The Dzanga-Ndoki Expedition
A guided safari to Dzanga-Ndoki in Central African Republic that includes tracking with the Ba-Aka pygmies, viewing forest elephant, western lowland gorilla, an astonishing array of birds and the striking bongo antelope.
- Dzanga Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic
- 9 days/8 nights
Highlights of Dzanga-Ndoki
This is an off beat safari to Central African Republic connecting via Cameroon, South Africa or Kenya. An easy trip from Bangui, Dzanga Sangha National Park is one of CAR’s premier wildlife destinations. You’ll find an area of dense rainforest which is home to incredible wildlife, including elephants, gorillas and chimpanzees.
The Dzanga-Sangha Reserve is located in the rainforest in the south-western part of the Central African Republic near the borders of both Cameroon and Congo.
An area of more than 4 000 km2. made up of the Dzanga and Ndoki Sectors, constitute the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, covering 495 km2 and 725 km2 respectively.
- tracking with the Ba-Aka pygmies
- viewing forest elephant
- trekking western lowland gorilla
- viewing an astonishing array of birds
- other species include the striking bongo antelope.
Best time of year to go to Dzanga-Ndoki
- June to September – wet season in the north
- May to October – wet season in the south
You're met on arrival for transfer to your hotel (B&B). Bangui is the capital of the Central African Republic and lies on the northern banks of the Ubangi River.
You're driven to Bangui airport for air transfer to Bayanga Airstrip. (1hr). Road transfer to Dzanga-Sangha and on to Sanga Lodge in time for sundowners.
Gorilla trekking-depart for Bai Hoku research camp (approx. 1 hour drive). On arrival depart with the tracking team; a Ba’Aka forest tracker and WWF researcher to track the gorillas.
Forest hike and elephants of Dzanga Bai - drive into the rainforest for leisurely hike along the elephant paths, through cool shallow sand streams surrounded by butterflies. Sangha Lodge for dinner.
Join a group of Ba’aka net hunters as they go about their daily gathering. It's fascinating to see how well adapted and at home these people are in the forest.
Head upriver by boat, hike to a series of amazing waterfalls with incredible views over prime rain forest canopy. Possible sightings of the rare and endangered Grey-necked Rock fowl.
A day in the park - picnic lunch. Walk in the forest clearings, lookout for buffalos, elephants and several monkey species. Visit a group of habituated monkeys; the Agile Mangabey.
Day at leisure with optional activities - repeat any of the earlier activities: Gorilla tracking or visiting the Dzanga Bai, walking hikes or just relax.
This morning you will be transferred to Bangui Airport for your international flight home.
Tips and notes
- All accommodation on a full board basis
- all local transfers
- activities as listed in the itinerary
- laundry (2 loads)
- soft drinks, house wine and beer
- national parks fees
- International flights
- gorilla permits
- travel insurance, items of a personal nature
During the wet season, the rainforest can be difficult to travel through as roads are affected by flooding. However, trips taken in the CAR are set departure, and adventurers will be given these dates upon enquiry.
Physical Requirements – All travelers must be in good health and prepared for travel in places
without medical facilities. Participants must be able to climb into and out of private aircraft, safari vehicles, boats and pirogues un-aided. They should be capable of walking moderate distances at an easy pace for up to 3 hours through the rain forest and over rough terrain, and be able to withstand hard riding four-wheel-drive vehicles that travel over dirt roads and sometimes rough, bumpy ground. Please note that due to the proximity of Dzanga Ndoki National Park to the equator, weather is typically hot and humid with a chance of showers, and average temperatures range between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In general you will most enjoy the opportunities this expedition has to offer if you are willing to dispense with a few Western amenities and travel with flexibility and a spirit of adventure.
How to get there
Fly on scheduled flights to Douala in Cameroon on Air France or via Johannesburg on SAA. From Doula you’ll connect to Bayanga on the borders of the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park on a private charter.
Direct flights into Bangui are operated by Kenya Airways from Nairobi or Ethiopian Airways from Addis Ababa on certain days of the week.
This trip is suitable for adventurers, photographers, birders, specialists, and experienced Africanites.
This trip is expeditionary, off beat and and if its your first time to Africa, you don’t like surprises, an insect or two, a bit of an adventure we strongly urge going off this page and considering one of our other safaris!
Visits to the country are accommodated by flights to Douala in Cameroon on Air France or South African Airway. Charter flights will then take you to where you need to be. Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airways offer limited choices for flights to Bangui.
The tracking team that consists of a Ba’Aka forest tracker and WWF researcher. The team will depart camp with information on where the gorillas slept the previous night. Begin the trek searching for the nest. As soon as the nest site is found, the team then follows the traces the gorillas have left while moving and feeding. The search for these western lowland gorillas follows elephant paths and narrow trails. The pursuit can be extensive as gorillas can sometimes cover significant distances before finding a fruit tree of choice. Tracking can take 1 to 2 hours before establishing contact with them, and while encounters are always likely they cannot be guaranteed. Mangabey tracking – before or after tracking gorillas, you will have the opportunity to track the colorful and agile mangabey monkeys. Departing from Bai Hoku research camp with the tracking team, search for these medium sized monkeys that are mostly ground-dwelling and feed on a diverse array of fruits, seeds, stems, eggs, insects and even certain mammals. The group followed at Bai Hokou is of an exceptional size, numbering more than 200 individuals whose range is focused around the bai system, and the habituation process allows this secretive and relatively unknown species to be easily observed in the dense vegetation. The group can be observed at distances of less than 30ft while they rummage through leaf litter, store seeds in their cheek pouches, and groom their companions. These monkeys also have a vast vocal repertoire, with the males possessing a vocal sac to amplify their distinctive ‘whoops’ across the forest – allowing them to communicate to the rest of their group and other groups. With a bit of luck you will not only see mangabeys, forest elephants and buffalos, but also sitatunga, bongo antelopes. The sounds, smells and the luminous green of the vegetation also creates a very unique African landscape atmosphere.
Please Note: Gorilla trekking occurs twice daily allowing 3 guests per trek with 1 hour of viewing the gorilla group. Each trek begins and ends at Bai Hoku, and the gorilla permit is an additional cost.
Forest elephant gather in a clearing, called a “bai,” is frequented by scores of forest elephants who exhibit wonderful interactive behaviors: meeting and greeting each other, sniffing, trumpeting and challenging, and sinking their long trunks deep into water-logged holes in search of minerals. Here you’ll can also meet field biologist Andrea Turkalo the world’s leading expert on forest elephants, who has lived in Dzanga Sangha for 20 years, and works to decipher the elephants’ vocal communication as she compiles the world’s first “elephant dictionary” from her perch on the edge of the baai.
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