At a Glance
Dates: April 25th - May 9th, 2022
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £7,195 pp sharing (with no single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Nestled in the forgotten northern reaches of Cameroon lies a vast, fragile ecosystem, where giant eland, lion, leopard and Kordofan giraffe remarkably hang on - support the preservation of this wilderness with this excellent tour.
Cameroon is a land of quite incredible diversity. In the south, Lobeke and Campo Ma'an support large populations of forest species, including forest buffalo and the critically endangered forest elephant. In the west, mountainous areas support an extremely high level of endemism, particularly of smaller mammals. But the focus of this tour is the north, where a belt of savanna, once a key bridge between the wildernesses in Chad and the WAP ecosystem, still supports an unexpected abundance of wildlife. Lion, leopard and bush elephant all still roam this area, where hunting blocks have formed a last barrier of protection against poaching. Kordofan giraffe find a stronghold here, and it is perhaps the best place in the world to see the charismatic and elusive giant eland. With such a paucity of ecotourism here, we will have free rein in Bouba-Ndjida and Faro national parks, exploring each reserve on foot and by vehicle to locate some of Cameroon's last savanna species.
On arrival into Yaounde you will be met by your Pictus Safaris representative and transferred to your local hotel. There will be a pre-tour briefing in the hotel this evening but the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Yaounde to Ngaoundere
This morning we will embark on a city tour of Yaounde. This bustling city is full of sights, and we will pack in as much as we can, including Febe Mountain, the Independence Monument, the City Hall Garden and more. As evening sets in, we will make a beeline for Yaounde's chaotic train station. From here, we will take an overnight train to the city of Ngaoundere. This journey is not the most comfortable, departing at 18.30 and arriving at around 09.00 the next morning, but is a real experience!
After arriving into Ngaoundere's train station, we will transfer directly to Bouba-Ndjida National Park, a full-day drive in closed 4x4 vehicles. We aim to arrive by nightfall, giving us a chance to settle in to our surprisingly comfortable accommodation. Bouba-Ndjida is the easternmost protected area in an ecosystem known as the "Benoue Complex", stretching from Faro in the west all the way to the Chadian border. Incursions and poaching have decimated wildlife populations across this area, but good management has sheltered Bouba-Ndjida from the worst effects of these activities. Sadly, other nearby parks including Waza and Benoue have not fared so well.
Should we arrive in time, we may be able to head out on a night drive this evening, aiming to uncover some of this ecosystem's rarest wildlife. Wildlife densities are not as high here in other parts of Africa, but with persistence we may get lucky. Possible sightings include lion, leopard, bush elephant and Kordofan giraffe, as well as less common mammals including serval, caracal, porcupine and honey badger. The flagship species of Bouba-Ndjida is undoubtedly Africa's largest antelope, the giant eland. Sightings here are as reliable as anywhere else on the continent, and the herds that roam these savannas will absolutely be a key target for us.
Days Four to Seven
We have four full days to explore Bouba-Ndjida in open game-viewing vehicles. With this extended period of time, we will aim to enjoy morning, afternoon and night game drives as often as possible, allowing us to spend extended periods of time targeting key species. Several of our target species are famously shy, including giant eland and leopard, so this lengthy stay will allow for rare extended sightings of these elusive species.
Leaving Bouba-Ndjida early this morning, it is a full-day drive to the town of Poli. We will overnight at Bukaru Camp, a seasonal camp usually home to volunteers serving the town at Poli. The camp itself is basic, but presents an opportunity to learn more about the work being done by volunteers in Poli. Clients are welcome to bring materials to the camp, such as toys or books, to be donated to local schools.
Today we will leave Bukaru Camp and drive south-west to a private concession of Faro NP, typically used for hunting, but now also the site of a stirring conservation effort. The drive itself could last as little as four hours, or as many as eight, depending on the conditions of the road, but we aim to make it to our very comfortable camp by mid-afternoon at the latest. After settling in to camp, there will be a short briefing introducing you to the Faro team, and providing some information on the history of and vision for this concession.
We will then head out on an evening game drive, taking in the area around the Faro river. This concession has seen rebounding wildlife populations in recent years, with large herds of bush elephant now relatively common. With luck, we will also come across giant eland, lion or leopard. As a private concession, we are able to explore on foot whenever we like, and this will be our best chance to track down big cats. Walking in this tough terrain can be taxing, but we are sure it will equally rewarding.
Days Ten to Twelve
Three full days to explore Faro on foot and by vehicle will give us a good chance of encountering Cameroon's rare big cats, as well as giant eland and a litany of other species. Night drives will also be available, with the potential for serval, caracal, civet and much more.
Sadly we must begin our journey home today, with a full-day drive back to Bukaru Camp in Poli.
Another full day's drive will take us back to Ngaoundere, where we will board an overnight train to Yaounde.
On arrival into Yaounde, you will be transferred to a local hotel, and then onwards to the airport in time for your flights.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may
occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in April and May 2022, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources, and when large predators are at their most mobile. The tour will run from April 25th to May 9th, 2022.
The cost of this trip is £7,195 per person excl. flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks are not included. There is no single supplement for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £3,500 must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Yaounde at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost. We strongly recommend booking flights leaving Yaounde after 12.00 on your return, if leaving on the same day that we return to Yaounde to avoid disruption to your plans.
British nationals do require a visa to enter Cameroon. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for Cameroon will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Cameroon entry visa for UK citizens is £110 - these must be obtained before arrival into Cameroon.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Cameroon in April is hot and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 31 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 18 degrees Celsius.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.
Safety and Security
The security situation in northern Cameroon is currently stable. However, there is significant unrest and terrorist activity in the region at large, including in neighbouring Nigeria and Chad. We take the safety of clients extremely seriously and are in regular contact with our partners in Cameroon to ensure this tour can run safely.