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Congo Basin Tri-National Park
There are two tri-national parks in Central Africa, and naturally this can lead to confusion amongst their names! To clarify, currently we only do safaris and expeditions to the Sangha Tri–National Park and Odzala-Kokoua National Park, TRIDOM, (Brazzaville).
The Sangha Tri-National zone was created on the initative of COMIFAC, a conference of the ministers of forests from the countries in the Congo basin. The Sangha River Tri-national Protected area (STN) includes Dzanga Sangha Special Reserve in Central African Republic, Nouabale Ndoki National Park (Brazzaville) and the Lobeke National Park in Cameroon (with 2 sectors forming the Dzanga Ndoki National Park).
The agreement between the parks was initiated to co-ordinate and police efforts against poaching, ivory/arms trading, illegal fishing and hunting. Financial support is provided separately by various bodies: GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit), WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) in Central African Republic and Cameroon, and WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) in Brazzaville.
Not for the faint hearted or first time Africa visitors, this area offers intrepid adventurers stunning wildlife viewing.
Forest bais [clearings] attract numerous forest elephant; there are habituated lowland gorilla and strong populations of wild chimpanzee amongst numerous other species which include bongo and sitatunga. Many endemic birds are found in this area, amphibians, fish and swallowtail butterflies.
The Dzanga Sangha Reserve
Found in the rainforests of southern Central African Republic, the reserve covers an area of around 400 hectares. The two central sectors of the reserve, the Dzanga and the Ndoki, make up the whole of the park.
Large mammals seen include forest elephants, forest buffalo, giant forest hog, western lowland gorilla and bongos (forest antelope). Also seen are a good collection of sitatunga, warthogs, numerous monkeys, galagoes, leopards and wide range of birds and other species. The park is inhabited by the Ba’Aka [pygmy] tribe who have assisted in building an incredible tourist programme and assist with tracking and guiding.
Activities in this area include visiting the salines at least once a day; lowland gorilla tracking (there is a family of 16 habituated gorillas), bird watching, dug-out pirogue rides along the Sangha River and its tributaries, net hunting with the Ba’aka; medicinal plant examination with the Ba’aka and traditional dances.
Itineraries are set departure and include Dzangha-Sangha National Park, Mbeli Bai and Bai Hokou Research centre. All expeditions are accompanied by a full back up team of locals and specialist guides. Most trips start from Brazzaville, Libreville or Douala.
Nouabale Ndoki National Park
Created in 1993, important populations of forest elephant, western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and other endangered mammals live in this park. Over 1,000 plant and tree species and 300 bird species also make this their home.
There is an extremely low human population density in the surrounding area, and no human habitation in the Sangha Tri-national zone itself. The Park remains an intact forest ecosystem free of human disturbance or exploitation, with significant populations of large mammals. It is seen as a great success by conservation bodies.
Lobéké National Park
The Lobéké National Park falls within the south-eastern corner of the Republic of Cameroon. It is part of the larger Congo Basin forest block with a very low population density. There are a high diversity of plant communities almost untouched by human activity and the forests support high densities of forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, bongos and many other forest species. Primate species besides the gorillas include spot-nosed monkey and gray-cheeked mangabey, amongst others.
The smallest sub-species of gorilla, these are the type usually found in zoos, and thus well known as a group. They make their homes in lowland tropical rainforest. The primates are endemic to Central Africa. Our expeditions allow close encounters with family groups habituated by primatologists.
The second largest rainforest on the plant, the forest is home to a variety of primates, birds and other mammals endemic to the region. With rich populations of chimpanzees, gorillas, okapi and forest elephants, the ecosystem is also an important carbon sink which captures 8% of the world’s carbon.
The area encompasses about a quarter of the world’s rainforests, and is second only to the Amazon as the world’s biggest unbroken area of rainforest. Essential to global climate and conditions, it acts as an important carbon dioxide sink and an immensely huge conservation zone for a wide range of flora, fauna, people and habitats.
We’ve concentrated on the three countries whose territories make up parts of the Congo Tri-Basin National Park, although it covers a total of seven countries.
There are amazingly over 1010 bird species in this area, with great potential for more to be discovered, and the last count put mammals at over 400 species. Similar importance is put on the human population, resident for at least 50,000 years and intrinsically connected to the forest within which they live. Of particular interest are the pygmy Ba’Aka tribe with whom it’s possible to do safaris with.
Recently recognized as separate sub-species, these forest-dwelling giants are the smallest in their family group and highly elusive. With slight differences in their physiology and an important role to play in seed dispersal within the forests, the best place to see them is at mineral licks in clearings.