Tumba-Lediima Nature Reserve – 7412 km2

Located East of the Congo River in Mai-Ndombe and Equateur Provinces, stretching from East of the Yumbi town to South of Liranga, Tumba-Lediima Nature Reserve is without doubt one of Congo’s splendid conservancy areas.

tumba-lediima-nature-reserveThe Tumba-Lediima Nature Reserve protects part of the Eastern Congolian swamp forest. The Eastern Congolian Swamp Forests are located on the left bank of the Congo River and its tributaries make up a big arc across the central area of the Congo basin with unique vegetation consisting of swamp forest, a mosaic of open water, dryland forest, seasonally flooded forest, savannas, etc.

The seasonally flooded swamp forest comprise of species like Uapaca heudelotii, symphona globulifera, Mitragyna, Sterculia subviolacea, etc. There is also a permanent flooded swamp comprising of monospecific stands of raffia palm. The open areas contain giant ground orchids while the river banks feature long lines of arrowroot.

Gazetted in 2006, Tumba-Lediima Nature Reserve expands to cover an area of up to 7412sq.kms. Together with Ngiri Triangle Nature Reserve to the North-east, Tumba-Lediima makes up part of the Triangle de la Ngiri Ramsar Site. This is a declared wetland of international significance stretching to cover an area of 65,696.24 sq.kms.

The Tumba-Lediima Nature Reserve in Congo was created primarily to protect bonobos. During its establishment, no consultations were carried out but interestingly, the process was eased considering the fact that the local ethnic groups living adjacent the reserve had taboos hunting bonobos and they were already playing an important role in conserving these unique species.

However, the communities adjacent to the reserve depend largely on its forest resources and because they didn’t a say during its creation and management, they have been affected by the new policies that were introduced. Because of the new policies, some of the community members live under fear of arrest and abuse by rangers a factor that has continuously fueled tensions that have remained unsolved.

Tumba-Lediima Reserve in Congo was founded in 2006 although it was opened officially in 2011. It is managed and protected by Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation – ICCN together with WWF. It is named after Tumba Lake and Lediima River that run via the reserve. It is found within the Lac Tele-Lac Tumba eco-system on the Congo Brazza and D.R. Congo.

Floral and faunal species

The Swamp Forests of Tumba-Lediima Nature Reserve are also well-known as the Guineo-Congolian swamp forest & riparian forest which is a portion of the Guineo-Congolian regional center of endemism. The region is rich with unique faunal and floral species plus birds such as African river martin, Congo sunbird, the Hartlaub duck, parrots and more.

Mammals living within the area include Muton’s soft-furred mouse; the Congo River features a number of primates including bonobos, Angolan colobus monkeys, golden bellied mangabeys, Northern black mangabeys, deBrazza’s monkeys, red tailed monkeys, Angolan colobus monkeys, Wolf’s guenon, etc.

On the right bank of Congo River, there exist the grey cheeked mangabeys, chimpanzees and more. There are also forest buffaloes, leopards, hippos, 3 different kinds of crocodiles, forest elephants, etc.

How to get there

Getting to Tumba-Lediima Nature Reserve is accessible using a fast canoe to Lokolela 8 hours from Mbandaka. From Lokolela to station, it is 60kms.