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Found 35 results

  1. 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.
  2. I had not intended to post this trip on ST, but now that it has been referenced here, I thought I may as well put it up here for any of you who may be interested in joining. We are running 2 back-to-back trips in March 2018, led by Doug MacDonald. There are 6 spots in each group. Group 1 is fully booked and group 2 has 4 slots remaining, so feel free to PM me if interested. The details of the trip can be found here: https://www.chaloafrica.com/safari-tours/chad/safari-zakouma-national-park-chad-2018/ With all the new rules and restrictions being envisaged for 2019 onwards, this looks more and more like a pretty good deal Doug and I started putting this trip together a long time ago, and it makes us very happy to think of it as a solid model for the future.
  3. Here is the last newsletter from African Parks. Interesting is to note that Liuwa current Manager Robert Reid will take the position of Field Operation Manager in Siniaka Minia, Chad. I have tried to find further information about this news, but I did not find anything about. APN's interest in Siniaka Minia was released in an article a couple of years ago, but no official communication from the Chadian authorities or from our preferred NGO was done until now on this matter. I hence understand that there is a new conservation project in the air in Chad, which is great and shows the strong commitment of this country for conservation of its wildlife and natural national heritage. There are some important advances in OROA in the Swahilian ecoregion, Ennedi was declared as a World Heritage in 2015 with a project with APN to manage this area as a natural and cultural reserve, Ounianga lakes few years before, Zakouma administration was given to APN in 2010. https://africanparksreports5.org
  4. Here is the NGO 2016 anual report: https://api.african-parks.org/system/annual_reports/downloadables/000/000/030/original/2016_African_Parks_Annual_Report_Impact_Defined.pdf?utm_source=Updated+strategic+list&utm_campaign=00923c1f87-African_Parks_February_2017_CEO_s_Report3_29_2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f080ba31b-00923c1f87-326177169 There are huge efforts to reintroduce species and recover landscapes in difference parks. - Zakouma: elephant population has reached 500 animals. - Chinko: APN is securing a core area where wild dogs, lions, elephants and lord derby elands are to be found. - Garamba: Since Junce the NGO has successfully stabilized the situation after a loss of 3 rangers and 100 known elephants carcasses. - Akagera: Lions population has doubled in less than two years after the big cat reintroduction. - Odzala: Efforts are pursued to control the bushmeat crisis in the Central Africa wilderness. - Liwonde/Majete/Nkhotakota: Big game species and elephants translocation to Nkhotakota project phase 1 was a major success. - Liuwa: Large predators continue to recover in this park holding the second largest wildebeest migration in the world. - Banweuleu: Plans are underway to reintroduce game species. Plans are underway at Ennedi (Chad), Pendjari (Benin), Bazaruto (Mozambique), Buffalo Springs and Shaba (Kenya) to ad new adquisitations to the portfolio. The Ethiopian authorities blocked the NGO bank accounts and plans are compromised at Gambella.
  5. I let you the March-April 2017 APN Monthly report: https://africanparksreports3.org Here is Peter Fearnhead's letter:
  6. 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!
  7. 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???
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. https://africanparksupdate10.org I am very happy to see that some progress is being done to manage Pendjari in Benin, which is the best protected area of West Africa.
  11. This is the last report from APN. https://africanparksupdate8.org
  12. Here is May APN monthly report: https://africanparksupdate5.org New cubs in Akagera National Park, Rwanda, raising the current population of lions to 14 animals, including 7 cubs. A new strategy to limit elephant poaching at Garamba National Park, DRC. Preparation of a massive elephant (and big game) translocation in Malawi. Securing 3000 km2 at Chinko, CAR.
  13. This is APN 2015 anual report: https://api.african-parks.org/html5/index.html
  14. 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
  15. Here is the last report from APN. As far as I know, there was no release for March. https://africanparksupdate3.org Great news for Zakouma where the last census/Survey concluded to an increase of large game species, with more than 80 elephants calves seen since 2014. The NGO is about to share the results of Liuwa census in the following weeks. Lion cubs seen in Akagera. Wild dogs, lions and large giant eland herds spotted at Chinko. At Garamba, the situation is bleak, but APN is trying to raise further funds to reinforce staffing, and develop new tactics, to halt elephant poaching which is on the increase.
  16. I'm always keen to draw attention to some of Africa's less familiar parks so I thought I'd post this about a park that is sadly on the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites under threat. While looking on YouTube for videos of Zakouma NP I came across this amazing French film “La Rivieres des Lions, la Gounda” Gounda the River of Lions filmed in Manovo Gounda St Floris NP just to the south of Zakouma over the border in northern CAR. Ever since I first read about this park many years ago in a copy of the East African Wildlife Society’s magazine Swara I’ve wanted to go there as much as anything to look for Derby’s “giant” eland. Almost constant instability has made this part of CAR pretty much off limits or at least very difficult to visit and has allowed poachers particularly from Sudan free reign to destroy the areas wildlife. The once very abundant but now entirely extinct western black rhinos were wiped out some time ago and elephants have been receiving a severe hammering from the Janjaweed horsemen from Sudan so just how many elephants are left there now I’m really not sure. Quite what the situation is as far as the other species is concerned I’m not sure either but I fear that in the recent chaos most of the wildlife will have been lost to meat poaching I really hope this is not the case. There is no doubt also a severe problem with illegal grazing which can only have got worse in recent years. Perhaps one day peace will be restored to CAR and the country will have a proper government for once, then maybe if there is some wildlife left this once glorious national park can be restored and protected like Zakouma now is.The following film which is entirely in French is dated 1998 so it just goes to show what an amazing place Manovo Gounda St Floris NP still was very recently and I hope could be again one day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkEnOHgCGng
  17. I would like to share the february 2016 APN monthly report. New elephant poaching cases in Liwonde and Garamba, where giraffe and elephant collaring were underway. In Zakouma, some few sightings of cheetah in the Eastern side of the park. Preparation of the massive elephant translocation in Malawi and rhinos reintroduction in Akagera. http://africanparksupdate2.org
  18. I would like to share with you the first APN newsletter of the year 2016: http://africanparksupdate.org/ The NGO starts again with monthly reports.
  19. 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!
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. There so many articles and discussions everywhere, no idea where to let this article on the forum... I found it on APN Facebook page the other day: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/25/african-seeds-of-hope-amid-the-poaching-crisis/#.Vi4v66y4J7s.twitter Some goods KPI showing that (as every former knows) the conservancy model is the key.
  23. 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?
  24. This should be good news. Everything I've heard about Zakouma so far suggests they are getting things right. read the Guardian article
  25. 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.

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