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Found 9 results

  1. The news regarding the status of lions in many parts of Central and West Africa recently has generally been pretty bleak with no lions being reported at all in quite a few national parks where they were once found. One such park where there has been no sign of any lions for nearly 20 years suggesting that they had become extinct is Bateke NP in south east Gabon on the border with Congo Brazzaville. This huge plateau of largely open grassland with scattered pockets of forest was the only place in Gabon where lions had been known to occur but all evidence suggested that they were long gone like the extinct southern reedbuck that they once would have hunted. So the news that a trail camera has captured footage of lion walking a game trail on the Bateke Plateau is just extraordinary I just hope that wherever he came from that he brought some lionesses with him or that someone will turn up from somewhere. I hope also that as southern reedbuck are still very common in many other parts of Africa that one day some will be reintroduced to Bateke NP.
  2. ~ This June, 2017 research article published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society describes the discovery of three chameleon species in the mountain forests of the Albertine Rift in Central Africa. Specimens were collected between 2009 and 2014 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were subsequently analyzed using geographical, morphological and DNA data.
  3. Trip report to CAR and Cameroon.pdf I just returned from a very special trips to one of the most amazing places I've ever visited: Dzangha-Sangha Special Reserve in the Central African Republic. It's a long report because it has a LOT of info about the animals we saw, and some about animals we missed. It's totally different from your typical Eastern/Southern African Safari, and there is almost no overlap in the species you see. What an amazing place. I just have to note something very important for anyone considering going to Dzanga-Sangha: It's SAFE! Yes, the Central African Republic is considered a War Zone, but it's only in the North, 100s of miles from this reserve, and from the amazing Sangha Lodge. You should get there via flight from Bangui or Yaounde, or by driving the long and turtourous road from Yaounde to Libongo. But once you get there, it's more safe than the USA has been over the past few years, with all the shootings etc... Enjoy :-)
  4. Zakouma 2015 Returning to Wildest Africa in Style A quick note before starting, when writing reports I always like to go the extra mile for the more remote off the beaten track destinations that I love, because although I would hate to see these places spoilt they do really need just a few more tourists to help ensure their survival. So I'm very glad that we wrote last year's report the way that we did however putting it together did require considerable effort such that prior to this trip both Paolo and I agreed that we would not do another joint report in the same vein as last year's. So I have decided to shoulder the burden of putting a report here on ST, this report will therefore be a largely solo effort though I'm sure Paolo will still contribute whenever he sees fit. When thinking about how I would put together this report I decided that for the main part of the report Part Two that will eventually follow I did not want to write the further adventures of Paolo and Inyathi/Rob in Chad that I would instead try to keep it much simpler and just concentrate on the photos and videos. I thought that just posting a few photos and videos would cut down my workload considerably and indeed it would if only I really could limit myself to just a few but in my case despite my best intentions just a few nearly always turns out to be rather a lot. So this report may turn out to require almost as much effort as last year's but I want to do justice to the majesty of Zakouma and it was always my intention to upload a sizeable selection of my photos and videos to the internet regardless of this report. All photos and videos were taken by myself using a Canon EOS 50D & an EOS 70D and a 15-85mm and 100-400mm MK II. Part One Last year’s trip report was called Zakouma: One Week in Wildest Africa but when I uploaded the photos to Flickr I chose to call the album Unknown Africa – Zakouma NP in Chad, even for me going to the park on that trip was a journey into the unknown. It is incredible to find somewhere that supports such a truly staggering abundance of wildlife and yet remains almost unknown to the outside world. That Zakouma is so little known is really down to the fact that it is in Chad and that in itself is remarkable it is hard to believe that such abundance could still exist in a formerly troubled and war torn country like Chad. What also makes Zakouma very special is to have such a wealth of wildlife in what is still a very wild, very undeveloped and basically unspoilt wilderness this is a rare combination these days. There are large areas in the park like Rigueik that are perfect for game viewing and yet there are almost no tourists at all throughout the entire season of around three months when the area is accessible; anywhere else you would expect to find at least half a dozen tourist camps and have to share some of your sightings with at least one or two other cars but not in Zakouma. You can also still find other places that have the same sense of real wilderness that Zakouma has but not the wildlife spectacle to go with it. If you go right off the beaten track outside the main tourist areas in some of the big Tanzanian parks like Ruaha and Katavi you can still find unspoilt wilderness devoid of tourists but inevitably there’s a trade off. These more remote areas generally haven’t already been opened up for tourism for a reason, to enjoy a true wilderness experience in parks like these you have to sacrifice the great game viewing on offer in their “core” tourist areas. Of course you can with luck still enjoy some quality wildlife encounters but you do have to work hard to find the animals. Either animal densities are naturally low because of the nature of the habitat which may be predominantly miombo woodland (not a good habitat for game viewing) or simply these more remote areas are not as well patrolled by park rangers allowing the animals to fall victim to meat poachers. In the days some fifteen years ago when Katavi NP was still very little known and there was only one very small seasonal camp at Lake Chada it was common to hear gunshots at night and to still find meat drying racks out in the bush. Not so in Zakouma remarkably the wildlife seems to be just as abundant throughout including in the more remote and least explored (even by the Park’s management) corners where