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Found 34 results

  1. Great news from Chad, including rhino relocation- http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chad-expands-conservation-area-under-new-agreement-650232133.html The Government of the Republic of Chad and African Parks announced on Tuesday October 10th the signing of an agreement for the management and protection of key reserves Siniaka Minia, Bahr-Salamat and wildlife corridors around Zakouma National Park, to create the Greater Zakouma Functional Ecosystem. African Parks, a conservation NGO which manages protected areas on behalf of governments across Africa, has managed Zakouma National Park since 2010. The results achieved in Zakouma enabled the extension of the mandate to manage a much larger landscape, securing vital habitats beyond the national park. Zakouma National Park is home to the country's largest population of elephants, which was reduced by 95% due to rampant poaching between 2002 and 2010. In the seven years since the Government of Chad delegated management to African Parks, law enforcement measures and community programmes have practically eliminated poaching and the elephant population is on the increase for the first time in a decade. "The Government of Chad has shown extraordinary vision in committing to the conservation of its irreplaceable parks," said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead. "Through our partnership in Zakouma, our actions have produced stability and security for both local communities and wildlife, paving the way to incorporate the Siniaka Minia and Bahr-Salamat Wildlife Reserves, and important corridors between them within our management mandate. We are immensely grateful for this partnership, and for the support of the European Union and other funding partners who have made this possible." The key priorities will be to reduce poaching and human-wildlife conflict through the improvement of law enforcement; to promote national capacity; and to contribute to socio-economic growth. On Sunday October 8th, the Governments of Chad and South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable African Parks to translocate a founder population of black rhinoceros from South Africa to Zakouma for reintroduction to Chad next year. This commitment to fortifying security and eliminating poaching to facilitate the safe return of key species is a critical component of the restoration of Zakouma, and the larger ecosystem. "The satisfactory results that we have achieved in this public-private partnership stem from the foresight of His Excellency Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic, Head of State," said Chad's Minister of Environment and Fisheries Ahmat Mbodou, "The conservation and sustainable management of resources is in perfect coherence with Chad's 2030 vision and the objectives of sustainable development."
  2. To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour William Blake Auguries of Innocence So starts one of the world’s best poems (always for me). It harks of lost days when we used to stop to examine a flower, or chase a grasshopper, or lie on the green carpet of grass, or kick the waves in the sand. When we were kids, unafraid of anything, free of the chains of fear. How does that relate to Zakouma? The newly opened park is exactly that – a paradise for me, and a haven for animals. The poem descends into a whirlpool of depression and repression, but for Zakouma, the opposite is true – it has rebounded from the repression and the loss, the forgotten and the hopelessness. For me, the trip to Zakouma began on a whisper of hope and ended with buckets of optimism, even if tinged with fears for the future.
  3. I was very pleased to see a familiar face in one of this morning's papers amongst the winners of this year’s Tusk Conservation Awards, the winner of the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa 2017 is Rian Labuschagne, a very worthy winner of this lifetime achievement award. For six years from 2010 he was the Director of Zakouma National Park in Chad. The security plan that he put in place completely transformed the situation for the park’s elephants from a point where their numbers had dropped to under 450 and herds were so stressed that they were no longer breeding, to the situation now where their population is rising and has passed 500. Were it not Rian and Lorna and African Parks, Zakouma’s elephants (and much of its other wildlife) could have been lost and with them one of Africa’s great national parks. Last year they left Zakouma and returned to work for the Frankfurt Zoological Society in the Serengeti in Tanzania, where they had been based before moving to Chad. While in Tanzania Rian helped to improve the protection one of the country’s last black rhino populations the Ngorongoro Crater and prior to that he was instrumental in seeing black rhinos reintroduced to Malawi, to the rhino sanctuary established in Liwonde NP. I’ve no doubt that he could not have done so much for the conservation of Africa’s wildlife without the help of his wife Lorna, what they have together achieved is just extraordinary. While not everyone here on ST will have the good fortune to visit Zakouma, many will be able to visit (or already have visited) Ngorongoro and the Serengeti and should you be fortunate enough to see a black rhino when you're there, it will in part be thanks to Rian’s hard work. Tusk Conservation Awards - Rian Labuschagne Rian giving a bull elephant a drink in Zakouma Here are a couple more Tusk videos and if you go to YouTube you can find more videos on the other winners and finalists at this year’s awards.
