At a Glance
Dates: January 1st - January 18th, 2023
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £5,395 pp sharing (with a £400 single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: Be one of the very first ecotourists to step foot in the remote Campo Ma'an and Dja conservation areas, where you may spot anything from herds of forest buffalo to the enigmatic mandrill.
The rich southern forests of Cameroon are criminally overlooked by mammal-watchers and safari enthusiasts. Whilst many flock to the undeniably wonderful Dzanga-Sangha, Odzala-Kokoua and Ivindo wilderness areas in the nearby Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo and Gabon, the likes of Lobeke, Dja and Campo Ma'an boast excellent game-viewing far from the prying eyes of mainstream ecotourists. Antelope and primate species abound here, and the birdlife is simply fantastic - for the intrepid wildlife lover, there is nowhere better.
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.
There can be no denying that another long day's drive lies ahead, broken by a snack lunch and toilet breaks. Travel in this neck of the woods is not for the faint-hearted! We will arrive in Bertoua by late evening in time for dinner before heading to our hotel accommodation.
From Bertoua this morning we head south-west to the town of Ayos, steeped in history and well-worth a quick stop. From Ayos, several hours of rough driving remain, heading south to Somalomo, were we will overnight in a basic guesthouse administered by the Ministry of Forestry.
This morning, we head directly to the Dja River, which we cross on a small ferry. On arriving at the beautiful and remote Dja Faunal Reserve, we will head immediately to the Bouamir site, where several forest clearings offer excellent chances of spotting the wildlife for which Dja is famous. A long walk, of over 17km, takes us to a stunning inselberg known as the 'Petit Rocher', undoubtedly the second-best spot for wildlife-viewing in Dja behind Bouamir. Primates are particularly abundant in the park, including western gorilla and chimpanzee, and lucky guests may also spot forest elephant and forest buffalo. Grey-necked picathartes are also easily seen here, a rare treat for any birder. Tonight we camp just metres from the Petit Rocher.
Days Eleven to Thirteen
Three full days lie ahead, allowing us to explore many of the accessible locations in the park, where we stand a chance of spotting eight or nine primate species, as well as a range of smaller mammals and antelope species.
Leaving early this morning, we make a beeline for Yaounde, where we will overnight in a comfortable local hotel.
Today we drive to the town of Kribi, a drive of around six hours, where we stop for lunch. From here, we drive on to the town of Campo just outside Campo Ma'an National Park.
Campo Ma'an NP
At first light we set out to the final stop on our itinerary - Campo Ma'an National Park. This park is seldon visited by ecotourists, but truly has bags of potential. It boasts the highest density of gorilla and forest buffalo anywhere in Cameroon, and visitors are likely to see many other species around our campsite on Dipikar Island.
After a final morning walk in Campo Ma'an we will head back to Campo and then Kribi, where we spend the night at a lovely beachside hotel.
This morning we end the tour with a four-hour drive to Douala Airport where the tour ends.
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 January 2022, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when travel is at its least demanding. The tour will run from January 1st to January 18th in 2023.
The cost of this trip is £5,395 per person excl. flights, with a £400 single supplement. This includes all breakfasts and dinners, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Drinks and lunches are not included. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £2,000 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 or Douala at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost. We strongly recommend booking flights leaving Douala after 14.00 on your return, if leaving on the same day that we return to Douala 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 single-entry visa for UK citizens is £110 - these must be obtained before arrival into Cameroon.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Southern Cameroon in January is humid and oppressive, with maximum temperatures of around 31 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 24 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.