• Monday 19 January – Thursday 29 January, 2009 – 10 nights/10 days. (Tour leader- Bryan Jackson)
• Monday 15th June – Thursday 25th June, 2009 – 10 nights/10 days.
• 8 participants. 1 Professional guide/tour leader who has extensive previous experience on Safari in Central Africa.
Monday 19th January, 2009:
Arrive in Douala at 1725hrs on SN Brussels flight from Brussels.
You will be met and assisted through Immigration and transferred through the city to the Meridian Hotel.
Overlooking the Wouri River in one of the city’s most tranquil districts, Le Méridien Douala is ideally located near the city’s main commercial and banking areas. The largest city in Cameroon, Douala reflects a rich cultural fusion of Portuguese, German, and French influences.
The celebrated sites of the city are just minutes away from the hotel, including the Flour Market, the Municipal Museum, and the Maritime Museum. The gorgeous black sand beaches of Limbe and the crashing Lobé Waterfalls at the Kribi beach area are nearby and easy to explore – we will have plenty of time to explore the City on our last day.
1 night Meridian Hotel in a twin/double room with en suite facilities, on a bed and breakfast basis.
Tuesday 20th January:
After breakfast, you will be met and transferred to Douala airport for your 0900hrs private charter flight to Bayanga. The aircraft is a twin engine 14 seat Dornier. The flight will take approximately two hours and offers wonderful views over the Congo Basin rainforest and rivers bisecting the forest.
The aircraft has comfortable bathroom facilities and food and drinks will be served on board.
The landing strip in the Central African Republic is at Bayanga, in the middle of Dzanga-Sangha National Park, the most beautiful accessible rainforest in Africa.
From the airstrip, clear Immigration (A simple Police passport stamp!) and transfer directly to Doli Lodge nearby - a beautifully set 14 room lodge with excellent cuisine and a romantic bar and restaurant, built overlooking the Sangha River, allowing perfect views over the River and Forest.
The National Park is inhabited by the Ba-Aka pygmies, who helped to put in place an incredible tourism programme, and is also home to a fascinating list of animals that can be viewed from platforms built above the most interesting mineral clearings called Bais or Salines.
These animals include the Forest Elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis), Western Lowland Gorillas, Forest Buffalo (Syncerus kaffir nanus), Sitatunga, Bongo, Giant Forest Hog, numerous Monkeys, Galago, Leopard, Spotted Necked Otter and an astonishing number of birds and other species.
The reserve encompasses more than 4000 square kilometers. The two central parts of the reserve, the Dzanga (495sq km) & the Ndoki (725sq km) sectors together form the tri nation Dzangha Nouabale Ndoki National Park.
At the Dzanga saline or Bai (waterhole clearing in the forest) more than 3000 elephants have been observed & identified over the last few years. On average from a viewing platform on the edge of the saline, one can often encounter herds of elephant between 30 -100 animals.
There is no other known place where you will have such a high probability of seeing Bongos, Sitatunga and habituated Western lowland gorillas, as you will have whilst staying at Doli Lodge.
The following activities are included at Dzanga Sangha over the next 3 full days:
• Accompany the Ba-Aka pygmies in the afternoon to participate in their traditional net hunting. An unforgettable experience! Just before it gets dark, you leave the forest and walk back to Doli Lodge, for a well-deserved shower and sundowners over the river.
• For the Gorilla treks and Bai visits the group will be split into two smaller groups of 4 people each (One trekking gorillas and the other visiting the Bai).
• The Bai group will go to Dzangha Bai: a huge opening in the forest, with lush vegetation over saline soils in the middle of it. Because of the wet soil and the high salt containment, trees don't grow in this natural opening, while wildlife eat the saline soil for minerals. Sometimes hundreds of elephants, buffalos, sitatungas, gorillas and other wildlife scatter all over the plains, which can all be watched comfortably from the viewing platforms built around the edge of the bay.