  4. Here is the last SCF communication release, which stresses on an addax survey in Tim Touma desert in Eastern Niger where addax main population crashed down in the last years, and on the scimitar horned oryx reintroduction project in OROA, Chad. https://www.saharaconservation.org/sites/default/files/2017-07/Sandscript-21_0.pdf
  5. Interview with Rocco Rava, Director of Chad’s proposed Ennedi Protected Area and one of the greatest experts on Northern Chad. Ennedi is a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site. * I would like to thank @@inyathi for his great contribution to this interview. Rocco, How long have you been working in Chad in the tourism industry before leading the African Parks mission in the Ennedi? I first went to Chad 25 years ago in 1992 with our family tourism agency to the Tibesti Mountains, this was very different to the mission I’m now conducting with African Parks. It all started in the seventies when my father started to guide tourist groups in the Sahara. He was a doctor and a professional mountain guide with a deep fascination for nature. He first went to Algeria and then started to establish a base in Niger from which to lead groups into the Central Sahara in time he became one of the Sahara’s leading expeditions guides. Chad was then totally unknown having been closed to tourism since independence for historical reasons. As the highest mountain range in the Sahara Tibesti held a strong attraction for adventurers, in 1992 we led the first expedition there with a Team of Touaregs from Niger. In 1993 we established our first base in N’Djamena Ennedi is one of the most visited places in the Southern Sahara. Could you describe Ennedi and what makes it such a special place for tourists? Chad is currently the only Saharan destination which is still safe for tourists to visit; all of the other Sahelo-Saharan nations are facing complex security issues. Compared to Tibesti, Ennedi is quite easy to get to as it is closer to N’Djamena. The Ennedi has unique characteristics compared to the region’s other five mountain ranges in terms of its landscapes, its wealth of fauna and flora and its human inhabitants. In terms of biodiversity it is the only Saharan range that does not possess any species of Mediterranean flora and has very little endemism. There are two main reasons for the exceptional biodiversity. On the one hand, its geographical position with foothills located in the path of the trade winds that bring rain to the region. On the other hand the Ennedi is composed of permeable sedimentary sandstone rocks. These two factors explain the unusual humidity for somewhere of this latitude, permanent water springs make Ennedi one of the most important water catchments in this arid region. It lies at the crossroads of old commercial and colonial roads that have crossed the Sahara through the centuries, L’eau c’est la vie, water is life. What are the main animal species still found in the Ennedi? Are there any Saharan cheetahs, leopards or wild dogs still present in the area? There have been no studies on the wildlife of the region; in July African Parks will carry out the first scientific survey of the wildlife in Ennedi to get a better idea of what wildlife remains. However there’s no doubt that there is still an impressive variety of wildlife typical of this Sahelo-Saharan ecosystem. Cheetahs are very hard to spot but they are still present, I have once seen a female, and quite a few times I’ve found their footprints and on occasion a dead cheetah killed by nomads. Wild dogs were last reported in the seventies. With regard to leopards it’s difficult to say, I’ve never heard anything about these animals from local people. The last lions in the north of Chad were killed in 1932 about 350 kilometres north of Ennedi. The Ennedi used to be a real Eden but decades of wars with Libya and rebellions took their toll on the wildlife, but wildlife is still present. The wildlife suffered mainly from the proliferation of guns in the region and hunting for bushmeat to feed the soldiers. There is also some pressure on the wildlife due to competition with domestic cattle in some areas. There used to be scimitar-horned oryx and addax grazing in the wadis east and west of the plateau but these animals are gone now, in Chad addax are now entirely restricted to Eguey-Bodele close to the frontier with Niger, and the oryx became completely extinct in the wild. Species that are still present include dorcas gazelles, Barbary sheep, crocodiles, striped hyena, serval, ratel (honey badger), patas monkeys and olive baboons. What was Ennedi like a century ago? We don’t have any solid data concerning the climate and the rains from the beginning of the 20th century. It doesn’t seem that the climate has changed much through the last century; the dramatic decline in the area’s wildlife is entirely a result of the proliferation of firearms in the sixties and seventies. On the plateau Barbary sheep, dorcas gazelles and cheetahs occurred at much higher densities than today, and scimitar-horned oryx, addax, cheetahs and red-necked ostriches could still be found in the wadis to the east and west of the plateau. Where are the last strongholds for cheetahs and wild dogs in Chad and the Sahelo-Saharan region? The last viable cheetah population in the Saharan region seems to be in Termit, Eastern Niger and in Northern Hoggar Algeria. A picture from the Tedefest region taken with a camera trap was published last year. Cheetahs used to live in the Aïr region of Northern Niger but no information is available today. The last report of cheetahs in Southern Ennedi dates from 1962. In Chad some wild dogs persist around Zakouma National Park and cheetahs were seen inside the park in 2016. What led African Parks NGO to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chadian government in order to survey the Ennedi and create a vast protected area in this region? We first understood the unique value of the Ennedi’s fragile ecosystem during our first mission to the area in 2005 conducted with the Saharan Conservation Fund (SCF) and the Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG). Jean Marc Froment who is currently working with APN was part of the team. Humans have always lived in the Ennedi through the ages, evidence can be found in the many archaeological sites and the continuous presence of the semi-nomadic Toubou people. The establishment of a protected area that