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Dzanga-Ndoki itinerary

Dzanga-Ndoki itinerary

Dzanga - Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic
A 9 day itinerary departing once monthly on set departure dates throughout the year.

This is an illustration of the daily itinerary; the daily schedule is flexible and will be altered to suit the weather, wildlife movements and time of the year.

Day 1 (Wednesday): Bangui, Central African Republic

On arrival in Bangui from your international flight, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Bangui is the capital of the Central African Republic and lies on the northern banks of the Ubangi River. The navigable Ubangi River turns sharply south below Bangui and connects to the Congo River just south of the Equator near Brazzaville as its chief northern tributary. The river marks the border between the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Congolese town of Zongo sits opposite the river from Bangui.

Lodging: JM Residences or similar (D)

Return to Expedition to Central Africa

Detailed day to day itinerary

Access map Dzanga-Ndoki National Park

Day 2 (Thursday): Bangui - Bayanga and Dzanga - Ndoki National Park
Early this morning you will be met at hotel reception by your private driver and vehicle and depart for the Bangui Airport. On arrival at the Bangui airport board a private charter and depart for Bayanga Airstrip (approximate flying time: 1 hour). Arrive at Sangha Lodge. Enjoy an evening sundowner with your fellow travelers.

Lodging: Sangha Lodge (B,L,D) is constructed of wooden buildings and platforms raised above the ground. Each room has a terrace with views of the river, and each is equipped with en-suite bathrooms, twin beds, fans, and mosquito nets, and all the comforts necessary to recuperate after your excursions into the rainforest. The kitchen, serving the restaurant that overlooks the river, prepares European and African dishes.

Day 3 (Friday): Dzanga-Ndoki National Park
Early this morning, drive for about 1 hour into the rain forest, then set off along elephant paths for a leisurely 1 hour hike through cool shallow sand streams and clouds of butterflies, until you reach the top of an observation platform that looks out over a natural clearing in the forest. This type of 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.

Lodging: Sangha Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4 (Saturday) Dzanga-Ndoki National Park
Early this morning depart for Bai Hoku research camp (approx. 1 hour drive). On arrival depart with 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 of Euro 230 per person per trek.

Lodging: Sangha Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5 (Sunday) The Sangha River and Bayanga Village
After breakfast, board a dugout canoe called a pirogue that will take you to a completely different landscape. Similar to paddy fields, part of the Sangha River meanders through a lush swampy area littered with raffia palm trees. The extraction is carried out from standing palms. As the sap flows for several hours into a container, it begins to naturally ferment, diminishing the sugar and forming a musty tasting wine. Continue by pirogue to Bayanga village, where "buvettes" (small bars) sell the palm wine which is low in alcohol and contains supplementary calories, vitamins, calcium and other important nutritional elements and an important food source produced by the forest. While in the village you may also witness a lively basketball game, visit small shops, and buy crafts from local artisans.

Lodging: Sangha Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 6 (Monday) Dzanga-Ndoki National Park
This morning begins with a visit to the Ba’Aka villages, where the Ba’Aka accompany you on a short drive into the rainforest. Along the way excitement grows and the Ba’Aka sing and chant with anticipation. Carrying hand woven nets and gathering baskets they head into this rich environment searching for food—edible plants and roots, medicinal barks, and Africa’s smallest antelope called duiker. The Ba’Aka disperse, yodeling to each other as they efficiently orchestrate their centuries old tradition of hunting and gathering, striking their nets and pulling them down repeatedly. At the end of the hunt they come together and share their bounty according to tradition, before you drive back to their villages, surrounded by harmonic singing and great green canopies.

Lodging: Sangha Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 7 (Tuesday): Dzanga-Ndoki National Park
Today, you can choose to visit the Dzanga bai for a second view of this amazing forest clearing. Or you can choose to track gorillas for another visit with these impressive great apes.
Please Note: Gorilla trekking occurs twice daily allowing 3 guests per trek with 1 hour of viewing the group. Each trek begins and ends at Bai Hoku, and the gorilla permit is an additional cost of Euro 230 per person per trek.
This evening enjoy traditional Ba’Aka dance and music.

Lodging: Sangha Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 8 (Wednesday): Bayanga - Bangui
Today, return by private charter to Bangui. On arrival in Bangui you will be transferred to your hotel for a festive farewell dinner.

Lodging: JM Residences or similar (B,L,D)

Day 9 (Thursday): International flight
This morning you will be transferred to Bangui Airport for your international flight home.

The price is per person sharing; a single supplement is applicable. Maximum capacity in the lodge is 16 guest with a minimum capacity of 4 guests.

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.


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