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Okapai wildlife reserve if near the border of Uganda and the best town near the wildlife reserve is called the Isiro and thus visitors will base from Kisangani, or Beni and make a stopover at the Epalu. Visitors starting their journey from Kisangani or Beni will need to drive for almost the whole day to access the Reserve and even coming back another day and this means that you need the 4×4 wheel drive to get to Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Instead you want to fly to the wildlife reserve, you will need to book the flights to Kigali international airport and then connect to Isiro where you will be able to connect to Okapai Wildlife Reserve. All the film crew members are urged to declare and clear all the equipment in order to get clearance such that they are not suspected for the security reasons and to feel comfortable when filming. Therefore by doing this, you will travel to Maiko National Park and do filming so comfortably.
Where to stay while filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve
Like several destinations in Kenya, there are no developed lodges and hotels where you can stay while filming. However visitors heading to Okapi Wildlife Reserve for filming can opt to stay at the Okapi wildlife Reserve other lodges near the serve include the plaza hotel ,Hotel Kisanagani, Immo Baje amazing others.
What to wear during filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Congo?
In order to have a successful filming safari in Okapi Wildlife Reserve in Congo, there are some of the items that you should not miss from your packing list, especially the right dressing code depending on the conditions available. Therefore, our visitors or the film crew members should put on or come with the following during filming:
- You need to wear long-sleeved shirts or long trousers while filming. It is good when they are waterproof, as these will protect you from being harmed by sharp tree branches and stones as well as thorns while in the Congo wildness filming.
- You need to wear water-proof shoes during filming. This will help you to navigate through the slippery trails that you will be following while filming in Congo as these will give you stability on the ground.
- Don’t miss out on putting on the gardening gloves when filming, which will be so influential in protecting your hands, and you can put them off when you feel you no longer need them.
- You also need to come with a rain jacket because, in most cases, filming is done in the tropical rain forests that are always wet, and this is why putting on a rain jacket is of great help to you.
- Since filming is always done in the wild, it is good that you have insect repellent with you to safe guard against various insects such as mosquitoes and any other biting insects.
Other clothes that you should not leave out are the water-proof safari back and jacket, as this will help protect your filming equipment from getting in touch with water. You can also put on the African safari hat, safari socks, and shorts that you can sometimes put on, among others.
What is the best time for filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve?
We can say that filming in Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo is done throughout the year. However, it has been established that the best time to film in Okapi Wildlife Reserve is during the dry season, which runs from June to October and then from December to February. The Democratic Republic of Congo is covered with tropical rain forest and this has influenced the country to experience the tropical rain climate, meaning that at times you can also experience certain rains unexpectedly. Therefore, you need to prepare accordingly for the changing weather conditions.
Why should you choose Africa Adventure Vacations for your filming safaris?
Africa Adventure Vacations is a local company based in Uganda but operates in East African countries that include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and South Africa, and we have over 10 years’ experience in aiding filming and production companies, especially those interested in filming nature-related wildlife and the culture of Africa. We provide services such as booking for the filming permits, clearing of the filming equipment, booking for the accommodation facilities, organizing transportation to the filming companies, all in the shortest period of time. We organize other wildlife packages to all of the above-mentioned countries, including gorilla packages to Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Therefore, you should not hesitate to choose us to be your film fixers in East Africa.