excluded these people would be a complete failure, so the area won’t become a national park as under this category of protection continued human presence would not be permitted. We are thus opting for a category that would protect both the cultural and natural wonders of the area. African Parks is keen to fulfil the challenge of creating a vast protected area within the Sahelo-Saharan ecosystem in what is a truly pioneering initiative. Our project is based on four guidelines: archaeological heritage, relations with local Toubou communities, wildlife and tourism. We want the local comunities to be involved in all the activities of the protected area, from which they will be the most important actors as a means of bringing development. Between the Ennedi and Zakouma African Parks hopes to create a pioneering tourism product which doesn’t currently exist in Africa, The Ennedi offers spectacular and diverse landscapes, a unique biodiversity and close encounters with the local Toubou people. Wildlife biodiversity is very high for Sahelo-Saharan ecosystems, the Saharan crocodile found in the Guelta d’Archei is a real living fossil, but this will not be the main focus for tourism. In contrast, Zakouma is one of the last wildernesses of Central Africa that offers premiere game viewing, but its landscapes are pretty monotonous. Our hope is that by combining the Ennedi with Zakouma we can offer tourists an extraordinary and very diverse experience. Is the Chadian government fully committed to supporting your work? What is the local community’s attitude towards the creation of a protected area? The support from the Chadian authorities is very strong. Work with the communities is long but making progress. It is actually quite difficult to explain the project to the nomads. Nomads are quite pragmatic and individualist, far from the stereotypes. We try to explain our approach focusing on the sustainability of our project, as the nomads depend on nature for their survival. Protecting native animals will create local jobs and small businesses for local communities. They will be important actors in the management of the protected area, some will be recruited as rangers to ensure the protection of the park and the conservancies, there will be one representing each of the conservancies. We are taking into account issues with domestic animals and are working to limit the size of the herds, to ensure access to water and education. We do not aim to replace the government’s obligations in terms of education, we will rather insist on the inclusion of nature education to create a consciousness of nature and the need for conservation in the next generations. Local communities don’t have big herds causing over-grazing. The large herds generally belong to prominent rich members of the government or the army who are paying nomads to take care for their cattle and are responsible for drilling wells inside the desert. This phenomenon is not significant in the region; however, it is an issue at a national scale. There are an estimated 94 to 120 million domestic animals which is a lot compared to the population. Unquestionably the government will have to take action, because this generates security issues and money laundering. We are also benefiting from a local belief, that the abundance of native wildlife will ensure good rains, and thus is good for cattle, as it means there is sufficient grass and water for their survival. This is the product of the strong droughts that occurred in the end of the last century. People are also protecting the crocodiles of the Guelta d’Archei, because they believe that if the crocodiles vanish the spring will dry up. What are the goals of the surveys you are leading? Are you carrying out specific wildlife surveys? Did you manage to get some estimation of the densities of key wildlife species? As said before, we will be leading a mission with our partner the Saharan Conservation Fund next July, to update data about wildlife. We hope to make further collaborations with the SCF in the future. At the end of February 2016 a survey mission in collaboration with Pier Paolo Rossi took place in the Fada region in search of rock art sites. Pier Paolo Rossi says: In terms of biodiversity, the Sahara Conservation Fund does not include the Ennedi on the list of their top priorities. Why does APN focus on Ennedi instead of other significant places such as the Tibesti, OROA, Eguey or Manga areas which are considered to be the last stronghold for critically endangered antelopes in Chad? There are big differences between the objectives of APN and SCF. SCF mainly focuses on antelope species, more particularly on dorcas and dama gazelles, scimitar-horned oryx and addax. The absence of these three last species from the plateau explains why SCF is absent from this region. Another explanation is that John Newby, current SCF director and co-founder, had been working in the eighties in OROA, and didn’t really know the Ennedi What have been your major breakthroughs so far? A good deal of data was obtained from the records of my previous expeditions through the region. On our last expedition carried out in February-march 2016, we have been exploring by camels a remote and unknown region located in the Northern Ennedi, which doesn’t have any tracks. It appeared to be a remarkable place for Barbary sheep. We also made important archaeological discoveries. However, an important part of our work until now has focused on working with local communities to support the creation of the protected area. What are the main threats to wildlife in the region? The main threats are unsustainable hunting and poaching, principally people coming from nearby Sudan to hunt Barbary sheep; their impact however is not significant. How many people live on the plateau and who are they? Nomads living in Northern Chad belong to the Toubou or Gorane people. Their society is centred on the clan. The Toubous living in the Tibesti region are called Teda, while the ones inhabiting the Ennedi are called the Daza. If closely related, their languages are different. The Toubous breed camels, sheep and goats. On the Southern fringes of the plateau, in the Sahelian ecosystem, live cow herders called the Bideyat and the Zaghawas. There are an estimated 175,000 people from a 2009 census in the Ennedi province, which is much larger area than the plateau. Are there any commercial roads crossing the region? There are no roads