The turn towards ecotourism about to be taken at Yokolelu

September 19, 2023
The turn towards ecotourism about to be taken at Yokolelu

After several prospecting missions to different sites, the Yokelelu patrol post in the Northern Block of the Salonga National Park was finally chosen to house the first infrastructure from where the ecotourism program will be launched to enable prospective visitors to discover and appreciate the already well-known riches of Africa’s largest forest park.

Located in the Bokungu territory, Luayi sector, Momelinga groupement, on the right bank of the Lomela river, a sumptuous 20,000 sq. m sandy and wooded beach has been the scene of the first development work for the past month: removal of stumps , site layout, marking out, supply of materials (sand, gravel, stones, wood…) with great involvement from the local community.

To date, the wooden frames of the first two bungalows have already been erected. They await the erection of the Hydraform brick walls to give them their final appearance. In its first phase, lasting 5 months, the project will build ten  bungalows of 50 sq. m each and a 320 sq. m restaurant overlooking the river channel.

The local community, whose customary authorities performed the traditional ritual of blessing the site, immediately perceived this unique construction project as a major windfall, especially at this time of the year  when parents are faced with a number of pressing financial needs. On the site, there was a veritable human flood for various offers of services or supplies of materials (sand, gravel, stones, wood…).

With a cubic metre of stones selling for 27 dollars, sand for 16 dollars and gravel for 41 dollars, Mr. Bekoka Itaka Floribert, a recidivist poacher who earned 65 dollars  in his first week, feels that his new business is a better option than the uncertainties and dangers incurred by fraudulently accessing the park.

By initiating this ecotourism move, Salonga will have crossed a new threshold in the field of conservation, creating alternative revenues to implement various projects for the protection and conservation of the immense wildlife and floral resources that contribute to the planet’s climate resilience.

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