you might imagine there would be fewer animals and this is a testament to just how well protected Zakouma is. In the previous report I did address the obvious concern about security and whether or not Chad and Zakouma is a safe place to visit, having visited before I had no concerns this time at all. So all I will really say this time is that the extraordinary abundance of large game ‘meat on the hoof’ seemingly throughout Zakouma is a very good sign of just how safe the park is. In general the remote African bush is a very safe place to be and the fact that the wildlife including the elephants is safe means that you really have very little to worry about security wise in Zakouma. Our first safari to Zakouma in late April last year was a chance for @@Michael Lorentz to go on a second recce trip to the park but it was also a recce for Paolo who was already planning a proper safari to Zakouma this year accompanied by Anita. That trip despite nearly being derailed by early rain had been a huge success, so much so that once I was back home I knew I had to return to see more of this fabulous park but also much as I might want to selfishly keep it to myself I knew that other people needed to come and see it and in doing so help pay for its protection. So I wanted us to write a report that would help if only in a small way to make Zakouma a little bit less unknown and if possible help it take its rightful place on the safari map of Africa. Of course we didn’t want to as it were shoot ourselves in the foot and find that we couldn’t return when we wanted to because everything was booked up by people who’d read our report. Whatever our small contribution the fact that Zakouma is now starting to appear on the tourist map is really down to Michael’s hard work and we knew from him and from African Parks that things would really start to happen this year and if we wanted to be part of it and to be amongst the very first tourists to visit Zakouma in proper safari style then we had to put our names down straight away. So when Paolo asked me if I’d be able to join him on this safari I didn’t hesitate for too long before deciding as I had last year that I would be crazy to say no. In January of this year African Parks set up a mobile camping operation in Zakouma called Camp Nomade and we would have the privilege to be amongst the very first guests to stay in the new camp. Ahead of us African Parks would be hosting some groups consisting of travel journalists (like Financial Times’s Sophy Roberts), and selected people from the safari industry, especially some of Africa’s top professional guides it is hoped that they will return with some of their clients and this will then help to fund the protection and management of this of this special and vitally important wildlife paradise. Camp Nomade will be exclusively marketed and sold through these accredited guides (or the companies they work for) but it is worth noting since staying at the camp will not be cheap that all of the money paid to Camp Nomade goes straight back in to the park. A tourism model that is probably unique within the safari industry. After our pioneering trip last year we had hoped to be the first ever tourists to stay at Camp Nomade but in fact it turned out that Colin Bell and Ralph Bousfield both participants on the guide’s recce trips immediately returned with clients. So we had to settle for being the third group of tourists, the third amongst what I hope will become a small but steady stream of tourist groups to visit Camp Nomade in future seasons. The last of these three guide groups would still be in residence on the night of the 31st of March the day that we planned to arrive in Chad so it was agreed that we should stay the night in N’Djamena before flying to the park on the 1st of April. Spending a single night in NDJ before transferring to the park will be the norm for future tourist groups visiting Zakouma.
  5. Wow! The pack was photographed just outside the park (probably in Bahr Salamat) for the first time, though they've been reported to occur in this area for a while. They don't look much like other arid-adapted Wild Dogs (compare these to the scrawny, dark animals in Ishaqbini or even in Laikipia) - lots of white and gold on their coats.
  6. Just read news that safari hunting has been stopped in Chinko Project area, CAR. Here is part of a message from Erik Mararv (from a hunting board, - I am not a hunter and never will be, but find Chinko a fascinating place; I do however believe that responsible hunting in places like CAR can be a powerful tool for conservation in places where photographic tourism cannot yet make a foothold), owner of CAWA Safaris which used to operate there and one of the founders of Chinko Project. Here's to hoping the wildlife comes back!
  7. Sophy Roberts articles about Nomad Camp in Zakouma highlights the particular atmosphere of Zakouma compared to Eastern and Southern Africa safaris. She says APN has expansion plan to secure area reaching Siniaka Mina to secure area for elephants. APN has plans to reintroduce black rhinos in Zakouma as well as wild dogs in Siniaka Minia (western black rhinos went extinct so I guess they would reintroduce another sub-specie) "Labuschagne now wants to secure a new area, Siniaka-Minia (already a national reserve) and the buffer zone in between, to create space for Zakouma’s elephants. A bigger, safer range will also allow for the reintroduction of wild dogs and even rhino, planned for April. “Come spring, Zakouma will be the closest ‘Big Five’ park to Europe,” says Labuschagne." APN has huge plans for Chad in the Sudani region as well the Ennedi plateau area, where a MoU was signed few weeks ago with the Chadian government to make a new protected area. They are working in marketing to promote Zakouma as a premier destination, and will transform Zakouma as the closest big 5 safari to Europe. Colin Bell Zakouma's article in Africageographic:
  8. This is the result of an IUNCN report available on the following link. It is said: The full report is available here: And the article on the following link:
  9. The following NatGeo article reports the last finding of a UNESCO team in the World Heritage Site Dja Faunal Reserve in Southern Cameroun. The team discovered there found more munitions and poaching camps in the area under study than wildlife. In the coming months, the UNESCO will probably analyze the possibility to place the reserve on the list of sites in danger. Dja is located North of Gabon, where poaching severely affect the amazing Minkebe National Park. Gabon states poachers come from the other side of the frontier. If Cameroon has done a great job in Bouba nDjida, it seems Dja has been completely neglected while it protects an exceptional biodiversity.

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