crossing the Ennedi that could be used by poachers, only small tracks used by locals in some parts of the region. Roads used for illegal activities cross the North of the country and go on through Niger. In 2005, the conflict in Darfur led to an increase in poaching for dorcas gazelles, but this is not the case anymore. Is there any risk that terrorists could expand into Northern Chad from neighbouring Libya or Niger? Currently terrorism is fortunately absent from the North of Chad. This can be explained by the strength of the Chadian Army, which is probably one of the strongest in Africa. They have great control of the territory, Islamic fundamentalism is strictly controlled. These factors generate security in the North of the country. However, the demise of Colonel Gaddafi created significant insecurity in the whole of the Sahara. Decades of war in Chad have nevertheless generated a feeling of attachment to the country. Unlike the Touaregs in Northern Mali, the Toubou have achieved power in Chad in the eighties, they feel that they are the masters of their territory and do not feel that they are marginalised by the government. They don’t allow any interference in their territory and only apply the laws they choose. They are always looking after their own economic interests. What is the attitude of the local people towards wildlife? Are there any cases of poaching of dorcas or other species? Are cheetahs a problem for nomads? Poaching is now limited in the region, it focuses primarily on Barbary sheep and dorcas gazelles. It was harder to spot gazelles in the past; so we are now seeing the positive effects of the anti-poaching laws introduced at the beginning of the millennium. There are some conflicts with striped hyenas that prey on sheep, goats and camel calves. Conflicts with cheetahs are virtually nonexistent. In one APN newsletter it was reported that 4 red-necked ostriches were confiscated and then released in the region. What is the current situation and what is your plan for this species? SCF is supporting a breeding centre for this species in Niger but it seems quite hard to get results. The first translocation was largely supported by the government, which was in charge of the transport of the animals. A small enclosure was built 5 km south of Fada. Another enclosure is under construction. The animals laid some eggs but they are not incubating them. We aim to bring further animals in as soon as we get the opportunity. We receive the support and advice of important vets in Africa and ostrich breeders from South Africa. What is APN’s business plan and strategy for the following years? We are now working on the draft management and business plan for the future protected area. We have a long term vision for the Ennedi, is it without doubt a large-scale project. We are thinking of reintroducing key species to the region. Dorcas gazelles are definitely still viable, as are Barbary sheep. We aim to reintroduce the red-necked ostrich in the region; this process will be based on breeding farms on the site. We are also considering the reintroduction of scimitar-horned oryx in the Western part of the area under protection. Regarding cheetahs, we will consider any reinforcement plans once the reserve has been established and the community’s involvement is well structured. Following your surveying of the area do you know what the proposed Ennedi protected area will look like? The proposed protected area will have an area under protection of approximately 26,000 km²; it will be a natural and cultural protected area. About 9,000 km² West to plateau will be included in the park. Our protected area will focus on the better known Western side of the Ennedi, as we would need further information about the Eastern side to set up a project there. Surveys will be led in this area but considering the size of the region it is wiser to limit the size of the park, this will mean that we can achieve better results from our anti-poaching operations. A larger area of 40.000 km² including the whole Ennedi plateau is currently in the process of be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we share the same vision. The protected area will be divided into community “conservancies”, where local communities are currently living, and strict protected areas where consumptive activities will not be tolerated. Is APN supporting the scimitar horned-oryx reintroduction project in OROA, Central Chad? We have very good relations with SCF; we collaborated last year with their mission in Manga. They will lead our wildlife survey in the Ennedi next July. We share the same vision and hope to cooperate in the future with our conservation projects in Northern Chad. But we are neither partners nor actors in this project. Has trophy hunting any role to play in the plan of the proposed protected area, more particularly concerning Barbary sheeps? It’s too early to answer this question at this stage of the mission. With the last depressing news published by the Saharan Conservation Fund, about Termit Addax population collapse, it appears that the last viable but fragile population occurs now in Eguey-Bodele. Is there some plans to boost this population or to reintroduce this species to OROA? There is currently no plan to boost addax populations in Eguey, and OROA focuses on the oryx project. All images courtesy and copyright Rocco Rava. The views expressed therein are solely those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Safaritalk.
  6. On SCF Facebook account, it can be seen the first pictures of scimitar-horned oryx reintroduced in Chad. https://www.facebook.com/SaharaCF/?fref=ts More news to come soon... I am trying since a while to get an interview from John Newby, who is the current director of the SCG association who played a considerable role in this project.
  7. Hello all, We have a very exciting offer available! Doug has secured dates for a private safari in Zakouma for February next year. The price is based on three people in single rooms including all regional flights, accommodation, transfers, private vehicle in the park and will be guided by Doug. See all information and quote on the itinerary: Zakouma National Park with Doug Macdonald 6-14 Feb 2018 If you are interested please contact me Chloe as Doug is currently away on safari. bookings@dougmacsafaris.com Looking forward to hearing from you and hopefully sending you on your way to the hottest place for safari right now!