• The other half of our group will go to Bai Hokou. Here, a Gorilla research camp is operated, which offers you the chance of seeing a family of 16 Western Lowland Gorillas in their wild environment. A marvellous, breathtaking encounter of man and wildlife. These gorillas are completely wild, but during the extensive research programs in the past, they have been habituated to human beings moving and working around them. The researchers now allow a small group of visitors every day to go and observe the gorillas for an hour, from a very close distance.
• Both groups will take a packed lunch with them, in order to be able to enjoy the forest and its wildlife for the entire day. Apart from watching wildlife, there will be amazing scenery and local guides with you to teach you about the traditional plants, ways of hunting and a lot more.
• Both groups will return to the Lodge by 6 pm, for a shower and sundowners before dinner.
• The following day the groups will swap over, Bai group to the Gorillas and Gorilla Group to the Bai.
• Ba-Aka pygmy people traditional dancing, drum and singing performance.
• Forest Walks to observe a troop of habituated Agile Mangabeys.
4 nights at Doli Lodge, in a twin room with en suite facilities on a full board basis.
Saturday 24th January:
After breakfast we set off south to Bomassa on the second leg of our journey.
Driving from Bayanga to Lidjombo we catch a boat down stream back to Bomassa and into the Congo Republic.
On arrival at Bomassa we will be met and taken on a short drive to another river where we set off on the second part of our boat trip for Mbelli Camp.
A packed lunch will be taken en route and there is plenty of time to observe Monkeys and birds along the river.
We will arrive at Mbelli Camp in the late afternoon.
The Nouabale Ndoki National Park offers a similar attraction to the Dzanga Sangha Reserve, however the forest here is an area with untouched forest (no lumbering) surrounded by swamps, so difficult to access by poachers and therefore providing a safe habitat for a wide range of animals.
• We will have two full days of watching animals from a raised platform on the edge of Mbelli Bai, especially Western lowland gorillas that are attracted here by the unique type of vegetation that is only found in and around this Bai.
• In Mike Fay’s mega transect, most of the Gorilla photography taken by ‘Nick’ Nichols was conducted from a hide at the Mbelli Bai.
• The Bai also attracts Forest elephant, Sitatunga, Forest buffalo, Red river hog, Spotted necked otters, Yellow backed duiker and Dwarf crocodile.
Mbelli Bai is approximately a 40 minute walk from the camp and is several hundred meters in length covering an area of approx 12 hectares.
3 nights at Mbelli Camp, in a twin bedded bungalow on a fully inclusive basis.
This is a basic camp with 4 bungalows (two beds per bungalow), and a shared bush shower and long drop loo. There are solar lighting and charging facilities at the camp, and we will dine with the researchers.
Tuesday 27th January:
After breakfast, we will transfer by boat and road back to Bayanga and to Doli Lodge, arriving mid afternoon.
I night at Doli Lodge, in a twin room with en suite facilities on a fully inclusive basis
Wednesday 28th January:
After breakfast, transfer to Bayanga airstrip for our private charter flight to Douala. The flight takes 2 hours, and we will arrive in Douala around midday.
The afternoon will be spent exploring the city.
After dinner we will transfer to Douala Airport for our flight to Brussels, departing just after midnight.
Thursday 29th January:
Connect to your 0035hrs departure SN Brussels flight to Brussels.
SN Brussels Airlines fly from London to Douala, Cameroon via Brussels on a Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning and returns along the same route on a Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
Air France also fly into this area but there is an extra connection and therefore it takes longer!
The flight time is 7 hours from Brussels (BRU) to Douala (DLA)
We are happy to arrange these flights
• All parks fees.
• All meals and snacks.
• Accommodation on a twin/double share basis as outlined in the itinerary.
• All activities as listed in the itinerary above.
• All local transfers commencing and terminating in Douala.
• Services of an experienced Tour leader/Professional Guide throughout.
• International flight from Brussels to Douala return. (US residents can fly direct from the US to Douala)
• Visa for Cameroon. (Obtainable on arrival in Douala). CAR and Congo Visas are a simple Police stamp on arrival at Bayanga.
• All drinks.
• Dinner on first night in hotel in Douala.
• Gratuities and items of a personal nature.
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