At a Glance
Dates: April 8th - April 23rd, 2023
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £6,995 pp sharing (with a £400 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.
Leaving Yaounde early this morning, we will head directly north in our private, air-conditioned 4x4 vehicles, passing through the towns of Ntchui and Yoko. Our destination is the beautiful and varied Mbam et Djerem National Park. This little-visited park is nestled right on the border between the dense rainforests of southern Cameroon and the open savanna of the north, meaning that it plays host to a rich diversity of wildlife. Tonight we will overnight in a hotel in the gateway to the park, Tibati, before heading to the park tomorrow.
Mbam et Djerem NP
This morning we will transfer directly to the entrance of Mbam et Djerem. From here, we will canoe into the interior of the park - tourism is exceptionally rare here so expect basic facilities! Once camp has been set up, we will explore the nearby area on foot. With such rich habitat, sightings of several species are likely, although nothing can be guaranteed in such a wild and little-visited environment. Forest and bush elephant can be seen here, as well as buffalo, hippopotamus and even leopard and lion. Forest species, including numerous primates and duikers, as well as sitatunga and bongo, are found just a few metres from open savanna. The diversity of small mammals, especially bats, is exceptionally high.
After exploring a small segment of the park on foot, we will return to our basic campsite for the night.
Mbam et Djerem NP
Today is a full day spent exploring the park on foot, focussing on any areas we identify as being particularly game-rich. Our main targets are flexible depending on the interests of the group, although we recommend focussing on forest species including red river hog, bongo, chimpanzee and plenty more.
After a final morning activity in the park, we return to Tibati where we will overnight in a local hotel.
Today is very much a driving day, taking us to the gateway to Cameroon's north, Ngaoundere, where we spend the night.
After spending the night in Ngaoundere, 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 Eight to Ten
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 very long drive westwards to Faro NP. Whilst not particularly comfortable, this drive will be well worth it!
By nightfall, we aim to arrive in a private concession of Faro NP, typically used for hunting, but now also the site of a stirring conservation effort. 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. For tonight, though, we are sure the comfortable beds will be a welcome sight!
Days Twelve to Fourteen
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.
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 2023, 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 8th to April 23rd, 2023.
The cost of this trip is £6,995 per person excl. flights, with a £400 single supplement. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks are not included. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £2,500 plus any single supplement 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.