  8. From the moment that @@Paolo posted his first report from Zakouma it has moved to the top of my bucket list. Unfortunately all the trips I could find were beyond my budget. The logical next step was to put together my own itinerary. So I did. The itinerary is not very long - at the moment it is just 8 nights - but could easily be made longer if that is what people want. However this will give you an idea of costs. Proposed departure date is February 2018 Itinerary 1 - arrive N'Djamena - overnight in Mercure Hotel (dinner not included) 2 - en route - overnight camping 3 - arrive Zakouma - Tinga Lodge, twin share 4,5,6,7 - Zakouma National Park - Tinga Lodge 8 - en route - overnight camping 9 - arrive N'Djamena, trip ends Cost per person: In a group of 4 people is Euro 3,160 In a group of 2 people is Euro 3,740 Included: 4x4 vehicle(s) specially equipped for desert expeditions. (for a party fo 2 people there would be 1 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser, for a party of 4 there would be 2 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers) English speaking guide (European with extensive knowledge of Chad Government travel permits local taxes full board for days 2-8, cook and all kitchen equipment provided accommodation: 1 night N'Djamena, 2 nights desert camping, 5 nights Tinga Lodge, Zakouma all camping equipment (except sleeping bags and pillows) park entrance fees 10 game drive activities in Zakouma Excluded: International flights Visas travel insurance personal expenses tips meals other than breakfast in N'Djamena drinks So there you have it. Is anyone interested???
  9. In January, 4 new elephants were shot down by poachers at Zakouma National Park, Chad. But as the title of the articule states, Zakouma is one of APN best conservation story. http://travelafricamag.com/zakouma-national-park-a-conservation-success-story/?v=79cba1185463
  10. 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.
  11. Hello all Following on some recent discussion about travel opportunities in Zakouma National Park, Chad I have pleasure in outlining two invitational safaris that my company will be running to Zakouma next year. If anyone is interested in booking a space on either safari, please contact me on my email: ml@passagetoafrica.com Spaces will be reserved on a fist come basis and I want to highlight that these invitationals are not limited to Safaritalk members, but will be offered to a broader audience. Some spaces have already been reserved. The description of the safaris can be found on these 2 links: INVITATIONAL ONE <http://books.passagetoafrica.com/Invitationals/InvitationalMLV7Chad2015v1/index.html?r=41> INVITATIONAL TWO <http://books.passagetoafrica.com/Invitationals/InvitationalRCV7Chad2015v1> And then for costs and further info please see the attached pdf: Invitational Safaris to Chad - MarchApril 2016.pdf Each safari will have 2 guides, so therefore 2 vehicles, which will mean no more than 4 guests per vehicle, allowing for excellent photographic opportunities. I hope this will be of interest to some of you and look forward to hearing from you. Zakouma is an extraordinary destination!! Michael Lorentz
  12. Here is the last newsletter from SCF (Sahara Conservation Fund), from may 2015: http://www.saharaconservation.org/IMG/pdf/Sandscript_17_Spring_2015_Standard_2.pdf
  13. I find this survey report led by SCF supported by African Parks (APN), in the Manga region of Chad. Located North to Lake Chad, close to the frontier with Niger, it is one of the last stronghold for dama gazelle. http://www.saharaconservation.org/IMG/pdf/SSIG_Manga-Dama_Wacher.pdf
  14. I have recently returned from a fascinating safari to Zakouma NP in Chad, staying at Camp Nomade. Here I have attached some of my images which I hope give you an indication of the wildlife on offer in this truly remote, wild and most intriguing of wildlife destinations. Feel free to fire away with any questions about the place, there is almost too much to say on here! The trip started and ended in N'Djamena (the capital) where we flew into and out of via Paris on Air France. It was amazing that in just over 5 hours you can be looking at the Eiffel Tower and then Hippos (a small pod can be found in N'Djamena, right outside the new Hilton Hotel). A 2 hour long internal flight the next morning took us from N'Djamena to Zakouma airstrip, a fascinating (if expensive) little flight where terrain changed from the a-typical dessert/sandy soils around N'Djamena to the acacia scrub and pan/wetland systems of Zakouma. Overall feelings were that this is a truly quality wildlife destination with genuinely plenty to see. Buffalo were particularly numerous, with herds of hundreds up to thousands being common. Other notable species of interest were Lelwel's Hartebeast, Tiang, Buffon's Kob and Roan (who seemed to be a rather dark fore-legged morph of what we see in the Kafue). Night drives were the best I have had anywhere with Honey Badger and Serval particularly evident, plus a sighting of the apparently relatively common melanistic White-tailed mongoose. Lion were in good number, seen almost daily, generally a little flighty on average. Cheetah and dogs in theory exist in Zakouma but sightings are sporadic at best for Cheetah (last sighting in the main tourism area was 2014) and dogs are seen sporadically outside the park in the more peripheral habitats, they have never been sighted inside the park (neither has their spoor). Leopard are seen from time to time but not very often. The Elephant of Zakouma are well documented and we saw them well from air and fortuitously on one game drive. The Elephant tend to spend time in the denser acacia thickets which is pretty much impossible to get in to, however they did come out to the core of the park when we were there after a poaching incident the day previous made them head towards the relative sanctity of the park headquarters. I was impressed with both the sheer number of game and birdlife but also by the variety of habit types, something I hadn't come to expect. Although I am not a fan of comparing any one place to another it was very hard to not drive around Zakouma and see areas which reminded me of the South Luangwa and other areas just like the Busanga Plains in the Kafue (particularly with the large flocks of Crowned Crane on the open plains, flanked by Roan antelope and lion). On the face of it the wildlife seemed very familiar in many ways, but when you had a closer look, everything was actually slightly different, from the Abysinnian Roller's pretending to be LB Rollers, to the Buffon's Kob pretending to be Puku... Overall a fascinating place, well worth a visit for those who are up for adventure, and have around 9 to 10K$ to spend!
