At a Glance
Dates: April 8th - April 23rd, 2023
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £9,250 pp sharing (with a £450 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Quite simply some of the best wildlife-watching anywhere in Africa, with rare species, impressive densities and a knack for the unexpected.
Dzanga-Sangha is a stunning wilderness area - teeming with wildlife, with surprises around every corner. Perhaps most famous for Dzanga Bai, where forest elephants and forest buffalo descend into a small area to take advantage of the mineral riches here (often alongside a diverse cast of rarely seen rainforest wildlife), there is a wealth of options available to every visitor. You may choose to spend time with rehabilitated pangolin, or track western lowland gorillas on foot. You may choose to walk a bai in search of rare primates, or seek out the elusive picathartes deep in the forest. Even around the excellent lodge, mammals and birds can be seen at every turn, making this a truly magical destination.
But we at Pictus Safaris always like to set ourselves from the crowd, and this itinerary is no exception. Instead of flying in from Bangui (how boring!), we drive to Dzanga-Sangha through the wilds of south-eastern Cameroon, stopping en route to marvel at Lobeke National Park. Truly remote and hardly ever visited, Lobeke boasts a raw and exciting feel, as well as excellent game-viewing. Chimpanzee, sitatunga and even golden cat can be seen here, and we think it really adds depth to the Sangha experience.
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.
The nature of travel in this part of Africa is that it can take a long time to get anywhere! Today is no exception, and we will leave our hotel in Yaounde early this morning for the eight-hour drive due east along bumpy roads, first through Bertoua, the largest settlement in this part of Cameroon, and eventually to the smaller town of Batouri. Here, we will spend the night at a basic local hotel.
Another long drive lies ahead today, and it is a further eight-hour drive to the remote village of Mambele, just outside Lobeke National Park. Here, there is a secure compound used by an international conservation organisation, and it is here that we will stay before heading into the park tomorrow.
Days Four to Six
The next three days are a rare and special opportunity to explore this remote and little-visited park. Part of the tri-national Dzanga-Ndoki Reserve, that spills across the borders into the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo, Lobeke offers excellent game-viewing. It is a lengthy walk to the two main areas where wildlife is spotted, the Petit Savane and the Grand Savane. These are both 'bais', clearings in the forest where minerals leach to the surface and draw in a rich diversity of wildlife. Guests have an excellent chance of spotting western gorilla, chimpanzee, forest buffalo, sitatunga, bongo and much, much more. Rarities including golden cat are also possible, with mesopredators often drawn in by the stunning flocks of green pigeon that descend into the clearings each evening.
Guests will camp next to these bais, spending the morning and evening enjoying short walks in search of wildlife, with much of the day spent overlooking the bai and waiting for wildlife to come to us. The accommodation here is basic, with tents the only available option, but any discomfort is well worth it.
After a final day in Lobeke, we return to the compound in Mambele this evening for some well-earned rest.
Libongo & Dzanga-Sangha
Leaving before dawn, we head to the border crossing at Libongo today. Formalities can take some time here, but we will eventually make the short boat trip across the border. Here, we will be met by the excellent team from Sangha Lodge and transfer directly to the lodge itself, deep within the world-famous Dzanga-Sangha reserve.
After a chance to settle in to your new and luxurious surrounds, we highly recommend an evening and night walk from the lodge. The dense rainforest here harbours a startling richness and diversity of species, from galagos to anomalures to bats to elephants.
Days Nine to Fourteen
Six whole days to spend in this, the legendary Dzanga-Sangha, is a truly exciting opportunity. Throughout your stay, walks around the lodge are a great way to boost your chances of locating smaller mammals. However, a real highlight is the chance to visit the world famous Dzanga Bai - twice. This vast clearing attracts extraordinary densities of forest elephant, forest buffalo, sitatunga, bongo, red river hog and plenty of other species, and is undoubtedly the best place anywhere in Africa for many of these species. Guests can also head out on foot to track a habituated group of western gorillas, or keen birders may seek out the elusive grey-necked picathartes. All in all, Dzanga-Sangha has something for all mammal-watchers, and all in comfortable surrounds with lovely hosts.
Early this morning we cross the border back to Cameroon, where we will meet our driver and transfer to Yokodouma and spend the night in a basic hotel.
An early start once more will allow us to reach Yaounde in time for your homeward 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 2022, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when travel is at its least demanding. The tour will run from April 8th to April 23rd, 2023.
The cost of this trip is £9,250 per person excl. flights, with a £450 single supplement. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks are not included. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £4,000 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 20.00 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 double-entry visa for UK citizens is £220 - these must be obtained before arrival into Cameroon.
British nationals also require a visa to enter the Central African Republic, and you must apply for this well in advance of travel at the CAR embassy in Paris. We recommend using a third-party visa service provider, being sure to use recorded delivery if sending your passport by post. The cost of an application is £130 and subject to change.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Southern Cameroon in April is humid and oppressive, with maximum temperatures of around 29 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 22 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 and Euros.
Safety and Security
The security situation in southern 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.
The security situation in the Central African Republic is generally very poor. However, Dzanga-Sangha is stable and has avoided much of the trouble seen elsewhere in the country. We are in constant communication with our partners and suppliers and will respond accordingly to any unlikely deterioration in security levels in the reserve.