Bayanga is the administrative seat of the Reserve and the Dzanga Sangha Project. Here is also found, in an isolated location on the banks of river, the Doli Lodge, which is the starting point for all tourist activities.
Bayanga is a village that has grown since the 70s after the installation of an industrial sawmill. Originally it was a fishing village that by 1901 was already charted on German colonial maps. Today Bayanga is home to approximately 4000 residents who for the most part live in wooden houses with roofs topped with palm tree leaves. Apart from the early inhabitants of fishermen and pygmies, the population is composed of migrants from others parts of the country, attracted by employment opportunities. Until 2004. the sawmill employed approximately 350 people and almost 200 people are actually employed by the Reserve. With the advent of the modern working world, its purchasing power and working tools (electricity, data-processing, cars, motorbikes), Bayanga has lost parts of its traditional lifestyle.
A visit of the small villages Yandoumbé and Mossapoula located in the vicinity of Bayanga (in 3 and 5 km distance) gives a more authentic impression of the traditional lifestyle of the pygmies and other population groups living in the area: fishermen, hunter-gatheres, as well as farmers, with the latter mainly cultivating cassava, coffee and corn. These groups (especially the BaAka pygmies) have kept their traditional way of life that contributes largely to the charme of the region.
Taking CAR as a whole, during the last two centuries, the country has experienced several important population migrations. In the Bayanga region, the population greatly increased after the Second World War with the installation of coffee plantations and a logging industry. This has led to a heterogeneous population, without great social cohesion. The native population, established long ago, is primarily composed of BaAka pygmies and Sangha-Sangha fishermen. These groups have partly preserved their traditional way of life, which is one factor that makes up a large part of the region’s charm.