  15. 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. https://www.facebook.com/ZakoumaNationalPark/posts/1005665132809119
  16. I don't remember I've seen the following article on the website. It was published in the 2015 September issue of the National Geographic magazine I read in the afternoon. I follow the situation very carefully in Central Africa, but I did not realize the magnitude of the challenge that APN was facing in Garamba, Chinko and Zakouma. This article was devastating for me. I really admire the bravery of APN. Cutting the traffic is clearly the key to make peace in this remote corner of Africa... http://www.nationalgeographic.com/tracking-ivory/article.html
  17. This has come up before in the Zakouma articles thread but I thought I would add a new thread for anyone in the UK who may have missed it. On the 14th of Sept between 19:00 and 21:00 at the Royal Geographic Society in London (1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR) Le Directeur of Zakouma National Park Rian Labuschagne will be giving a lecture discussing the success story of elephant conservation in Zakouma National Park in Chad and the future for conservation. The event has been organised by Steppes Travel if anyone is interested in going you can purchase tickets from their website, the tickets are £15 (or £10 if you’re an RGS member) and all proceeds go to African Parks. Despite knowing about this for a little while I’ve only just bought my ticket so there no doubt still tickets available for anyone else who is interested in attending. Is anyone else going?
  18. This should be good news. Everything I've heard about Zakouma so far suggests they are getting things right. read the Guardian article
  19. Anyone who receives the Ol Pejeta newsletter will already be aware of this fundraiser but for those that don't I thought as this doesn’t seem to have come up yet that I should post something and this seemed to be the most appropriate forum although I’m not an NGO. As I’m sure many here will already be aware the northern white rhino Ceratotherium simum cottoni now has a population of just 4 known animals all of these animals are it now seems incapable of breeding naturally and the chances of any unknown animals surviving in the wild is next to nonexistent. Female Nabiré, one of the last five northern white rhinos, died This means that this subspecies or even full species as some scientists have suggested that once roamed across Central Africa in the thousands is now effectively extinct. Doomed by the insatiable demand for rhino horn to make dagger handles in the Yemen and traditional medicines in the Far East combined with the seemingly endless wars that have plagued this region of Africa and that made it ultimately impossible to save these animals. However although it may seem like the fight to save these animals is lost the custodians of 3 of the last surviving animals Dvůr Králové Zoo in Czech Republic which owns them and Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya that looks after them have not given up. Together they have a plan to roll the dice one more time to try before it’s too late to resurrect these animals to use the science of IVF and embryo transfer to as it were make new northern white rhinos. In order to raise this substantial sum of money they have set up Go Fund Me page if anyone wishes to contribute and help try to bring these otherwise doomed animals back to life here is the link. Make a Rhino, Save a Species If they do succeed in creating new northern white calves one has too hope that in the future there will be safe places in the wilds of Central Africa to send them to, places like Zakouma NP perhaps, I am not sure when they died out but these rhinos certainly occured in southern Chad not so long ago, to see them grazing on the plains at Rigueik amongst the tiang and the black crowned cranes would be quite something. Another potential home could be Murchison Falls NP in Uganda just outside their natural range a park that was once home to an introduced population provided the UWA don’t decide they can't wait for some northern whites and introduce southerns to the park instead as there is already a small population of southerns at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Uganda. Since the captive population of northern whites was always small and those captured in the wild all came from the same area in South Sudan I don’t know if they can really hope to create a genetically viable herd or whether they will still have to try and hybridise the animals but even preserving northern white genes in hybrid animals is better than nothing. If they succeed then everything they learn about IVF and embryo transfer in white rhinos could well be used to help save other critically endangered rhino species and be applied to other endangered animals as well.
  20. For those interested, and to complement @@inyathi,s ongoing brilliant trip reports, here are some galleries with photos taken by @@Anita during our trip: - Aerials https://www.safarious.com/en/posts/14168-zakouma-n-p-april-2015-aerials - Antelopes (for @@Safaridude ) https://www.safarious.com/en/posts/14164 -Kordofan Giraffe https://www.safarious.com/en/posts/14166 - Buffalos, elephants and lions https://www.safarious.com/en/posts/14167 A few more galleries covering Zakouma's amazing birdlife, smaller mammals, night drives and Camp Nomade itself will be posted when time allows.
  21. Justback home after the most amazing safari in Zakouma National Park in Chad. I have been blown away by that magical and wildest of places during my first visit last year, and even more so this time around. I am sure that @@inyathi shares my view. We were blessed with an overload of scenes and experiences of an Africa that one would have thought gone many decades ago. A very big and heartfelt thank you to Imogen Hills, Darren Potgieter, all the fantastic African Parks Team in Zakouma and the staff at Camp Nomade for having really gone the proverbial extra mile to give us such an incredible time. "Extra mile" in reality might be quite reductive. How during our stay Darren, as well as Rian and Lorna Labuschagne, managed to run the park, fly to N'Djamena for an impromptu meeting with the Prime Minister, whilst at the same time scouting secret pans bursting with life for us or putting tracks to previously unvisited parts of Zakouma for our benefit was really a humbling experience for all of us. Camp Nomade is superb, and really perfect for Zakouma - outstanding service, and giving a total, extreme and raw bush experience, inclusive of lions walking in camp, prompting you to use a bit of care when going to the loo in the night
  22. I am planning a 6 months safari in Africa for november 2018. I will make a round the world trip starting in South-East Asia, India, Tibet, Central Asia and Oman finishing by Africa. My total budget will be around 60.000.000 chilean pesos, that is to say slightly less than 100.000 USD at the current rates. I think the budget for Africa will be from 50.000 to 65.000 USD per person, on the base of two persons traveling. These a re the places we wish to visit. I would really appreciate you can give me some recommendations considering climate to choose the best periods, logistics (self drive or operator options) and budgets. Eastern Africa: Kenya: Tsavo East and West NP, Amboseli NP, Nairobi NP, Mara NR, Lake Nakuru NP. If think I could make this part of the trip in self driving. I would like to go to Diani for 2-3 days. I am looking to trek in Northern Kenya, I was considering a guided trip to Samburu, Buffalo Springs (2 days) and Meru NP (2 days). Wandering Nomads is a company able to realize this trek for me. I would like to trek in Mount Kenya. The trek in Northern Kenya is: Road from Navaisha to Meru National Park (2 days safari) + 2 days of safari in Samburu and Buffalo Springs reserves. Then go North to Ngurunit/Mt Poi, Keisut desert and Losai Reserve - Marsabit and paradise lakes - go back and Southern Circuit to by-pass Chalbi desert - El Molo - Nabuyatom - Logipo Lake - Tuum Trekking Start Tuum Tuum - Mt Nyiru - South Horr - climb Ndoto moutains - Sererit - Milgis river - climb Mathews Range - Wamba. Logistic 4x4 return to Navaisha from Wamba through Losiolo Escarpment) Tanzania: Seregenti, Ngonrogoro, Natron Lake, Manyara, Tarangire. I would consider visits of Selous/Ruaha/Katavi according to budget. I might go to Zanzbar if it fits with my budget. I was considering self drive safaris. Uganda: Rhinos sanctuary, Murchison Falls, Kibale, QENP. Self drive safaris. Rwanda: Nyungwe, Akagera and Les Volcans NP if Virunga is closed to see gorillas... (self drive?) Congo: Kahuzi Biega (2 days) and Virunga (2 days). with operators. Southern Africa: The idea is to rent a car in South Africa and visit many places, possibly hiring guides in some very specific places. South Africa: Santa Lucia, Drakensberg, Addo NP, Hluhluwe Imdolozi NP, Kruger NP, Kglagadi NP. Mozambique: Bazaruto, Gorongosa (?) Namibia: Fish Canyon, Namib Rand (just driving on the road), Sossluvlei, Naukluf, Damaraland, Etosha, Caprivi. Botswana: Moremi, Chobe, Kwai sector of Okavango (?) Zambia: Kafue, Lowe Zambezi Zimbabwe: Mana Pools, Hwangwe Botswana: Kalahari GR, Tuli Extras: 1 month in Gabon (Loango, Nyonie, Lope, Dji Dji, Kongoue, Langoue, Lekedi provate reserve, Mpassa bai, Bateke plateaux. Chad: Zakouma Benin: Pendjari I have quite and idea how I could organize this trip, I would start by Kenya and Tanzania, finishing by Southern Africa. I am not that sure this is the correct way of programing it. When would be the best periods for each destinations according to your experience? When do you recommend me to visit Zakouma, Gabon and Pendjari? Do you recommend me a particular operator for Gabon? Do you agree with self driving in Southern Africa? Is it posible to go with South African rent 4x4 in Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe? Would you recommend me to hire guides in some specific places? I was thinking of Okavango. How can I enjoy of Bazaruto without getting to the top end lodges on the archipelago? I would like to enjoy the beaches and snorkeling on the coast, going to archipelago at a reasonable price if possible. What is the budget for each places? It will be hard to program this trip as I have lot's of questions and I am not sure my budget is sufficient. In this case, I will have to forget some places and focus on the main destinations. Thank you very much for your help! Cheers Jeremie
  23. As mentioned in this thread http://safaritalk.net/topic/14181-zakouma-articles/?hl=%2Bzakouma+%2Barticles, in a few days I will depart for my African safari #29, joining @@Anita and @@inyathi in a 10 nights visit to Zakouma National Park, in south-eastern Chad. It will be my and Inyathi's second time in this wildest, beautiful and challenging park, definitely one of Africa's last remaining true wildernesses. I cannot wait to be back at the pans and floodplains where life seems on steroids, in the eerie woodlands with the red-barked trees, along the winding Salamat. I am also looking forward to experiencing Camp Nomade, and catching up with Rian and Lorna Labuschagne and the rest of the African Parks team that are doing such a terrific job of protecting this unique and very special place. Hopefully we will have a great time.
  24. Waza National Park is the Northernmost big national park of the Far north province of Cameroon clos to Lake Chad. The 1700 km2 protects one of the main stronghold for the Kordofan Giraffe (which was formerly considered to be western sse), lions and elephants that migrate between Chad National Park in Nigeria to the small Kalamoue National Park. Cheetahs and wild dogs have been extirpated from Cameroon in the last deceny acording to the literature. This park transforms in a huge floodplain part of the Waza Logone floodplain. The creation of the Maga dam on the Logone river dried up the park in the 80's, since then a project rehabilitaded the floodplain and animals populations increased again. The park is today highly endengered again by poaching and Boko Haram terrorists that kidnapped some french tourists a couple of year ago. This is an old french documentary about the park. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Auxp1sGjhwI Did anyone visited the park? Please share any fresh information about.
  25. As many of you know, I (and my father), @@inyathi, @@Michael Lorentz and @@Vijai have recently visited Zakouma National Park in Chad, where we had an incredible time and one of our greatest safari experiences ever. Most of the credit for Zakouma being such an untramelled wilderness and such a shining jewel in an otherwise dire situation for wildlife in central Africa (and Africa in general) must go to African Parks that has been effectively managing the park since 2010 and the personnel on the ground, in particular the anti-poaching units, that have been doing a sterling job. These men with their dedication have really made a difference, even if paying a dearest price for it. In fact, six of them were killed in a retaliatory ambush in 2012. Jean Labuschagne - daugther of Zakouma managers, Rian and Lorna Labuschagne, and herself very much involved with this beautiful park - along with 5 of the anti-poaching rangers will run a 90 km ultra-marathon in the Sahara to commemorate those who have sacarificed their lives to protect Zakouma and its precious elephants. Funds are needed to cover the expenses of Team Zakouma participating to this event, and any donation, however small, would be appreciated. I asked Jean permission to post on Safaritalk the e-mail I received from her, and thus here you go. "Dear Friends and Family, As most of you will know my parents have been working for African Parks in Zakouma National Park in Chad for the past 3 years. I have also been fortunate enough to have spent over a year working in the park, and have developed a real love for the country, its people and its wild places. In February 2015 the second Le TREG Ultramarathon is being run in the Ennedi region of the Sahara desert in northern Chad. The race is a 90km non-stop, self-sufficient and auto-navigational Ultramarathon through some of the most dramatic and challenging parts of the Sahara. I will be running this race along with 5 anti-poaching rangers from Zakouma's Rapid Response Team. None of these rangers have ever competed in an international event such as this before, and it is almost certain that they will be the first anti-poaching team to have ever competed in a Saharan Ultramarathon. Team Zakouma will be running the race in support of the anti-poaching rangers that give their time, and often their lives, to African conservation on a daily basis. These rangers collectively walk thousands of kilometres on patrol every day. We would like to run 90km for them. To boost the morale of those going on patrol tomorrow morning, and to commemorate the lives of those who will never again walk through the bush. More specifically we will be running in memory of the 6 Zakouma rangers who were tragically assassinated by armed elephant poachers in 2012. The training and race will be documented, along with individual messages from the rangers. This short documentary will be translated and sent to parks within Africa - a message of encouragement from one group of rangers to another. I am in the process of raising funds for the event, which are needed to cover the costs of the Chadian rangers’ race fees, equipment and rations. I would really appreciate your support in this - considering an energy bar only costs a dollar, every bit helps! Please see the fundraising link below. The process is quick and simple. Lets help give these rangers an opportunity of a lifetime. http://www.gofundme.com/runningthesahara Please share this with anyone you feel would be interested in the initiative. Thank you kindly in advance, Best regards, Jean For more info please see the links below: www.african-parks.org www.le-treg.com "

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